Latinas in Technology, Breaking Barriers and Making their Mark

By Gloria Romano-Barrera and Jenny Lynn Castro

From user experience designers to software engineers to cybersecurity and more, these Latinas are breaking barriers and making their mark. Learn how each Latina encourages, empowers, and thrives in this inspiring feature.

Arlyssa Michelle Jaquez
Verizon
Network Security Architect (Cybersecurity)

Born in Oklahoma City, of Mexican descent, Arlyssa Michelle Jaquez, Network Security Architect, Verizon, first thought of pursuing an engineering degree by her high school honors calculus teacher, but unfortunately despite his advice, her lack of understanding of the field made her feel it was out of reach. In college, she enrolled as a business student and became a math tutor. While at school she overheard a conversation about projects engineering students were working on. Intrigued by this, she realized she belonged in engineering.

“I am a network security architect responsible for understanding the security posture of the networks and architecting solutions that will lower the risk of threats to the networks,” she shares. “The opportunity to help secure one of the world’s largest networks is an accomplishment for me on its own.”

As a cybersecurity professional, she works with applications, systems, and networks to design and implement controls that will make them more secure. For everyone, this helps reduce the risk of breaches/ data theft which could be detrimental to a company or individual.

“As much as I enjoy and believe in the products and services that Verizon offers, I’m still going to have to say the best part of working at Verizon has been the people I get to work with,” she shares. “I truly believe organizational environments are very much a direct reflection of the people who lead it. At Verizon, the teams I worked with have been managed by people with exceptional leadership and technical skills. Leaders who foster trust, inclusivity, and professional growth amongst colleagues. This type of environment makes any challenge the team faces a breeze to overcome.”

Jaquez enjoys mentoring and is involved in a few college mentorships. ­­She participates in different professional women-focused organizations like Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

“Today, in our highly connected world, there really is no reason to not pursue something that really interests you,” she shares. “You are just an internet search away from free resources so find that drive within you and do it. I also highly encourage aspiring STEM professionals to engage in mentorships with professionals who can answer their questions/doubts. For the most part, you will walk away from mentor conversations with so much more motivation and clarity in direction. Last but certainly not least and especially if you are a first-gen college student, you will face challenges, you will be in uncomfortable situations, you will fail. It is all part of the process. Keep moving! Learn to be rigid with your goals but flexible with the process.”

Beatris Alejandra Mendez Gandica
Microsoft Security
Engineer

When she first applied to her choice of university in Venezuela and did not get accepted, she felt very discouraged. However, in the spirit of never giving up, her mom and family encouraged her to study abroad instead and learn a new language. Beatris Alejandra Mendez-Gandica’s tenacity landed her in Germany for school, and she picked up the German language while there. Afterward, she received a scholarship to study in Wisconsin, leading her back to the states.

“In one of my earliest jobs, I felt like I was not being challenged, and I thought that pursuing STEM was not turning out the way I had hoped,” she shares. “However, I met T.K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, who led engineering for Microsoft’s Database and Big Data businesses, and he encouraged me to try engineering work and challenge myself. Within three months, I had moved to engineering, and since then I have been loving the work I do.”

Today, Mendez-Gandica is an engineer working as a Program Manager at Microsoft. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the usage billing pipeline for Azure Data services. Her work is essential to Microsoft as it ensures that Azure’s customer billing is secure, scalable, and correct.

“I love my job, and get to work with some of the smartest people on the planet,” she shares. “There is so much to learn from the team around me, and I always feel challenged to push myself to be the best I can be.”

Born in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Mendez-Gandica credits her grandparents on her mother’s side, Papito (grandpa) and Mamagladyz (grandma), who taught her through their words and actions that it is important to give back to her community and family. “They instilled in me the value of believing in myself, and that I must always keep trying,” she shares.

“In coding, it usually takes many tries to get it right, but it is important not to give up. Now, I want to give back to young people, especially underrepresented kids, by helping them pursue their STEM passions through the Nuevo Foundation and my role as an AAAS IF/THEN ambassador.”

The Nuevo Foundation is a non-profit created to inspire kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM. The focus is on underrepresented kids, and over 9,900 students in 31 countries have benefited from the program. A significant portion of the students are Latino/Hispanic.

