NortonLifeLock Re-launches HOLA (Hispanic/Latino Outreach, Leadership & Advancement)

This National Hispanic Heritage Month let’s listen, learn, connect, educate, and celebrate
Sep 24, 2020 3:45 PM ET

By Marie Miller-Rodriquez | Sr. Marketing Operations Manager with ID8, NortonLifeLock’s internal creative agency

I love computers, technology, and the Internet and am proud to be a part of a company whose purpose to create a safer digital world is critical both now and to our future. Even more importantly, I was drawn to NortonLifeLock’s employee-first culture, the forward-thinking mindset that encourages employees to connect with and appreciate one another’s diverse contributions.

Inclusivity and diversity are supremely important and establishing a culture of diversity is one half of the equation. Inclusion is the other half. We must walk the talk. In doing this, NortonLifeLock recently re-launched several employee diversity communities, including HOLA (Hispanic Outreach, Leadership & Advancement). This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of working for a company that offers a platform for such groups to come together, to learn, support, mentor, and celebrate with one another. I jumped at the chance to get involved and signed on as the HOLA Champion.

Listen, Learn and Connect

Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was hard pressed to find Hispanic culture or influence. My grandparents, both Mexican, passed away when I was in elementary school, but I remember listening to their music, looking at old photos, and hearing stories about family in Guanajuato. As I grew older, I wanted to feel more of a connection to my Mexican culture and moved to Arizona.

Helping to re-launch HOLA has been another great way to learn and more deeply appreciate the Hispanic community in ways I’ve never experienced in my professional work. In addition to my own learning, we hope HOLA allies will benefit from listening to the stories and perspectives of their friends and colleagues. Understanding ourselves and understanding others is a wonderful way to promote empathy.

The HOLA community also offers a support system of peers and allies. I am a part of Los Diablos, the Arizona State University Hispanic Alumni group, and have experienced firsthand the embrace of that community through events and mentorship opportunities. It has been my pleasure to support, lead, and inspire a new generation of Hispanic scholars and I plan to bring this same passion to HOLA as we look at ways to foster connection for employees.

Educate and Celebrate

HOLA Coordinator Greg Venegas-Estrad and our members re-launched HOLA during National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) because it is a time to raise awareness and celebrate Hispanic communities. National Hispanic Heritage Month calls into light the histories, cultures, achievements, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestry is rooted in Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

While the number of Hispanic and Latinx people working in tech in the U.S. continues to grow, it is not nearly reflective of the overall American Hispanic community. Since 2019, the Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown to over 60 million1 people - more than 18 percent of the total population. At the same time, Hispanic people hold only an estimated 6.8 percent of computer and math jobs2 (with Hispanic women making up just 2 percent of the computing workforce3). Hispanic people are missing out on economic opportunities from these fast-growing and high-paying tech jobs and the tech industry is missing out the strength that comes from a diverse workforce.

We know diverse teams are on average more creative, innovative, and ultimately more profitable,4 and part of HOLA’s mission is to educate people about the numerous ways we can create a more inclusive company and tech sector. Making real change is going to require numerous efforts - making STEM education accessible for diverse youth, removing roadblocks for candidates of color, creating a sense of belonging and a community of supportive peers, and more.

For now, HOLA’s primary goals are to raise awareness of our group, gain new members, and plan socially responsible events where we can meet and share stories. In a few short weeks we’ve tripled our membership and plan to share Hispanic and Latin recipes, read books by Hispanic authors, share memories of our loved ones, and bring our members’ ideas to life.

Make a Commitment and Get Involved

Every day I learn more and more from my 10-year-old; she reminds me to both stay humble and question everything. She is a beautiful blend of my Mexican and my husband’s Puerto Rican heritage and I’d like her to have a better understanding and appreciation of her culture.

Leaving my daughter, nieces, and nephews a better, safer, world guides everything I do. I am committed to be involved in this work and to remaining empathetic, and I hope you’ll consider joining us. HOLA is open to all employees who identify as Hispanic or Latinx or those who are looking for ways to show support to the Hispanic community as an ally.

NortonLifeLock employees can reach out to me to get involved and join the conversation of cultural appreciation through the #nlok-life or #global-hola Slack channels. All readers can visit NortonLifeLock’s website to learn more about the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

1 American Community Survey, US Census Bureau 2019
2 Brookings Research 2018
By The Numbers, National Center for Women & IT 2020
4Delivering Through Diversity, McKinsey 2018