Better Together: Hispanic Heritage Month and the Gift of Culture

Last August, Genesys Chief People Officer Eva Majercsik wrote a blog announcing the upcoming celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Genesys. She explored the complexities of Hispanic experiences and expressed her belief that “this month of celebration will help jumpstart the formation of an inclusion group for Latinx employees.”

Shortly after Eva’s blog was published, my Genesys colleague Alberto Rodriguez and I formed Genesys Latinx in Tech, or GLiT. The complexity she mentioned is reflected in our choice of the word “Latinx” in our name; the challenge was to find a word that encompassed origin countries from all Latin America, including Brazil and island countries from the Caribbean to the Philippines. We also wanted a name that wasn’t gender specific. Now we’re closer to having a single term that embodies this.

Latinx people make up 19% of the US population, while comprising only about 9% of the technology workforce. This year, Genesys published its inaugural Sustainability Report, which included our diversity numbers. The report provided a baseline number on which to build. We’ve learned that, at Genesys, 4% of the US workforce is Latinx.

So, in quantitative terms, our mission is simple. With an objective to increase our Latinx participation to the national number of 9%, we’re working with internal teams to cast our recruitment net appropriately — and to assure that people who work at Genesys find the fulfillment they seek.

Qualitatively, any path to success in this regard is awash in culture. The culture of Latinx people, of which I am one, is rich, noisy, colorful, familial and has deep spiritual roots. We’ve carried all this within us since our infancies, long before we knew anything of engineering, computer science or business. This core part of who we are isn’t always apparent as we go about exercising our newer skills and capabilities at Genesys, which are very fulfilling in their own right.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), from September 15 to October 15, creates an occasion to bring this cultural richness to the surface — celebrating and sharing with our Genesys colleagues. Our GLiT team has planned events throughout the month we believe will facilitate this sharing.

I feel an affinity for HHM. California Congressman Esteban Torres sponsored the bill that expanded the celebration from a week to a full month. He grew up in the same Boyle Heights neighborhood in East Los Angeles as my parents. He went to the same high school as my mom, Garfield High, the rival of Roosevelt High where my dad went. Garfield was also the school where Jaime Escalante taught AP Calculus to under-estimated Mexican American kids, events immortalized in the movie “Stand and Deliver.”

Torres went on to represent the Congressional district where I grew up in Pico Rivera, California. My parents and I lived in those neighborhoods, walked those streets, knew those people. I feel some understanding of what he had in mind when he sponsored the bill — and why he did it.

As much fun as the month will be, and as much as we hope to put on display, it’s not the distinctiveness of Latinx culture we want the Genesys community to remember. We want to foster an awareness of our commonality. The music, art, food, ways of thinking and being with those from every culture on earth — different as they may appear — are simply expressions and affirmations of what we all share. It’s our common humanity — our hope, our love and our need to tell the world, “This is who we are.” These are the fundamental elements that bind us together. We see Hispanic Heritage Month as an opportunity to strengthen those bonds through our contributions to Genesys and the community as a whole.

Whether you’re part of the Genesys family or the larger community, please follow the Eva’s advice from last year: “Go online and learn about Latinx history. Find out what virtual museum experiences and online cultural events are available. Go to Latinx neighborhoods and immerse yourself in the vibe there. Spend money in those businesses… And, of course, make every excuse to eat as much delicious food as possible.”

Through these combined experiences,  our community will become stronger and we all become better together.

Learn more about diversity at Genesys, and our commitment to improving representation, in our “2020 Sustainability Report.”