“Our students get to learn a range of coding languages such as Python, C#, Java, HTML, and others,” she shares. “We start with the first line of code, “Hello world!” and by the end, the students can create functions. For example, we have a workshop where students get to make their own song or beats using code,” she shares.

Mendez-Gandica is also an AAAS IF/THEN ambassador. Her goal is to help educate and inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM.

“I believe that you cannot be what you cannot see,” she shares. “Having role models that look like yourself helps, especially when you are the first person you know to pursue a certain path. For me, I didn’t have tech Latinx role models, but I had my mom and family to support me in any decision that I made. In college, I had great professors that helped me be the best version of myself, and then at Microsoft, I was able to find mentors from other races/communities. I hope that I can be a role model for Latinx folks, as I think it would have been useful for myself to have representation and role models in tech. Ultimately, I want to make this path easier for all the people coming after me. Me and a community of Latinx STEMinists are waiting for you to start making a difference! Si se puede and you have what it takes! Please reach out to Latinx people in the fields you are interested in, and we can provide you with support, answer your questions, and help you find your way.”

Natalia Ramírez Pabón
UX Designer
Home Depot

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Natalia Ramírez Pabón is a passionate and curious designer who believes that for a service or business to be truly successful, it must do two things: Always keep the customers experience at the forefront of everything they do and invest in the power of design. Fascinated by emerging trends, data visualization, psychology, and interior design, Ramírez Pabón’s career at Home Depot started with a summer internship during her junior year of college. She was contacted through LinkedIn by a recruiter looking for UX Design Interns. After a great internship experience, she was offered to return as a full-time associate on the app team to start promptly after graduation, and the rest is history.

A UX designer for The Home Depot’s mobile app for the last three years, she works with other designers, researchers, product managers and engineers to identify Home Depot’s customers’ needs, use design thinking techniques to facilitate workshops that drive ideation and alignment amongst stakeholders, and craft end to end experiences that improve and delight customers as they shop using the app.

“Every UX designer has the privilege of bringing new ideas to the table, out-of-the-box concepts, best practices, unique skills and talents that lead to innovative ideas that set new standards within Home Depot, but also for the retail industry in general,” she shares. “No matter what your role is, everyone has an impact within the company and that impact is only possible through teamwork.”

Fascinated by human factors, ergonomics, and technology trends, Ramírez Pabón has had many accomplishments at Home Depot. The first being after only six months of joining, when the pandemic hit in March 2020, she was part of the team that launched Home Depot’s first-ever curbside pickup experience in the app.

“We quickly listened to our customer’s needs and were able to create an experience that allowed them to safely and conveniently get what they needed for their home without leaving their car,” she shares. “The feedback we got from our customers was amazing, they were very grateful that we were able to deliver so fast in the midst of the situation.”

The second is one of the most recent, where she had the privilege of designing an end-to-end experience for in-store customers. For example, when sharing location within The Home Depot app, as soon as you enter one of their stores, the app transforms into the new Store Mode that helps with product finding, confidence-building and project completion with quick tools like barcode scanner, store maps, lists, and more.

“No other retail app has a store mode experience like ours and it has been a big success,” she shares. Today she credits her parents for instilling in her to always do her best. “My best, not what anyone else defines as their best, because it is different for each of us, and that’s okay,” she shares. “What they wanted me to learn is that what really matters is knowing that I am using the talents and skills God has given me to the best of my ability.” The best part of working for Home Depot is knowing that her designs and work have an impact on customers’ lives and their experiences as they shop in-store or online. “It’s not just fun but very rewarding,” she shares. “Plus, it’s even better that I get to do it alongside extremely talented and passionate, orange-blooded folks.”

Kimberly Hernandez
Business Process Engineer Lead
Magic Leap

Raised in Miami, Florida, Kimberly Hernandez is a first-generation American Latina in STEM. Her mother immigrated from the Dominican Republic, and her father came from Cuba. Hernandez’s early exposure to engineering was during her middle school days, through an event held by the Society of Women Engineers called “Engineers Rock” which inspired her as a young woman. Hernandez received her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2008. While in college, Hernandez was involved with the “Society of Women Engineers” and “Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers” organizations and was provided internship and scholarship opportunities.

“These organizations were so impactful, and I continued to play a role in them even after graduation,” she shares. Hernandez went on to start a chapter of SHPE in Miami to encourage and help others gain experience in STEM. After Hernandez graduated, she became a business and strategy consultant in various companies and spent some time in Washington D.C.

