His View: By Guillermo Diaz, Jr. Chief Executive Officer, Kloudspot

By Guillermo Diaz, Jr.Chief Executive Officer, Kloudspot
Chairman, Hispanic IT Executive Council
Board of Directors at Blue Shield of CA

In front of every strong man, there is a strong woman. I, therefore, have a superpower because I had two incredible, strong and supportive Latina women in front of me who nurtured my spirit and taught me many powerful life lessons: two of which I will share here. Always Remember Where You Came From To Know Where You Are Going.

My mother is my Silver Unicorn. She lost her husband, my father, in a car accident when I was 15 months old and my brother was just four months old. To support us and our extended family, she worked as a Telecommunications Specialist for the Department of the Army at a time when virtually no women, especially Latinas, were in the technology field. The original Latina in STEM!

My father was originally from Mexico City, so my Diaz family roots were there. I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado so we could have easily lost touch with the Diaz side of my family.

My mother instead made sure that we stayed connected and understood exactly where we came from and who we came from. We were as much Mexicanos from Mexico City as we were Americans from Pueblo, Colorado. I always knew what our rich culture and lineage stood for: hard work and courage, but also humility and caring for others. This strong foundation and history continues to light my path forward, and why I frequently say, “always remember where you came from, to know where you are going.” Why Not Me?

Another lesson was from the matriarch of my family, Grama Dora, who was my first and best champion. Mi Abuelita taught me that someone is going to change the world, so “WHY NOT ME?”

Grama Dora cared for me and my brother while my mother was working. She believed in me and saw things that I could not see then. I still remember being a young teen and confiding in her about how nervous I was for an upcoming national martial arts tournament. I promised Grama that I would do my best, however, and she responded, “you will be the champion.” When I came home with the championship trophy, she said, “of course I knew you would win.”

From that karate tournament as a teenager to C-level leadership roles in top global companies, becoming Chairman of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) and Board of Directors at Blue Shield of CA, I still recognize that someone will change the world and ask myself the question that I learned from mi Abuelita, “WHY NOT ME?”

These principles have guided my life and my career. They are embodied and carried forward by many other amazing Latinas in my life, starting with my wife and daughter, and then continuing with the amazing core team at HITEC, which is 90 percent women; the esteemed HITEC Board of Directors, the top technology leaders in the world which is 50 percent women; the incredible Latina entrepreneurs from the Stanford Leadership Entrepreneur Initiative; and finally, the promising young Latina students that I work with as part of the Cristo Rey High School Network.

I was recently interviewed by one of those students, and she asked me this question: “what advice would you give your high school self?” The answer was simple – I would tell myself that someone is going to change the world, “WHY NOT ME?” And, so why not YOU? #Adelante.

Guillermo Diaz, Jr., is a transformative global business leader and champion of inclusion and diversity. He is the CEO of Kloudspot Inc., an innovative AI and IOT analytics platform. He is also the Chairman of the Hispanic IT Executive Council, serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Shield of CA and board seats for Cristo Rey High School Networks, Latino Business Action Network, Npower, and the Latino Donor Collaborative.   In his prior role, he served as the Global Chief Information Officer at Cisco Systems and was responsible for the Information Technology organization, strategy, and services. Guillermo began his career in telecommunications with the U.S. Navy, where he received a military scholarship that led to his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Regis University in Colorado. Prior to Cisco, he held senior IT leadership positions with Silicon Graphics, Intelligent Electronics (Ingram Micro), and Alza Corporation.

 

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