Noelia Martínez and Marcos Llanas are members of 6sense’s Familia Employee Resource Group (ERG), created as “a shared safe space to meet and connect with other team members that may or may not be in the Latinx community.” Noelia’s role at 6sense is a manager overseeing financial planning and analysis; Marcos is a solutions consultant.
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15. While the month celebrates Hispanic community and culture, Noelia and Marcos say it also serves as a reminder of the contributions the Hispanic population has made to the United States — as well as the ever-present stereotypes and prejudices in America today.
We asked them about celebrating Hispanic culture and becoming better allies.
6sense: How would you describe Hispanic Heritage Month?
Noelia: This month serves as an opportunity to highlight the integral contributions of the Hispanic community to U.S. culture, the economy, and the military. It also shines a light on how rich and diverse the community is, and how many cultures are within it.
What is your favorite part of Hispanic Heritage Month?
Marcos: Definitely the food! My family makes a type of buñuelos using tortillas covered in cinnamon and sugar and deep fried so they puff up. They’re my grandma’s favorite, so we make them and leave some as an offering to her. But it’s not just about our own family recipes; every country and region has its own local food, so we try dishes from all over.
Tell us about the Familia ERG.
Noelia: The goal of Familia ERG is to increase the number of Latinx people at 6sense and representation of leadership. We’re welcoming of everyone, regardless of your background — you don’t have to be Latina or Latino to join. We get to know one another while also learning about the customs and legacy of the Hispanic community. And more specifically, we highlight the achievements of Hispanic individuals at 6sense.
Marcos: Our dedicated focus throughout the year is to bring broader awareness about our culture to the company. We talk about what we’re going through and how we can best work together, then spread the word to make sure the whole organization knows what we’re doing. To bring attention to Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve designed Familia ERG T-shirts.
Right now we’re also planning to host either a dancing or cooking class, along with potential panel conversations that employees can attend or watch virtually. Looking ahead, we’re interested in how 6sense can provide opportunities in tech for younger Latino and Latina individuals and develop a mentorship program.
Are you comfortable bringing your authentic selves to 6sense?
Noelia: I can definitely be myself at 6sense. The company fosters an inclusive environment where I am comfortable talking about my heritage and where I’m from. Even within my team, we talk often and share our stories.
Marcos: I try to bring my authentic self to work all the time, because it encourages others to do the same. We’re all human and complex; we can’t always be cheery and positive. We go through ranges of emotions from one day to the next. So I show that, specifically with my team, to give others the space to do the same.
What do you want people to know about your culture?
Noelia: There are many different cultures within the Hispanic community. All Hispanic people have their own background and traditions that add richness to the overall culture. We celebrate that every day, not just this month. I am proud to be a Puerto Rican, I speak Spanish at home with my husband, and always keep our traditions alive. We love cooking our traditional foods, and support Hispanic-owned businesses whenever we can.
Marcos: My dad and grandma immigrated from Mexico. My grandma came from almost nothing — her family were poor farmers — and they came to America thinking it was a place of opportunity and where you can make your own luck. I am the first generation of my family to attend and finish college, and now I work at a technology company. It’s a huge change in circumstances in a relatively short period of time. This story feels unique to me, but it’s actually a representation of what happens all the time, and others may not understand that.
What’s your advice for those looking to be a valuable ally?
Noelia: It starts by recognizing that we’re all different — even within the Hispanic community. It’s important to recognize and respect our diversity and uniqueness.
Marcos: I totally agree. Latinx countries and communities often get lumped together, but it’s really cool to understand and acknowledge all the uniqueness in traditions and customs. I would also tell people to just ask their Hispanic friends and coworkers how they can help and be the best ally for them. Hispanic culture is all about color and culture and joy, so let loose and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. It should be a party for everyone!