September 15 marked the beginning of LatinX Heritage Month, a time to applaud the accomplishments of Hispanic and LatinX communities and spotlight an array of beautiful cultures and backgrounds.
Kobie strives to attract and invest in talent that reflects the diversity of all communities and fosters an inclusive culture that embraces our differences. In honor of LatinX Heritage Month, we are highlighting a few of the many LatinX teammates across the company. Here are their stories…
How has your family and heritage shaped your perspective and influenced what you do now?
Eloy: My parents moved here from Cuba when they were in their late teens. At such a young age they worked multiple jobs and found a way to start a family and bring the rest of our family over to the U.S. from Cuba. That hard work and determination to succeed was a major motivating factor for when I was in college and then later on again when getting with my MBA. After they settled down in Miami whenever they helped a family member or one of their friends move to the U.S., that person lived in our house with my family and I for a period time. My family taught me that if I have the ability to do something to help someone then I should. I try to bring that lesson and determination to succeed into my job and career now by helping my teammates and clients as best I can anytime I can.
Armando: Being a first generation Mexican-American, or even simply a first generation American, provided me with unique perspectives and tangible experiences that has molded who I am today. Everything from language, education, culture, travel, and economic diversity have been both positive and negative impacts to me over my life.
I was five years old when I first learned English in a Spanish speaking household where my parents were Mexican immigrants who were granted U.S. Citizenship in exchange for my father having joined the military and fighting for the U.S. in Vietnam.
We grew up on a street in California filled with immigrant families where many extended families would occupy homes in the same street; grand-parents, siblings, cousins, etc. Family unity, community and culture influenced what language we spoke, what food we ate, who we group up around (mostly family), etc. Most families were working class and contributed to their community in various ways. Many of us that grew up, went to school, established professional careers and the, “American family and life model” hold very dearly the experiences we had as children understanding the importance of family, community and socio-economic impacts. My experiences have allowed me to truly understand, observe and sometimes relate to some of the struggles of the minority community and misconceptions as part of it. I am very proud to be Hispanic as I have been afforded influences and diversity that most people will never experience, and I enjoy sharing my family story with friends today.
What are you proudest about your heritage?
E: I’m most proud of how resilient and optimistic Cuban, and most LatinX, people are. Cuba has had a rough history but any person you ask from there is hopeful that things will get better one day. I try to keep that resilience and optimism alive in everything I do as well.
Maria: I’m probably the proudest of the artisanal richness that Mexican culture is known for. When I was little and lived in Mexico, I remember seeing people of all walks of life making art of some sort – whether it was food, which is an art of itself, or pottery and sculptures or some sort of textile to sell. I was, and still am, always so amazed at the resourcefulness and skills so many people have at making such beautiful things out of nothing in order to thrive and survive. This richness in culture has allowed me to embrace the colorful and diverse aspects of people around me and has help me express myself.
How did your cultural influences contribute to your success at Kobie?
E: I was brought up in a very familial environment where everyone was either a cousin, uncle or aunt. I treat most people like family when I meet them and that has led me to my career here at Kobie which started off in Client Services and now in Client Solutions, where I deal with clients and new people on a regular basis. I think that treating everyone like family has helped a lot in my career.
Since being at Kobie and working with the people here I have never felt the need to change anything, I felt like I could genuinely be myself without fear of judgement. People here celebrated the things that made me different rather than judge those differences and took a genuine interest in learning about my culture, more than anyone has in the past. I treat everyone like family and the people at Kobie have done the same for me accepting me like their family as well.
M: I was always taught to “shoot for the stars” – to be tenacious and work hard to achieve my goals, and that I might have to work twice as hard to break some prejudices I may have stacked up against me. At this time my mom also had to go back to school to be able to work in the U.S. All this combined taught me about having good work ethic and I didn’t allow failure to be an option for myself. Eventually. I became a top student in my school, got scholarships to be able to go to college and eventually worked hard to get into the graphic design program at USF. I now love what I do and am grateful for my family for supporting and encouraging my dreams.
A: Perseverance in the face of adversity, the “scrappy” Hispanic “get-it-done” influence of my parents, and the support of a large family instilling the importance of community and collaboration all still influence me to this day.
Many large companies have diversity groups that embrace diversity from a textbook. Kobie actually talks about it passionately and you see it put to work. Kobie is authentic about their pride in diversity and unity and let’s all different types of people be themselves and be appreciated. I saw that immediately as a new Kobian.