Every year from September 15th to October 15th, the U.S. observes National Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino (increasingly referred to as Latinx) Americans. The start date of the month is significant as it recognizes the anniversaries of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Mexico’s independence on September 16th and Chile’s independence on September 18th.
During this month, we wanted to highlight 27 companies clearly committed to celebrating and supporting their Hispanic and Latinx employees both year round and during Hispanic Heritage Month. Through initiatives including employee resource groups, events, mentorship, and advancement opportunities, these 27 companies show their appreciation for the contributions and culture of their Hispanic and Latinx American employees.
For 21 years, Aflac has been recognized by the LATINA Style 50 Report as one of the 50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work. This insurance company has spearheaded multiple initiatives to increase Hispanic representation throughout the company. Latinx employees don’t just fill positions on Aflac’s internal Diversity Council but also sit in several senior executive roles – like Catherine Hernandez-Blades, the company’s chief ESG and communications officer who was named the LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year in 2018. The company also makes sure to support the Hispanic community outside the office. A key example, Aflac sponsoring the Tri-City Latino Festival— a festival designed to bring people from all walks of life together to celebrate all Latin culture.
American Airlines, Inc.
With more than 10,000 team members in 65 different countries, American Airlines’ goal is to “provide an inclusive environment for all.” Their Diversity Advisory Council fosters diversity efforts across the company by leading educational opportunities, community service and personal enrichment programs. In 2019, LATINA Style recognized American Airlines’ Latin Diversity Network and Jackie Rios, American Airlines’ Managing Director of Customer Care at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. LATINA Style named Rios as one of the Top 12 Corporate Latina Executives of the Year and American Airlines’ Latin Diversity Network as one of the Top 20 Employee Resource Groups for its “exceptional leadership and vision.”
For Hispanic Heritage month this year, American Express recognized their Hispanic employees for their work at American Express and beyond. HOLA, the Hispanic Origin & Latin American Network, is composed of AMEX employees who give back to their community through career development sessions and partnerships with organizations like the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. HOLA members were praised through LinkedIn employee features for creating an inclusive environment at American Express and for providing professional development opportunities for those not yet a part of the American Express network. Hispanic/Latinx senior members also meet bi-annually for discussions and networking opportunities, an example of American Express’ commitment to D&I year-round.
Bank of America
The Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement (HOLA) at Bank of America has 36 chapters with 13000+ members. In this Employee Network, members help foster a more inclusive environment while also enabling career development for Latinx employees. But Bank of America’s commitment to the Hispanc/Latinx community does not stop with their employees. Bank of America has been sharing an annual report, Hispanic Business Owner Spotlight, the past four years exploring the challenges, goals and everyday realities of Hispanic entrepreneurs. This report highlights the status, projections, successes, challenges and more within this specific business community, showing Bank of America’s real commitment to addressing issues facing the Hispanic-Latinx community.
Citrix hosted virtual events this year to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month amongst its employees. While Citrix employees may still be working remotely, they were able to come together at all levels to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. Citrix’s Latinx ERG was determined to share their culture with their remote colleagues and hosted events like D&I movie and book groups that were focused on Latinx food, culture, and experience. Outside of Hispanic Heritage Month, Citrix’s Latino ERG leaders keep the momentum going by being a part of Citrix’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Council. This Council, consisting of leaders from every ERG, develops diversity programs and measures the impacts of diversity programs, ensuring D&I is considered in all decisions and actions.
Coca-Cola shows their support through their “Hispanic Leadership Business Resource Group,” an ERG that aims to ensure Coca-Cola is a great place for Hispanic and Latinx employees to work by providing people development, networking, and community involvement opportunities. The ERG also helps drive innovative business results – in 2017, an idea emerged from the group for a Point of Sale Spanish Adaptation Tool, which addressed the issue of taglines and phrases losing their meaning through literal translations from English to Spanish. This tool allowed bilingual employees to submit their own ideas of translated adaptations in different dialects of Spanish, while still keeping the nuance of the original phrase. The proposed product was such a success that Coca-Cola’s marketing team purchased the software license for further use. Coca-Cola also showed their substantial commitment to Hispanic employees by taking a stand when the future of Dreamers in the U.S. became unclear, by covering the $500 DACA renewal fees for any employees who were part of the program.
