I&D leaders from Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft talk Latinx representation in tech

  • Posted on October 22, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

In the first year, Adelante established its voice. 

September was a special month at Avanade. It marked the start of a new financial year, the start of Hispanic Heritage Month and the first anniversary of Adelante, Avanade’s Latinx Employee Network. A year ago, Adelante debuted through an unforgettable cultural Loteria (Mexican Bingo) event to observe Hispanic Heritage Month.

While planning for Hispanic Heritage Month this year, I reflected on my own journey as a young professional coming from Venezuela and starting my career in the U.S. Through support, mentorship and hard work, this young Latina marketing intern worked her way up to a seasoned Marketing Alliances Director – and specifically, the first Global Marketing Latina Director at Avanade.

In its second year, Adelante used its voice to lead the conversation.

As part of the month-long celebration, I saw the importance of bringing together Employee Network leaders from Accenture and Microsoft to have conversations around Latinx representation in the tech industry. I brought together Avanade’s Oscar Perez and Colleen Burke, Accenture’s Yesenia Reyes, and Microsoft’s Joseph Sefair to share their perspectives in an open fireside chat.

I&D Leaders of Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft talks Latinx Representation in Tech

Alex: How has Latinx representation changed in the past five years? What do you predict will happen in the next five to 10 years?

Yesenia: If we look back just five years, the number of Latinos entering the tech field is continuing to grow. I see this being a growth trajectory in years to come, but a more important question is what we need to do to attract and retain that talent? 

Organizations need to widen the lens when sourcing talent to recognize the skillset and capabilities that can thrive in the consulting field – the truth is, we’re seeing more and more people, including Latinx talent, with non-traditional educational backgrounds; a baseline of a university background is no longer enough, people are learning online, on-the-job, on their own, and we need to adapt company HR processes to continue grow our abilities to recognize and hire this talent.

From there, it’s being ready to retain Latinx talent by making the meaningful and fruitful careers of tech consulting at organizations like Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft known. 

Alex: How is Microsoft measuring diversity, equity and inclusion?

Joseph: In order for us to have a growth mindset, we have to understand where we are and how you will make progress to where you want to be. Microsoft publishes a DEI report that’s segmented out by retail, technical and non-technical workforce and from there looks at gender, ethnicities, and race and beyond – it’s transparent. This report helps us understand where we are.

From here, it’s teams like HOLA that are making recommendations of where we need to improve and how to reach the Latinx talent pool based on the research we’re seeing in the talent market.

Microsoft has a bold goal of doubling the number of Latinx employees in the next five years.

Alex: What are the expectations of the future Latinx workforce? What needs to happen now to meet their expectation to work in a company where diversity is appreciated and inclusion is fostered?

Oscar: This is an interesting question that reminded me of a juxtaposition in my upbringing. Only in the past decade have I truly felt that I have found my voice. Why? As a first-generation Canadian, my parents continually counselled me to not be outspoken or rock the boat. The saying of “en boca cerrada, no entran moscas echoes in my head. When literally translated, the saying reads: “With a closed mouth, no flies enter,” but what was meant by it was to be safe in my career, grateful for my job and to protect that at all costs.

Only in the past decade, have I truly felt that I found my voice, contrary to what my parents were taught and shared with me. My recommendation to the future Latinx workforce is to feel empowered to speak up and ask the tough questions because tech organizations should be transparent on their inclusion, diversity, and representation efforts; that their efforts are beyond performative; and the measurement behind the efforts.

These are indicators that companies truly appreciate diversity and foster inclusion.


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