From user experience designers to software engineers to cybersecurity and more, these Latinas are breaking barriers and making their mark. Learn how each Latina encourages, empowers, and thrives in this inspiring feature.
Frances Coronel recently joined the startup company Byteboard as a senior software engineer and previously worked at Slack. Recently switching companies, Coronel looks back at her work experiences with gratitude and is optimistic about her future.
“After working full-time as a software engineer for five years, I’ve reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable taking more risks and joining a startup,” she says. “I’m grateful to Slack and prepping for challenges because I’m already learning about expectations and how fully distributed teams can effectively work together.”
Coronel’s interest in technology started at a young age when playing computer games and was encouraged by her father to pursue a love for science and math. It wasn’t until she reached high school that she saw engineering as a potential career and started exploring computers more extensively.
“Up until that point, I had been content playing it safe and following the aspirations my parents set out for me — becoming a doctor,” she said. Coronel eventually went the engineering/tech route after discovering her love and high interest in computers. She is of a Peruvian background, as her parents immigrated from Peru in their 20s. Much of Coronel’s ambition stems’ from her parent’s lack of opportunities and from growing up as a first-generation Latina.
“My parents are in a word, fighters, and it is in large part because of them that I aspire to go even farther in my lifetime than they were able too,” she says. “Like many first-generation kids of immigrants, I was told from the beginning that education and hard work would be the key to success and I really took that to heart. I wanted to make my parents happy because of their support despite all the hurdles they had to overcome.”
In her current role, she is able to utilize her engineering expertise to help build and create an emerging company in its early stages.
“I’m the third engineer and tenth overall hire at Byteboard, so as with any early employee, I’m here to help build a culture and scale Byteboard into a company we as a team can be collectively proud of,” Coronel shares. “My specialty is in lead generation and growth, so I feel it’s a great fit when it comes to further honing my craft as a product-focused engineer.”
She is excited about the opportunity to work for a company that was essentially started by women of color, something that is new to Coronel and marks a milestone in her career path. Coronel is a member of “Latinos in Tech Giving Circle” which is affiliated with the Latino Community Foundation, an organization that brings together a network of philanthropists and programs to support and promote the Latino community. She has also held numerous leadership roles at the non-profit, “Techqueria”, and has volunteered for many non-profits that promote racial equity in tech and youth leadership. Advice for other Latinas out there pursuing a career in STEM?
“You don’t have to validate your existence in the spaces you go to by always feeling obligated to give back,” she shares. “Don’t forget that just by existing in this space and leading by example, you can inspire the next generation of Latinas to go into STEM. The trick is not just existing and surviving, but thriving.”
- Original Article: Latinas in Technology, Breaking Barriers and Making their Mark
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