Please explain what you do for a living.
I work for the Global Business Program, Duquesne University Small Business Development Center. I am an international business consultant assisting manufacturers to find new markets overseas. I am currently involved in a project funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce to support U.S. manufacturing companies to increase their business in Latin America. The focus industries are infrastructure, energy, mining, oil and gas, construction equipment and transportation equipment. I meet with the U.S. companies nationwide, translate their business materials into Spanish, organize trips to Latin America to do B2B individual business appointments or buy large spaces at Latin American industry fairs and then I subsidize individual spaces for the U.S. companies. I also run a program for Immigrant Entrepreneurs where I provide business consulting in Spanish talking about how to open a business. I have been meeting Latinos for over 5 years now with much success.
How important in your identity is being Latino?
Very important, because it gives me a broader perspective when looking at projects or problems. Due to my Latino background, there is always a different way to come up with solutions and achieving goals. Also, it gives me the ability to be a bridge between the English speaker with the Spanish speaker as well as the American business style with the Latin American business style. Definitely, it is a plus.
Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?
It gives me the chance to contribute on different points of view, to value long term relationships, to educate businesses about other markets, opportunities, and possibilities that otherwise they never thought of. Being a Latino gives me the skill to deal with different people from different backgrounds. Being Latino allows me to do many things at once, keep the opportunities open and contribute to the Pittsburgh region as much as I can.
Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)?
There is always the question of where I come from, or people looking at me when they sing the National Anthem and wanting to see if I sing along with them or at least try. One advantage I see of being different even with my English speaking abilities is that because I speak with an accent, people tend to really focus on what I am saying so they can get the message. This is a plus. Another experience of being Latino is that people in general want to hear what you have to say about your life, work, family time, etc. at different levels, like business, schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, honors college, sport teams, etc. In a way, you become an ambassador of your Latino roots and your country. On the other hand, you are always in the spotlight and people expect more from you. Having a community to rely on helps.