According to Comcast’s website, their Employee Resource Groups are organizations dedicated to developing the careers of their employees, as well as contributing to community service and building an inclusive, collaborative workplace. With 1,956 members and eight chapters across the nation, their Hispanice Employee Resource Group, Unidos “educates, unites and empowers Hispanice/Latino professionals,” while also creating an environment for all employees to embrace Hispanic cultures. Furthermore, Unidos creates leadership opportunities, professional development, and service to multicultural communities, helping to support impacting business goals and advancing careers.
On their website, CVS says, “We believe that for our business to thrive, our workforce must reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.” Their Latin Colleague Resource Group, Juntos, aims to cultivate and provide a positive environment for Latin culture awareness, promoting inclusivity through different partnerships in Latin communities. A part of their College Resource Group program, CVS says, “it’s important to offer programs that help our employees develop and grow professionally, while also providing the opportunity to connect with one another through a particular affinity, culture or perspective.”
Dell has a Global Diversity Council that constantly works to create a more inclusive company, from recruiting to their workplace culture. Specifically for Hispanic employees, this includes partnering with the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and offering an employee resource group called “Latino Connection,” one of 13 ERGs at Dell. Latino Connection provides mentoring, volunteering, networking, and leadership opportunities for over 1,600 members across North America.
Hispanic Executive, the leading publication profiling Latino leaders, has featured several executives at Dell about their experiences with the company. Ana Villegas, Marketing Senior Director at Dell, shared in an interview that she has had the opportunity to become a leader within Latino Connection and spearhead community outreach initiatives to bring more girls into tech, in conjunction with Latinitas. Bruny Rios, Senior Vice President of Global Revenue at Dell, shared her passion for mentoring young Latino professionals, as well as her appreciation for Dell’s clear commitment to D&I. And Mariely Bandas-Franzetti, Vice President of Global Services at Dell, discussed how she champions Latinas in STEM internally and externally through Latino Connection and organizations like HACR and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
Ellucian, a company that develops software and solutions for higher education, has a global ERG with 100+ members called ¡wepa!, which has a mission to “provide the opportunity to educate and advance Latinx diversity in members through learning, leadership, and connections.” The company also has a large population of employees located in Latin American countries to better serve clients with offices in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil. During Hispanic Heritage Month, Ellucian has planned volunteer events, office potlucks celebrating Latinx and Hispanic culture, highlights of influential Hispanic Americans, and an Instagram takeover for Latinx employees to share their experiences working at Ellucian. The first takeover on the company’s Instagram account came from the leader of ¡wepa!, who is also a Senior Cloud Engineer from Puerto Rico.
Facebook’s Latin@FB group brings their “community together to celebrate our diverse cultures and the power of voice” during Hispanic Heritage Month. They held a Latin @Community Summit centered on “embracing our unique identities, empowering each other, and building community”. Facebook’s support for the Hispanic community also extends to the social media platform itself, launching a Latinx Hispanic Business Boost, which will provide support and insights such as trainings, small business panels, and external speaker sessions to Latinx-owned businesses.
This major shipping company has a workforce consisting of 15% Hispanic employees, and in 2017 they were voted as #13 on the Best Workplaces for Diversity based on employee survey results. In August 2019, leaders of the FedEx Hispanic Action Network group were able to attend the annual UnidosUS conference and award two Hispanic students with $5,000 scholarships. This is just one example of how Hispanic employees at FedEx are able to get together, get involved, and give back to the Hispanic community. FedEx also uses their platform to support 10 different Hispanic organizations that work to improve the lives of Hispanic Americans through education pathways, professional development, and advocacy.
This major vehicle manufacturer supports Hispanic employees from the first step in their careers by specifically targeting professional Hispanic organizations and Hispanic Serving Institutions as part of their recruiting strategy. GM puts a specific focus on raising the amount of Hispanic professionals in STEM through their recruiting efforts and by providing over $5.7 million in scholarships for Hispanic students in STEM. They have routinely been named as one of the best companies for Latinas by LATINA Style, Inc. based on career opportunities, retention, employee benefits, and mentoring opportunities. LATINA Style also voted GM’s, “Hispanic Initiative Team” as the #1 ERG because of their work successfully engaging with the community and ensuring the workplace is supporting Hispanic employees.
