Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, which is where I have resided ever since the pandemic started last March. I do miss living in the Bay Area, though, which is where I was for about five years before this.
What do you do today, and where do you want to go in your career?
I am currently a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack, where my mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. I’d like to become an engineering leader in the future and in that role continue supporting Techqueria’s mission of having more Latinx leaders represented in the tech industry. 🖥️
Which causes are you passionate about?
Outside of Slack, I am an executive director of Techqueria, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in tech in the US.
When I first joined Techqueria back in 2017, the experience of being the only Latinx person in the workplace no longer felt unique to just me, and that felt like such a blessing. For my entire life until then, I hadn’t really seen people like me thriving in tech or even entering the field. Loneliness breeds isolation, and isolation breeds insecurity. It’s a feeling too many of us can relate to within the tech industry, but within the Techqueria community, I found people willing to elevate each another. 🙌🏼
Because of the support I got from this community, I felt compelled to pay it forward, so I started volunteering back in 2018 and helped launch Techqueria’s new website as well as win our first grant. I started getting into more of a leadership role starting in 2019 when I was invited to join the board, and then in 2020, I became the first paid staff member as a co-executive director.
I also support Coro Northern California as a board member, Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council, and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
Cuddling with the family dogs and my partner and watching some addictive Netflix shows. That, or just straight-up walking the dogs and seeing them play with others. The family dogs are a fifteen-year-old lab named Nefer and a five-year-old mini dachshund named Shiro. My partner and I recently got a four-month-old corgi puppy named Luna as well. They’re quite a handful sometimes, but they bring us so much joy and are a great way to de-stress. 🐕
What was the best trip you ever took, and why was it so great?
This is a tough one! One of the best trips I took was in 2012 to Vietnam on a volunteer medical mission for Operation Smile. I was interested in pursuing medicine at the time, but during that trip, I came to a realization that I was just following what my parents expected of me instead of what I was willing to invest my blood, sweat, and tears in. It wasn’t long after that trip that I decided to start learning how to code on my own through free online courses, and I haven’t look back since!
What are you into these days (podcasts, books, TV shows, etc.)?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been a huge movie buff, and that’s what has helped me get through this tough time with the pandemic. To name a few shows: On My Block, Raising Dion, Gentefied, Dear White People, Lucifer, Julie and The Phantoms, Outlander, and, of course, Stranger Things!
What is the best career advice you ever received?
“No te vendas corta,” or “Don’t sell yourself short.” I did this a lot early on in my career and have gotten better at self-advocacy, but it’s still hard sometimes. What has helped with this is having badass women of color to look up to in my field for inspiration, and also having a great support system.
About NextGen Collective
The path before us has been trailblazed by many. But the next generation of business leadership isn’t guaranteed to be Latino. We have to make it so. We have to come together into a powerful collective.
Alone, any one person can run fast. But together, we can run farther than we ever thought possible. NextGen Collective is a movement for a new generation of Latino professionals. A digital and live community for up-and-coming leaders who are looking to connect and talk candidly about how to take their careers to the next level.