Currently, Hernandez is working as a Lead Product Manager for Magic Leap in Florida and credits her network with SHPE for the opportunity. “I started working at Magic Leap in 2017,” she says. “Someone I knew within my network at SHPE had a position that was a perfect fit for me, and I initially started out as a business analyst where I grew our automation program and leveraged technologies to help Magic Leap scale. I then wanted a new challenge and I moved into product management.”

Hernandez has been with Magic Leap for over four years and enjoys the flexibility her job allows, “In product management, I help build a roadmap for the product, and it’s more customer-facing. I also get to work with people from around the world, and everyone is supportive and willing to collaborate,” she says. Hernandez is now a mom herself and emphasizes the importance of internships along with mentors for building a successful career path.

“Every internship I got was through SHPE, and I made lifelong friends, it opened up so many doors for me,” she says. “Advice that I would give to other Latinas would be to stay open-minded about choosing a mentor. Anyone can be your mentor, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Latina, but should be someone you feel comfortable with and that can successfully guide you. Also, get excited about adversities and challenges as they help you grow.”

Frances Coronel
Software Engineer
Byteboard

Frances Coronel recently joined the startup company Byteboard as a senior software engineer and previously worked at Slack. Recently switching companies, Coronel looks back at her work experiences with gratitude and is optimistic about her future.

“After working full-time as a software engineer for five years, I’ve reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable taking more risks and joining a startup,” she says. “I’m grateful to Slack and prepping for challenges because I’m already learning about expectations and how fully distributed teams can effectively work together.”

Coronel’s interest in technology started at a young age when playing computer games and was encouraged by her father to pursue a love for science and math. It wasn’t until she reached high school that she saw engineering as a potential career and started exploring computers more extensively.

“Up until that point, I had been content playing it safe and following the aspirations my parents set out for me — becoming a doctor,” she said. Coronel eventually went the engineering/tech route after discovering her love and high interest in computers. She is of a Peruvian background, as her parents immigrated from Peru in their 20s. Much of Coronel’s ambition stems’ from her parent’s lack of opportunities and from growing up as a first-generation Latina.

“My parents are in a word, fighters, and it is in large part because of them that I aspire to go even farther in my lifetime than they were able too,” she says. “Like many first-generation kids of immigrants, I was told from the beginning that education and hard work would be the key to success and I really took that to heart. I wanted to make my parents happy because of their support despite all the hurdles they had to overcome.”

In her current role, she is able to utilize her engineering expertise to help build and create an emerging company in its early stages.

“I’m the third engineer and tenth overall hire at Byteboard, so as with any early employee, I’m here to help build a culture and scale Byteboard into a company we as a team can be collectively proud of,” Coronel shares. “My specialty is in lead generation and growth, so I feel it’s a great fit when it comes to further honing my craft as a product-focused engineer.”

She is excited about the opportunity to work for a company that was essentially started by women of color, something that is new to Coronel and marks a milestone in her career path. Coronel is a member of “Latinos in Tech Giving Circle” which is affiliated with the Latino Community Foundation, an organization that brings together a network of philanthropists and programs to support and promote the Latino community. She has also held numerous leadership roles at the non-profit, “Techqueria”, and has volunteered for many non-profits that promote racial equity in tech and youth leadership. Advice for other Latinas out there pursuing a career in STEM?

“You don’t have to validate your existence in the spaces you go to by always feeling obligated to give back,” she shares. “Don’t forget that just by existing in this space and leading by example, you can inspire the next generation of Latinas to go into STEM. The trick is not just existing and surviving, but thriving.”

Maggie Arboleda
Diversity Talent Acquisition Program Manager
Adobe

“I began my career in finance and the transition to the tech industry took a few years, but as my mother used to say, “Si no puedes entrar por la puerta, entra por la ventana,” which translates to “if you can’t enter through the door, enter through the window,” shares Maggie Arboleda, Diversity Talent Acquisition Programs Manager at Adobe of her career beginnings.

For Arboleda, many instances drove her to pursue a career in the tech industry. One, in particular, was her participation in “Beyond Barriers,” a career and personal development program for women of color in midlevel leadership roles.

“We were a cohort of eight women from diverse backgrounds and had two amazing coaches in Monica Marquez and Nikki Barua who helped us research and think about our career trajectories,” she shares. “This is where I really took the reins and made the decision to apply for my master’s at Cornell University and learn about topics like future of work and the impact of digital transformation across industries.”

