Hispanic Heritage Month, annually recognized from September 15 to October 15, is a time to celebrate the influence and cultures of those from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The month consists of food and music festivals, community functions, art exhibits and much more to create a broader cultural awareness of the contributions from the American Latino community and various independence days taking place in September.
Samsung continued the celebration with the help of UNIDOS, the company’s Hispanic & Latino Employee Resource Group, which launched earlier this year. With the mission of empowering the community and its allies within our organization and promoting employee development and an understanding of multicultural traditions, UNIDOS hosted internal discussions and shared some of their favorite recipes and playlists. These fun and engaging activities included educational conversations surrounding intersectionality, allyship, and ways to grow Hispanic and Latino talent within the company.
Intersectionality has impacted me in a major way because it has given me a bigger lens to see the world through.
As one of two companywide events, UNIDOS hosted “Afro Latinos: A discussion about Intersectionality & Allyship.” With 14.4 million Latinos identifying as Afro Latino, the term refers to Latin Americans of full or mainly African ancestry. In discussing the importance of this conversation, Richard Rosalez, Vice President of Litigation, said, “Education is one of the most important aspects of being a good ally and can help you understand and relate to others, especially when you can draw from shared experiences.” In an attempt to dive deeper into the multitude of backgrounds and cultures, a distinguished panel of three Samsung employees shared their personal experiences with intersectionality, allyship, and traditions.
Jon Mingo, Retail Operations, explained how the intersectionality of Afro Latino culture has impacted both him and his family, as his wife identifies as Latina. He explained, “Intersectionality has impacted me in a major way because it has given me a bigger lens to see the world through. I think one of the most beautiful benefits when you bring different ethnicities together is that you’re introducing a whole new world.”
In the journey toward a more diverse and inclusive workforce, Chris Lezama, Home Entertainment Product Marketing Strategy, explained the importance of acknowledging similarities among different cultures. He said, “Where I grew up in New York City, we have neighborhoods that you would consider Black or Hispanic, but largely they were blended. To everyone, everyone was family. We treated each other the same. Recognition of the similarities within heritages and cultures is key in driving more allyship.” The event demonstrated similarities by showing the evolution of different meals, music, and art among numerous Hispanic and Latino communities.
However, despite the many similarities and patterns between various countries, recognizing and celebrating differences is also necessary. In building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, the multitudes of backgrounds and perspectives play a significant role in forming new and innovative ideas.
Recognition of the similarities within heritages and cultures is key in driving more allyship.
Building on the topics of intersectionality and allyship, UNIDOS hosted a second internal panel discussion titled, “Empowering and Growing the Hispanic & Latino Talent at SEA.” In promoting the representation and advancement of the community within the company, panelists discussed the importance of Employee Resource Groups, the benefits of partner organizations and best practices to diversify teams.
With the Hispanic & Latino community forming such a huge pool of talent, Samsung recognizes the necessity of successful Employee Resource Groups within the company. Alvaro Maruenda, Strategic Partnerships, explained, “Having any ERG is imperative for two reasons: performance and corporate culture. ERG’s can influence and create best practices to ensure that Hispanic & Latino talent is attracted, educated, and promoted within our organization. When you look at our community within the corporate world, we face some unique challenges that others might not have to endure. For example, English is not my first language. It is important to recognize your community challenges and help them grow into strengths.”
In the journey toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace, Samsung has partnered with several organizations to assist in recruiting and retaining diverse prospects. In partnership with several organizations such as Prospanica and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Robert Bogart, Head of Talent Acquisition, explained how he and his team are working to “systematically change the way we find talent.” He explained, “The partnership piece is very important. I spend a lot of time working with the various ERGs and determining how to best tap into the talent within their community, cultivate the relationships, and further develop skill sets.”
As each ERG strives to encourage authentic representation and professional development, the organizations contribute to the broader Samsung community and the D&I journey. This influence allows for a larger sense of belonging and empowerment, from sharing best practices to educating on various cultures. We look forward to continuing to celebrate the number of brilliant communities driving change within the company and working toward a better future for all.
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