General Mills has an active employee resource group, “Hispanic Network,” that focuses on personal development, networking, and skills that are useful in the workplace every day. The ERG has also traditionally hosted the Hispanic Leadership Development Summit, an annual three-day event which features a mix of speakers, development sessions, and team building. More generally, the company runs expansive diversity trainings and initiatives, including an event called “Courageous Conversations” that gives employees a supportive place to talk about the issues affecting them in the workplace.
This hospitality company is comprised of 29% Hispanic employees, and also has an ERG “Latinos @ Hyatt” that provides opportunities for professional development, networking, and leadership opportunities. Priscilla Guasso, the former Regional Manager of Talent Acquisition/Recruiting for Latin America and the Caribbean, shared her experiences working at Hyatt in an interview with Hispanic Executive, exemplifying Hyatt’s commitment to career advancement. Guasso began her career as an administrative assistant and eventually advanced in her career to become responsible for recruitment at more than twenty-seven Hyatt properties in Latin America, with help from leaders at Hyatt.
“Each leader I’ve worked with has seen something different in me, pushed me to go further, and I’ve never felt my background, my ethnicity, my gender has been a cause for question,” she said in the interview.
Jacobs’ core value of “we live inclusion” was on full display during their Hispanic Heritage Celebration last year. Consisting of events, presentations, and celebrations honoring Latino culture and history, events ranged from mariachi bands to salsa dancing to interviewing clients. Jacobs Engineering is also a strong supporter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Not only did they attend the SHPE conference, they also provided two SHPE scholarships to two of their outstanding Latinx students. Through their celebrations of Latinx culture and partnerships Jacobs hopes to “not only recruit and develop the best and most diverse global talent, but also bring a whole new generation of outstanding Latino people” to their industry.
Keurig Dr Pepper
Keurig Dr Pepper had one of the most unique approaches to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Clamato, one of Keurig Dr Pepper’s products, is also the number one vegetable drink amongst U.S. Hispanics. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Clamato bottle got a make-over and limited special edition bottles were released that were inspired by papel picado flags. The mixture is a source for Vitamin C and Vitamin A, and is also great to use in making Michelada’s! Outside of Hispanic Heritage month, the Hispanic ERG group at Keurig Dr Pepper hosts lunch-and-learns to educate their members and other coworkers on key cultural topics.
Leidos’ Employee Resource Group, Hispano-Latino Leidos Asociación (HoLA), fosters professional growth and supports the retention, engagement and affiliation with the Hispanic-Latino community. This year, in addition to internal professional development and support for employees, the ERG went above and beyond to stand with their community. The group noticed that the Hispanic and Latinx community was being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 nationwide, making up a third of cases in the DMV alone. Leidos, headquartered in Reston, VA, found it imperative to fight against this troubling statistic. This past September HoLA teamed up with the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs and Neighborhood Health to donate more than 6,000 face masks and 1,500 bottles of hand sanitizer to help combat the spread of COVID-19 within Latino communities in DC and Northern Virginia.
New York Life
New York Life not only supports its Hispanic employees, but is committed to building a workforce representative of the population they serve. In an interview with Hispanic Executive, Liliana Canedo, corporate VP and Latino Market Manager, shared her career journey at New York Life and how the company has expanded to better serve their Hispanic and Latinx customers. According to the article, the company grew its number of Latinx New York Life Agents serving the Latinx Market from 450 in 2010 to more than 2000 in 2017, and Canedo has had the opportunity to spearhead educational initiatives to improve financial literacy in the Hispanic and Latinx community. New York Life also scores highly when it comes to their advancement and career development opportunities – in 2018 the company was ranked #7 in the top 50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work for in the U.S. by LATINA Style magazine.
Office Depot believes that diversity is “fundamental to the transformation and sustainability” of their company. In 2019, they expanded their Diversity & Inclusion program, aiming to build a culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. Included in their Diversity & Inclusion program is their Associate Resource Group, SOMOS, which received special recognition in 2019 from LATINA Style Inc. for being one of the best Hispanic Employee Resource Groups in the country. In a post on LATINA Style’s Facebook page, LATINA Style says that SOMOS’ mission is to “bring Latino/HIspanic associates together to encourage positive change and strengthen the Latino culture,” by providing support to various organizations such as HISPA, SOS Village Foster Care Center and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Prudential consistently ranks as one of the top companies for Latina employees by LATINA Style and was named the #1 Best Company for Latina Employees in 2017. They received this prestigious spot due to their number of Latina executives, educational opportunities, alternative work policies, and Hispanic relations. Prudential also has an ERG, “Hispanic Heritage Network,” where employees can establish a support network, assist with community initiatives, and find professional development opportunities. One of these community initiatives is working with organizations like UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. Since 2014 Prudential has been partnering with UnidosUS, and has granted over $1.35 million to support their goal of empowering Latino families to achieve economic mobility and long-term financial goals.