Arboleda began her career at Women’s World Banking, where she oversaw multi-million dollar partnerships with companies such as Bloomberg, Moody’s, and Barclays to launch innovative projects to bring access to financial services to underserved communities globally. Today she develops strategies and programs to bridge the opportunity gap for university students and entry-level talents. Prior to Adobe, she worked at Apple in a similar capacity. Her role at Apple helped open the door to her current position with Adobe.

“Landing this position has been a dream come true,” she shares. “A year before I joined Adobe, I wrote down a list of things I wanted in my “dream career.” The list included not only making a great income but joining a diverse and inclusive team with a strong purpose. In my current role, I develop strategies and programs to bridge the opportunity gap for underrepresented communities. This includes helping Adobe determine how to best invest time, money and resources into organizations that empower underrepresented communities to pursue degrees in STEM fields.”

Today she appreciates that Adobe invests in building a diverse and inclusive environment for its employees, customers, and the tech industry. As Adobe’s Diversity and Talent Acquisition Program Manager, her role is essential in addressing the systemic barriers that have long plagued underrepresented groups from entering the corporate field or career in tech.

“Every individual who interns or lands a full-time position at Adobe is literally changing the trajectory of their lives, working side by side with the tech industry’s biggest thinkers and innovators,” she shares. “For many, this will be the first step in building generational wealth for their families. I find great satisfaction and purpose in knowing that I played a part in setting someone up for future success.”

Arboleda serves as a committee board member for Women of the ALPFA Association of Latino Professionals for America, where she advances partnerships with global corporations to deliver impactful Diversity & Inclusion programming for women of color. She also serves as an advisory board member for The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, as well as the Queens District Attorneys’ office. In addition, she is a NextGen Leadership Fellow of Hispanics in Philanthropy. Arboleda is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Sociology and Urban Planning from Hunter College, City University of New York. She is Colombian – American and lives in Queens, New York, with her daughter Maia.

Sonia Sroka
Meta
Head of Global Multicultural Communications

“I’d always had a passion for technology, and I knew that Facebook (the
company name at the time) was growing rapidly,” shares Sonia Sroka, Head of Global Multicultural Communications, Meta. “It seemed exciting, and in researching the company, I got to know all the resources that they have for small business owners, creators and communities.”

As a fan of the company, Sroka knew she wanted to help it reach
multicultural communities with information that could make an impact on people’s lives – from their businesses to their personal lives, with efforts like financial literacy training and capital access.

Sroka is now responsible for the strategy and execution of campaigns to
educate and inspire multiethnic and multilingual people about Meta’s products and tools. She is an award-winning bilingual, bicultural communications leader and a recognized advocate of diversity and inclusion. She is also Meta’s official bilingual spokesperson delivering information in both language and culture. Her goal as a business leader is to elevate voices that are not often heard. Especially for immigrants, women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and the disabled community.

“I leverage my ability to connect to the Hispanic community from a cultural and language standpoint and share information about resources that can make an impact in this community,” she shares. “At Meta we take very seriously our role in ensuring the community has the information they need to thrive.”

Sroka has worked on several projects, one that she is particularly proud of is creating, with the help of a team, the Art of My Roots/ El Arte de mis RAíces, which celebrates the vast richness of multicultural communities by using augmented reality (AR) to bring museum collections to life and into the metaverse. The program is designed to help people experience, interact, and learn about the art, history and culture of multicultural communities in a hands-on way.

“And it goes without saying, all the programs that work to help underrepresented communities make me feel accomplished,” she shares. “Whether it’s working to mitigate COVID19, helping people exercise their right to vote, or helping women learn how to access capital to start a new business, I get to share all of these resources with communities that need them – that is why I wake up every morning excited to get to work!”

Last year, Sroka’s work spearheading Meta’s COVID-19 Hub was central to the largest worldwide campaign to promote authoritative information about COVID-19 vaccines, directing more than 2 billion people to information from health authorities, with more than 600 million people clicking through to learn more. She also supported major initiatives to showcase women, and minority-owned small businesses providing valuable information to these communities about Meta’s various tools available which provide resources and training for business owners.

