Celebrating Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month with Familia!

By Carrie Young October 1, 2020

Hola from Zuora’s Latinx Employee Resource Group aka “Zuora Familia!”

It’s Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of people whose ancestry can be traced back to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, that takes place every year from September 15 to October 15. This year in particular, the Latino and African American community have been increasingly affected by the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as an increase in the number of hate crimes. Allyship is needed more than ever.

So, let’s meet a few members of our Familia ERG as we take the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Latinx, how we identify with that community, and the value and impact of being part of these groups. Oh and of course we get into the many unique aspects of Latinx culture from food and music to the many other joys like artistic expression.

 

Azucena Araujo 

R&D: Engineering Team, QA Engineer

 

Ethnic background? Mexican. I was born in Mexico City but my parents are from Guerrero.

Favorite authentic food? Oaxacan Mole and Horchata.

How does your culture influence your work? It’s been a transformation as I struggled with imposter syndrome at first since I didn’t see any other Latinas in my org. As I met others in tech, I realized the responsibility I had to my fellow Latinos and Latinas. It’s my duty to represent my community to the best of my ability, and my responsibility to bring awareness and educate others about our culture. That’s why I decided to create our ERG, Zuora Familia.

Do you feel a responsibility to represent your culture in the workplace? Yes, my family and I immigrated to this country 20 years ago with one goal in mind and that was to have a better life. My parents always emphasized the importance of achieving an education and to never forget where you come from. With only 1% of the workforce being Latinas, 3% Latinx, I feel I have a responsibility to help fellow Latinx and the younger generation in any way I can.

With everything going on in the world, what’s top of mind for you? There is SO much but thought of young students trying to go to school while their parents work blue collar jobs to make ends meet, especially here in California, really weighs on me. A large percentage of Latinos are out working in the fields despite the wildfires and poor air quality. We already have a low graduation rate for Latinos and who knows what the long term effects will be. Consider joining our efforts by volunteering or donating to these organizations who are all doing great work in these areas:

 

Maria Centeno

Finance Team, Director of Procurement

 

Ethnic background? Venezuelan 100%, born and raised in Venezuela. Left my country to pursue my MBA in the USA when I was 26. Interesting fact: we don’t have race distinctions in my home country, we don’t need to disclose our “race” on any document or form. That concept does not exist.

Favorite authentic food? Arepas, it is a corn dough bread.

How does your culture influence your work? Latin Americans, and especially people from the Caribbean countries are very positive and optimistic, open, loving and always with a smile. I try to bring that to work, I love to build strong relationships based on openness and sincere care for people that surround me. In my work I am representing Zuora everyday, in supplier negotiations, my team is  looking to find the best value and most innovative products four our ZEOs; it is imperative to build strong relationships to bring these initiatives to fruition.

With everything going on in the world, what’s top of mind for you? My family’s well being and safety. Making sure that I build a home where concepts of social justice, civil rights and equality are openly, and appropriately, discussed often to build a strong moral base for my children.

 

Francisco Beltran

Finance Team, Orders Manager, Deal Desk

 

Ethnic background? Mexican!

Favorite authentic food? My favorite authentic food is mole (moh-lay) poblano. I’m biased and think my mom’s mole is the best around with around 20 ingredients! In a close second, the mole from a restaurant called Pujol in Mexico City is also really good! The other food I could eat every day is Tacos Al Pastor.

What about your culture brings you joy? The people, food and music. The culture is so vibrant with all the different types of music and food that everyone can appreciate. Latin America is one of the most hospitable places with something for everyone. 

With everything going on in the world, what’s top of mind for you right now? The most important thing is to stay positive and know that the pandemic will eventually go away. Also, finding that balance between making sure our voice and culture doesn’t only rise during trying times but during the positive “normal” times too.

 

Christina McCarthy

ZEO Success: Leadership & Development Specialist

 

Ethnic background? Mexican American.

Favorite authentic food? Chile rellenos.

Why are you proud of the culture you bring to work every day? It’s who I am! I’m reminded that my parents worked very hard to provide for my brothers and I. They had a very strong work ethic and that propelled my brothers and I to be the best we could be. In bringing my most authentic, best self to Zuora every day, I can welcome our newest ZEOs wholeheartedly.

What are the favorite traditions you like to celebrate? I absolutely LOVE making tamales every year with my family, it’s been a tradition since before I was born. I get together with my family and friends and spend the whole day cooking and reminiscing of years past making tamales. Thinking of my mom (who has since past) making tamales every holiday season. I look forward to eating them but more importantly spending good quality time with my family and sharing what we’ve made with others who we love.

 

Monique aka “Mo” Romero

Customer Success Team, Customer Success Manager

 

Ethnic background: Mexican American

Favorite authentic food: Parent’s homemade Menudo

What about your culture brings you joy? Mexican Folklorico Dancers. I used to dance from the time I was 6 until I was 18 and travelled and performed all over the state and to Mexico for the Governor of Mexico. Now every time, I hear the music, it makes me want to dance and brings back so many fun memories.

How does your culture influence your work? My parents’ attitude on education and work. We must work hard no matter what job we do, whether it’s a student, teacher, janitor, driver, maid, cook, engineer, Doctor, you put in your all, don’t give up and be kind to everyone in the process.

Why are you proud of the culture you bring to work every day? It helps bring diversity into our workplace and it helps us connect and learn about other cultures. It makes work pretty fun and enjoyable to see so many amazing and beautiful cultures come together to build relationships.

 

Alexis Luna

ZEO Success Team, Sr. Manager, ZEO Communications

 

Ethnic background? I identify as a Mexican American.

Favorite authentic food? Hands down, my mom’s Mole is my favorite authentic Mexican cuisine. Every bite is like a hug from her.

What about your culture brings you joy? The people. We are a culture of givers and caretakers, and it has made me who I am today. Specifically, Mexican women are some of the most resilient and selfless people I know. My mother and her sisters have raised a combined 25+ children, while also working, cooking, and encouraging us to explore the world.

Favorite traditions do you like to celebrate? Every year in Mexico, the little town where my grandfather is from holds an 11-day festival to commemorate a different saint each day. It’s tradition in my family that we all take time from our busy lives to get together once a year and celebrate the festival. 11 days of amazing foods, drinks, and watching our culture come to life – what more could you want?

Why are you proud of the culture you bring to work every day? I’m proud of being able to be a part of something bigger than myself. I’m a minority and if representing my culture at work means allowing others who look like me to see the path I made for myself and where it has brought me, then I think I’m doing something right.

 

Esteban Zapata

Financial Planning & Analysis Team, Finance Manager

 

Ethnic background? Colombian

Favorite authentic food? A dish called “Bandeja Paisa.” It’s a celebration of my country’s typical foods; composed of beans, rice, arepa, chicharron, avocado, fried plantains, an egg, and ground meat.

What about your culture brings you joy? The people. Regardless of the circumstances, hispanic people are always kind, cheerful and welcoming.   

Favorite traditions do you like to celebrate? Xmas time in Colombia. We cook, drink, eat, dance, and have a great time with family and friends.  

With everything going on in the world, what’s top of mind for you right now? Project positive energy and to remain optimistic about the future.