In April, we celebrate Administrative Professionals. The Executive Liaisons. The Office Manager. The Mama and Papa Bears of the office. The latter is an endearing and suitable term. Why? Because
Like many Hispanic and Latino families, mine had a big European influence. My grandparents left Germany in late 1938 and were among the few fortunate Jewish families welcomed in Argentina, a country that like many other South American countries, was a refuge for Jewish families fleeing World War II.
I was born, raised, and educated in Buenos Aires, learning since childhood how to live through and overcome the challenges of belonging to a minority. I can remember not being excused for being absent at school due to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, while my friends were excused for their important Catholic celebrations.
More than 20 years ago, I started my professional career in human resources (HR). My passions for having an impact in the business world, helping businesses and people grow, and learning about different cultures led me to work in multinational companies such as Clorox, DHL, and HP, where I have been for the past nine years.
For more than 15 years, I spent my time working in Latin America, helping leaders to grow their businesses, and developing and exporting amazing talent. During my professional life, I had the opportunity to live and work in Argentina and Brazil, and I visited almost 20 countries and territories in Latin America.
It allowed me to appreciate our history, our culture, our talents, and our differences. Other than Brazil and many territories in the Caribbean, we have Spanish as our common language—that helps us connect. However, learning English has always been a mandate for many of us in Latin America due to the proximity to the US and the opportunities it offers our community.
Around the time of HP’s separation, I was invited to create and lead the America’s HR team. I’m one of three Latinos on the HR leadership team. I always felt very privileged for the opportunities that I had at HP, and at the same time, I held myself accountable to represent all minorities.
As I travel to HP sites, I look for ways to engage our MultiCultural Business Impact Networks (BINs), which actively promote awareness of our varied cultures and ethnicities. BINs also encourage everyone to embrace HP’s belong, innovate, and grow (BIG) diversity and inclusion strategy.
During one of my site visits, someone approached me and said, “Martin, you have no idea what it means to the Latino community to see one of us at the top. You give us hope that it is possible to grow at HP.”
Recently, a group of us at HP Palo Alto felt it was time to take our contribution to a different level. We decided to launch a new Hispanic and Latino BIN at our office with the intent of positioning HP, both internally and externally, as a great place for talented Hispanic and Latino people to grow their careers. It is time to show that this community, like many other minority groups, can significantly contribute to HP’s success.
When the Reinvent Mindsets campaign debuted #LatinoJobs, it was difficult to be reminded that many people perceive Latinos as janitors and construction workers. But along with many of my Hispanic and Latino colleagues, I was proud when the video showed that like any other community, we have all kinds of careers.
The Hispanic and Latino communities make massive contributions to society and the global economy. A recent report conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles confirmed that the economic power of Latinos equates to more than US$2 trillion dollars, and it would rank as the seventh largest GDP in the world if Latinos represented one country.
And their contributions to HP are invaluable.
Let’s continue to celebrate the US National Hispanic Heritage Month and engage with local Hispanic and Latino or MultiCultural events!