‘This true commitment to improving people’s lives, combined with the freedom to be creative and come up with new ways to reach multicultural audiences is why I’ve been here for five years and counting!”

Sroka’s advice for aspiring Latinas in Tech is to work hard and smart. “As women, we often put our dreams on hold, or wait until the “right time” to go after what we want. I say, don’t wait until you think you’re ready – just start now. Put yourself out there, network with the people who have achieved the type of success you are looking to achieve, and don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves. Work smarter AND harder by seeking out the opportunities you desire and put your best foot forward to take a chance to make it happen for yourself. If you did all you could to achieve the goals you’re working towards, the less likely you are to live with what if’s and you will always carry the satisfaction of knowing you gave your dreams everything you had and went after what you wanted. I also think it’s a great time to get into the tech industry, particularly as it relates to the metaverse. Years ago, the internet brought a great democratization of access. All of a sudden, you could start a business without a big loan from a bank, and maybe even do it from your living room. It leveled the playing field for some groups. The metaverse is the next great leveler for our society. If you want to start a clothing boutique, you won’t need a physical retail store anymore. You can create a virtual showroom where people can pick out and try on clothes. And while a truly realized metaverse is years away, we’re already seeing some exciting trends that signal how women will dive in to create more immersive, more social, more engaging experiences from their living room. Our latest data shows just over half of Spark AR creators publishing effects for Facebook and Instagram are women. As we continue to build towards the metaverse, we’re excited to see women continue to get involved and play a role in bringing this space to life.”

Calline K. Sanchez Vice President,
IBM Global TSS Service Planning and Premium Support;
Arizona & New Mexico State Leader; Tucson & Phoenix Site Leader IBM

Calline Sanchez, Vice President, IBM Global TSS Global Service Planning and Premium Support, started with IBM as a software engineer intern in 1999. Joining IBM full-time in 2001 Sanchez has held four executive leadership positions since. In her role, she leads a worldwide team of IBM service planners, offering leaders, and premium support specialists. Sanchez initially drew inspiration from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, to pursue a career in technology.

“I watched the crash of the space shuttle, which made me sad for the lives lost and for failed science,” she shares. “I learned later the black box recorder from the shuttle was recovered and almost indecipherable. The technologists at IBM’s lab in Tucson, Arizona are the scientists who were able to pull the data off the tape. This fantastic action inspired my connection to IBM, and I got to meet most of these “rock stars.”

Sanchez’s father is a scientist and credits both her parents for her ambitious work ethic and passionate spirit. Some obstacles that she has endured along the way have included working as a young executive in the tech industry.

“As a young executive, I was asked to present to industry leaders who were taken aback by my gender and age,” she shares. “I ignored and persevered, eventually earning their respect.” Sanchez takes pride in her leadership and has been a supporter and mentor for many women at IBM for the last 20-plus years. Many of whom have become leaders and gone on to lead global teams, and global efforts in storage technology, product services, service planning, and support, and technology innovation”

As Vice President, Sanchez is also in charge of leading four different worldwide IBM teams of more than 1,500+ IBM team members and represents IBM as a Senior State Leader for Arizona and New Mexico. She is also connected to her Hispanic roots by representing and advocating for women pursuing STEM.

“I am a passionate technologist, and work to enable STEM/STEAM programs for young girls, women, and multi-cultural people,” she shares. “IBM provides us with the opportunity to reach out to our local community. I work to promote young girls and women in technology speaking at events promoted by local community organizations such as the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, Pima Community, and the University of Arizona.”

Sanchez also has a partnership with the University of Arizona’s chapter of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) organization, and has assisted them with a variety of community events. Some advice she offers for other Latinas out there, “As a woman leader, I urge you to lead by example,” she says. “Do not suffer from self-doubt or imposter syndrome, and always remember to tell yourself – “You ROCK…and deep down you know it!” Remember, We don’t know where the next best idea in tech could come from. It could come from you or me or from Arizona, New Mexico – anywhere. Anyone can contribute, it is truly inclusive. This is the root of why I adore working in technology.”

Soledad Antelada Toledano
Security Technical Program Manager
Google

“I was a science kid,” shares Soledad Antelada Toledano, Security Technical Program Manager, Google. “Computer Science always stood out to me, as it was a very interesting world that was yet to be discovered. It ultimately was the right choice for me. And then after several years working as a Software Developer, I switched gears and started working in cybersecurity for the same reasons.”

