Amplifying Latino Voices in Tech
On the heels of Celebrate Diversity Month in April, Samsung Electronics America is proud to share how we are continuing to build and grow a workforce that is more representative of our communities and customers.
Our sixth and newly formed employee resource group (ERG), Unidos, has just launched. The ERG is committed to creating awareness of its multi-cultural heritage, supporting the professional growth and development of its members, and making an impact in the local communities where Samsung’s diverse workforce lives and works.
To mark the occasion, Unidos hosted an internal Cinco de Mayo social event on May 5th where they introduced the ERG to U.S. employees and invited an executive chef to give a master class in Mexican cuisine.
We caught up with the following Unidos members to find out more about the motivation behind the formation of the ERG and its focus:
Renzo Villavicencio, Vice President, Process Innovation and Procurement & Unidos Executive Sponsor
Rich Rosalez, Vice President, Legal Management & Unidos Executive Sponsor
Albert Leyva, Director, Retail Operations & Unidos Co-National Lead
Nora Lango, Director, Home Appliance Sales & Customer Operations & Unidos Co-National Lead
Tell us a little about yourself, your role at Samsung, and your role as part of the Unidos ERG?
Renzo: Hello, my name is Renzo Villavicencio, and I was born in Lima, Peru. I joined Unidos as an Executive Sponsor as a way to help my Latino colleagues with professional development opportunities, provide a sense of belonging, create a better work environment, and include them in the conversation.
Rich: Hello, my name is Rich Rosalez, and I am Mexican American. I was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and my family is from South Texas and Mexico. I have long been actively involved in diversity initiatives to help promote access, opportunity, and success. As Executive Sponsor, I am thrilled to support these efforts at Samsung. I believe it is important to honor those who came before you by helping those who follow – and Unidos will enable both.
Albert: Hola, my name is Albert Leyva. As a second-generation Mexican American, I am passionate about driving diversity, equality, and inclusion in both the workplace and in the community. I want to help create a place of belonging for our Hispanic community within Samsung that is anchored in allyship and enhancing our employee experience.
Nora: Hi! I’m Nora Lango. I was born in Medellin, Colombia, and I’ve been living in the U.S. since 2000. I joined Unidos with the intent of serving Samsung’s Hispanic family. As a Co-National Lead, I’m excited about the opportunity of expanding mentorship and leadership programs, while continuing to foster an inclusive environment for all.
What’s the mission of the new ERG?
Rich: We want to empower the Hispanic community inside and outside of Samsung by growing social and cultural awareness. We are committed to promoting employee development, retention, and recruitment to contribute to Samsung’s greater success.
Through Unidos, we will help increase opportunities, realize the untapped potential, and improve the performance of our members by enhancing our sense of belonging and strengthening our community through programs, events and activities. We look forward to working with our allies and fellow ERGs, and are excited to see the impact that Unidos can make.
What is the preferred nomenclature: Latinx, Latina/Latino or Hispanic?
Albert: We are the second-largest racial group in the U.S. and make up nearly 20% of the population. Because of our multicultural backgrounds, we’ve found it challenging to decide upon a pan-ethnic label. In fact, we typically refer to our country of origin or the terms our parents and grandparents use when describing ourselves. Increasingly, younger generations self-identify as Latinx, but the most common terms are Latino and Hispanic, which many of us use interchangeably.
Can you touch on the importance of representation in the workplace?
Renzo: Representation is critical because it allows people within our community to see themselves in positions of leadership and inspires them to strive for more. It creates an inviting space and gives them a sense of belonging. It also provides encouragement to go for that senior-level role because they were inspired to reach beyond what they thought was possible.
Nora: Representation matters. We all want our voices heard. Samsung’s six ERGs all contribute to a larger mission of representation within the organization. We share our unique views, participate in meaningful discussions, and take action to help our respective communities.
Outside of work, what are some of Unidos’ broader community advocacy goals?
Renzo: We are highly active in community affairs. We currently have partnerships with Prospanica, a premier Hispanic business professional non-profit organization, to attract top Hispanic talent to Samsung Electronics America, and #LatinaGeeks, a non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring Latinas to embrace technology, to increase awareness of Samsung’s commitment to diversity and enhance our efforts to support Latinas in technology.
Albert: We are also working with Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, an association fostering Hispanic leadership in the STEM field; Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, a leading corporate advocacy group; and We Are All Human, a foundation that is advancing the agenda of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Furthermore, we have a strong partnership with votoLatino, which is focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters. We want to give back, educate, and support the communities that made us.
What advice do you have for Latino people working in the tech industry?
Nora: Actively participate, ask questions, and know that you are as capable as anyone else – no matter where you come from.
Rich: Work hard, put forth your best effort, and go the extra mile to achieve your desired goals. Be patient and flexible because things will not always be quick or easy. Adapt and exhibit determination and resiliency to get through difficult times. Lastly, demonstrate your willingness to learn more and your dedication to growth. For example, build on your strengths, address your weaknesses, and seek advice from those you respect and admire.