Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated each year in the United States, from September 15 to October 15, to acknowledge the history, culture, and contributions of Americans whose ancestry can be traced to 20+ countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Throughout the month, we’re excited to offer employees around the globe several ways to celebrate, educate, and/or provide allyship to our Latinx colleagues. Below are just a few of the events:
In addition to the virtual events and give-back campaign, we are also excited to launch a brand new Latinx Employee Resource Group (ERG), with the goal of uniting the Latinx community at Cohesity with a collaborative network that promotes cultural awareness, recruiting, retention, and professional development. This is our fourth ERG, and we have plans to add more each year. The Latinx ERG, which is open to all employees, will be led by Cohesity’s Maricela Guerrero and Carmela de la Torre.
In celebration of this new ERG and Latinx Heritage Month, Maricela and Carmela share a bit about themselves, their heritage, and their plans for the new ERG.
Maricela is a veteran employee, who’s been with Cohesity since 2016 when she began as an Executive Assistant. “I’ve held several roles throughout my six-year tenure at Cohesity, and that’s because this company truly provides opportunities for employees to develop and grow. I’m currently the Employee Experience Manager, where I create and implement leadership development programs that help foster an environment where all employees can thrive.”
A Perfect Weekend for Maricela: Maricela says her idea of a perfect weekend is spending time with her family. “I have six sisters, as well as a daughter and a son, and we try to coordinate a day where we can all get together for a meal at my mother’s house.” Her mother, who was born in Durango, Mexico, enjoys hosting and spreading love and laughter in her home where there’s delicious food, Latin music, and boisterous cross-conversations. “My mom has a great sense of humor, too, and is the kind of person who will call you out on something—but she does it with love and a smile, and truthfully, we all need that sometimes.”
Bringing Her Full Self to Work: Maricela believes that, in many ways, being a Latina defines who she is. “I was raised in a home with a Puerto Rican father and a Mexican mother, and everyone in the family spoke with passion and purpose. There was just a certain kind of energy in how we communicated, and sometimes, we had to be loud in order to be heard.” Today, I am proud to be a Latina, and I am confident and comfortable being myself in the workplace, even if that means bringing passion, excitement, and energy that other colleagues may not be accustomed to. “Early in my career,” she says, “I found myself toning down my passion, or the volume of my voice, to conform to the non-Latinas and Latinos around me. But not anymore. At Cohesity, I bring my full self to work every day.”
Celebrating Her Heritage: By embracing her ethnic roots, Maricela is proud of the values she’s instilled in her children. She’s especially amazed by her daughter’s drive and passion for their Hispanic heritage. “Last weekend, my daughter rallied the family together to attend and contribute to a giveback event at a lowrider car club, where money was raised for children in our local Mexican-American community who couldn’t afford back-to-school supplies.” Maricela says her daughter reminded her of the importance of connecting with and empowering those who share a common culture and history. “Attending that event was a genuine way for me to reengage with and celebrate my Latinx heritage.”
Why She Chose to Lead Our Latinx ERG: In addition to her daily responsibilities as an Employee Experience Manager, Maricela has volunteered to co-lead the newly created Latinx Employee Resource Group at Cohesity. “I’ve wanted to lead this ERG for a long while, but time is precious at Cohesity, and when Carmela started in July, we got to talking about it, and she jumped at the opportunity to co-lead the ERG with me. It’s great because I’ve been here six years, and she’s essentially brand new, so we will help balance each other out in terms of understanding both the veteran and new-hire employee experience.”
The Goal of Our Latinx Employee Resource Group: ERGs create a safe space for like-minded employees to come together, both as allies and members. It’s a forum to open dialogue regarding the employee experience for Latinx employees at Cohesity. It’s also an opportunity to educate allies about what may be inhibiting their Latinx colleagues from being their true, authentic selves in the workplace. Maricela says, “The Latinx ERG hopes to create a sense of belonging for the Hispanic community of employees, while also reminding them that Cohesity is an inclusive workplace—one that encourages and empowers employees to be themselves and speak their minds.”
Carmela joined the People & Places team at Cohesity this past July as a Senior GTM (Go-To-Market) Recruiter. She began her career working for several startups as an HR Business Partner but eventually changed gears and moved to recruiting. “I’m a people person, and recruiting organically suits me and my personality. I love getting people excited about opportunities. I love assessing a person’s ability and fitting them into a role that will help them level up and accelerate the business. I just love that type of matchmaking.” After Carmela’s first recruiter role, she never looked back.
A Perfect Weekend for Carmela: Being a self-proclaimed people person, it comes as no surprise that Carmela would describe a perfect weekend as: “Just relaxing with my family and daughter, then squeezing in some alone time for yoga, followed by a Sunday brunch with my best friends. That’d be perfect.”
Bringing Her Full Self to Work: Carmela says being half Mexican and half caucasian has been both a challenge and a blessing. “I remember when I was a kid, being frustrated when it came time to check the box of my ethnicity. I remember thinking to myself, ‘why can’t I be both?’” She says that although her experience continues to improve, “Because I’m half Mexican, sometimes I feel that I’m not fully accepted by the Hispanic community, and the opposite is often true regarding my acceptance from the Caucasian community. However, I have the true perspective that everyone is created equal, and I get to celebrate both sides of my family’s culture and heritage.” As Carmela has progressed throughout her career, she says she’s in a place now where she can be herself and embrace her roots. “This is why I am so excited about the new Employee Resource Group—because I know there are still members of the Latinx community who are not yet comfortable being their true selves at work. I think the ERG will be a safe place for them and will help shed those inhibitions.”
Celebrating Her Heritage: Carmela’s teenage daughter goes to a Catholic school, and the church their family attends also has a large concentration of Hispanics, which has become a way for Carmela to stay connected with her culture and to those in her Latinx community. Also, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday that takes place each year in November, is an important time for Carmela. Dia de los Muertos originated in Mexico and is a time when families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. “This is an especially important holiday for me since both of my parents have passed away. It’s a beautiful way to honor the deceased, while embracing my Mexican heritage, and reconnecting with my faith.”
Why She Chose to Lead Our Latinx ERG: Carmela says one of the reasons she chose to co-lead the new Latinx ERG with Maricela was to get to know coworkers who share a common culture and heritage. “I think because I’m so new to Cohesity, this is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and get to know one another on a deeper level. But also, I think I’m the kind of person who can corral and excite and jumpstart this ERG.” Carmela believes she’s perfectly suited to co-lead the ERG because she understands both the Hispanic and non-Hispanic perspectives, which can be invaluable in creating allies. “Because I’m not one hundred percent Hispanic, I see the beauty of connecting and introducing the cultures to both sides of my family. I feel like I’m the conduit of exposing those two cultures to each other. And so I feel like if I’m already doing this within my personal life, why not help do it at Cohesity?”
Our cultural guideline “Encourage an Inclusive Culture” embodies the idea that all are welcome at Cohesity. We are focused on ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are key components of our hiring process, and readers are encouraged to view the 100+ employment opportunities currently available.