Target’s Hispanic Business Council developed some awesome initiatives for Hispanic Heritage Month this year. They created a team member panel that will “examine the intersection of diversity and personal identity”, as well as a virtual expo where the stories of Latina artists and entrepreneurs will be told. Working alongside the marketing team, they also helped design “Mas Que”, the company-wide celebration of Hispanic Heritage month featuring a product assortment created by Latinx founders and the online Mas Que Hub featuring curated products created for and by the Latinx community. Throughout the year, Target supports their Hispanic employees and the community as a whole by partnering with the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and investing in the next generation of Hispanic and Latinx leaders by partnering with the Hispanic College Fund to give out 50 scholarships every year to Hispanic students studying a business-related field.
Thermo Fisher has a long history of supporting minorities in the workplace. With almost 100 local ERG groups and dozens of diversity partnerships, Thermo Fisher finds the best way to measure their impact is by measuring their progress. That’s why the company takes priority in fostering partnerships, including representation data in quarterly reports, and maintaining a 100% score on the Corporate Equality Index – which they’ve maintained for over three years. Hispanic and Latino ERG members make Thermo Fisher a more inclusive place for their new hires by reaching out to their new colleagues and encouraging them to join, showing synchronized support through the whole company. Outside of the company, one of Thermo Fisher’s strongest partnerships is with Prospanica, a group consisting of Hispanic students who are working towards their MBAs. Thermo Fisher supports Prospanica by working directly with the organization in finding the company’s next business leaders.
Thomson Reuters aimed to raise awareness of cultural and political issues facing Hispanic and Latinx communities this month by hosting conversations on race and reform. Their four-part series was hosted by leaders in diversity and focused on topics like increasing access to education for the Latinx community and supporting financial growth. These events are not unique for Thomson Reuters. Outside of Hispanic Heritage month, Thomson Reuters has a history of holding events that unpack the Hispanic and Latinx experience in the United States. Just last December, the company’s Latinx Employee Network group hosted a discussion on the impact of the Latinx vote on the November 2020 election – an especially timely topic today.
USAA not only proudly serves military families with all their investment, insurance and banking needs, but also makes longstanding commitments to Hispanic-Latinx community at large. In 1999, USAA in partnership with UTSA started the Access College and Excel Program: a program designed to recruit top students from Latino schools and mentor them through their transition to college and graduation. This company is also a member of the Association of Latin Professionals in Accounting and the National Hispanic MBA Association. USAA is dedicated to helping Hispanic-Latinx professionals continue to develop and fill representation gaps in the workforce.
This year at Viasat, author Pedro David Espinoza was contacted to speak about his book “Differences That Make a Difference: How Organizations Succeed by Focusing on Innovation through Inclusion.” The book’s theme, that everyone has a story that can inspire others, is central to Viasat’s Latinx ERG and was a mission statement that inspired events throughout the year. Different members of HOLA, a group that has grown to 75, shared their own stories this year as a way to connect personally and inspire professionally. According to Program Manager Soozan Alcaraz, it worked! Employees were inspired to hear about how their colleagues had also arrived at Viasat, if they had a STEM background, and the different paths they took. A year of storytelling, being heard, and finding inspiration is just one of the reasons why Viasat is a great place to work.
Wells Fargo & Company
Hispanic Lifestyle reports that Wells Fargo “has been a committed supporter of diverse business owners” for more than 160 years. In the last decade alone, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have “worked together to develop programs that help Latino business owners grow and succeed.” Wells Fargo’s Latin Connection also helps to promote “awareness and understanding of the Hispanic marketplace within and across segments.” With over 8,300 members and 43 chapters nationwide, Latin Connection provides professional and career development, mentoring, leadership and community outreach opportunities, focusing on building the future for all Hispanic members of the company.
From professional development initiatives to community outreach and support, these companies exemplify an impressive commitment to their Latinx and Hispanic employees and the broader community all year round.