Toledano’s, curiosity and intuition sparked an interest in science and technology at an early age. Toledano spent a decade in cybersecurity operations analyzing ways to defend infrastructure from cyberattacks. She previously worked in the cybersecurity department at Berkeley Lab and was the first woman in the history of the company to work within the department. Currently, at Google Devices and Services she is a technical program manager and utilizes her past work experiences and expertise to design and lead security programs.

“My role is to ensure security is continuously integrated into our products to deliver our consumers with a trustworthy and transparent experience,” she shares.

Toledano also loves her job at Google as it provides the flexibility and freedom to be creative. “One of the best things about working at Google is that creativity and innovation are encouraged, so the possibilities of what’s possible and can be created seem endless, and my work on cybersecurity is the best part for me!”

Toledano credits her persistence and hard work for her accomplishments, and for also overcoming challenges in her career.

In 2014, Toledano founded, GirlsCanHack, an organization that promotes engagement for women in the cybersecurity field. In 2016, Toledano was named one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Technology in America, and has some advice for other Latinas out there. “Go for it,” she shares. “If ever in doubt, just remember the answer is yes, you belong here. We need you.”

Jessica Vasquez
Marketing Operations Manager
Netflix

­­Born and raised in Queens, NY to Colombian parents, Jessica Vasquez, Marketing Operations Manager, Netflix believes a culmination of moments, events, and individuals led her to a career path in STEM. She recalls her mentor, Karla Paz Mobray, VP of Talent Acquisition at Paramount, who encouraged and supported her to step out of her comfort zone into a space that wasn’t familiar to her and normally does not include people that look like her.

“As a first-generation immigrant, I witnessed my parents work tirelessly, for very little wages, and for companies that did not provide them with equitable benefits but not once did they detour from their goals,” she shares. “When you’re operating from a place of survival, you’re forced to do all that you can to provide. You’re equally grateful that you can provide, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Through my parents, I learned work ethic, humility, drive, and kindness. Each one of those values worked together to help them achieve their goals towards the American dream and ultimately gave me the opportunity to support my path.” From early on Vasquez, Marketing Operations Manager, Netflix acknowledged that she would consistently live between two worlds, and the intersectionality of her cultural upbringing would inform her everyday thinking and how she would move about the world, both personally and professionally.

Since 2005, Vasquez has worked for various entertainment companies such as Viacom, HBO, and now Netflix.

“At Netflix, we believe people should have access to new voices, cultures and perspectives. To know that my role plays a part in that…is priceless,” shares Vasquez. Over the last three years, she has had the pleasure of being the team workflow wizard for “13 Reasons Why” S3, “Monarca” S1, “Never Have I Ever” S1, “#blackAF S1, “Julie and the Phantoms” S1, “The Upshaws” S1, “The Baby-Sitters Club” S2, “Selena: The Series” S1, “Luis Miguel” S2, “Who Killed Sara? S1-S1, “On My Block” S1-S2, “Gentefied” S1-S2, “One Day at a Time” S3, “Maya and The Three” S1, and “Karma’s World” S1-S2, to name a few.

Throughout her trajectory, Jessica has managed video content production and distribution for high exposure titles, has identified and developed strategic business partnerships internally and externally, implemented solutions to efficiently streamline workflows, and explored new marketing segments and technologies.

Vasquez’ greatest accomplishment in this role and at Netflix has been finding her voice and confidence to come to work every day as her authentic self.

Over the past 15 years, she has mentored young women of color through her sorority’s pipeline, “Lambda Pi Upsilon”, exposing them to career & professional development opportunities. In addition, there are two organizations that she holds dear to her heart: The Latinista & The Circle of Change Leadership Conference. Her advice to the aspiring Latina in technology is to explore the different career opportunities within STEM.

“There is so much more than meets the eye,” she shares. “The role for you might not be the most obvious, keep digging and you’ll discover the one that’s right for you. Also, seek advocates and mentors. It’s been so important for me to have leaders in the industry preside over my growth and help me navigate my career – that kind of support is invaluable and really helps you propel your trajectory (in addition to offering tools you might not have early in your career). I’ve had to overcome many obstacles, and I still do,” she shares. “Some are natural challenges you find in professional development and those are to be expected. My Latina roots have been key in my career progression, and the diversity I bring to the table definitely comes from my heritage.”

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