Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and we’re excited to embrace and celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures that make up our vibrant team. This month, we’re bringing you closer to the hearts and stories of our talented staff members, who will share a glimpse into their culture through a Q&A session.
Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15th to October 15th, is a time to recognize and honor the contributions, history, and cultures of Hispanic and Latino Americans. It begins on September 15th, the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and even Brazil also celebrate their independence days during this period.
This month is not just about celebrating the past; it’s about acknowledging the present and building a brighter future. It’s an opportunity to highlight the achievements of Hispanic and Latino individuals, pay tribute to their roots, and promote cultural understanding and inclusivity.
getting to know our team
Diversity is in our DNA, and our team reflects that beautifully. Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ll be sharing interviews with our staff members who hail from various Hispanic and Latino backgrounds. These Q&A sessions will give you personal insights into their cultures, experiences, and what their heritage means to them.
What is your favorite unique word from your culture’s language? There is a sort of poetic wordsmithing in my culture when it comes to describing something. It doesn’t even make sense to someone that doesn’t know the culture, but it’s so fun. Impossible to pick a favorite. You will find a combination of words with Spanish, Indigenous languages like Nahuatl, or even English influence. Some of my favorites are coyotito (quick nap), órale! (wow, go ahead, yeah!), que padre (awesome!), a huevo (yeah!, depends on context), compa (chum, buddy), no manches! (no way!).
What dish reminds you most of home and why? My mother is an amazing cook. She makes the best comfort dishes and will prepare traditional meals when she misses her mom and grandmother. She’s from Chiapas, so she makes some very unique dishes from that region. My favorite are these little corn masa balls mixed with dried shrimp and chipilín herb in a soup. These meals are a reminder of where my family comes from, and how deliberate each step of the cooking process is for feeding a large family. It’s a nutritious, economical, and deeply satisfying meal that holds immense sentimental value for me.
Share one song that never fails to make you want to dance. That song by Los Angeles Azules – Cómo Te Voy A Olvidar reminds me of late night fiestas that my parents would go to during my childhood. I’d be dancing and twirling all night, and falling asleep on two metal folding chairs by 12am. I’ll still dance to this.
What do you believe sets Mexican culture apart and what makes it special? Mexican culture stands out for its strong sense of family, community, and rich culinary traditions. We’re dedicated to supporting our families through hard work and unity. My family is my close-knit support system; they offer encouragement and ensure I have what I need, even making sacrifices to do so. They’ve consistently put my comfort before their own, and for that, I am eternally grateful!
Could you share the name of a prominent Hispanic/Latino public figure you admire – and why? I draw inspiration from those close to me and their journeys towards a better life. My parents are two people that I admire deeply. They made many sacrifices and took risks to come to the U.S., but their work ethic has been a constant source of inspiration for me. It fuels my drive to work hard, to challenge myself, and to create opportunities that lead to success for myself and others. Their hard work paved a path for me, and I’m determined to honor it.
What is your favorite unique word from your culture’s language? “Ganas” – meaning the will/desire or feeling like doing something, depending on the context. “Ponerle/echarle ganas” – a common expression in Mexican culture to put in extra effort into what you do.
What dish reminds you most of home and why? “Romeritos” – it reminds me of Christmas time and family reunions. The flavor is unique when homemade since it’s made with mole, rosemary, shrimp, and potatoes. It’s hard to find in the US.
Share one song that never fails to make you want to dance. Normally, it’s 80s-90s rock songs in English – but in Spanish from Mexico (and Mexico City in particular since I was born there), the two that come to mind are Caifanes – No Dejes Qué… or from Alex Lora & El Tri – Triste Canción
What do you believe sets Mexican culture apart and what makes it special? I think it is a combination of our indigenous heritage from different regions, our history before and after the conquest, the food, of course, and the people’s hospitality. All these aspects are unique to Mexico; it is so rich in culture, customs, and knowledge from previous generations. Not to mention the fabulous landscapes, tourist destinations, and different climates and ecosystems.
Could you share the name of a prominent Hispanic/Latino public figure you admire – and why? There are several important figures who became famous for their contributions. One of them, whom I admire, is Guillermo González Camarena, the inventor of the color-wheel type of television. We can say that he hasn’t received all the credit he deserves, and I, being an Electrical Engineer myself, find him very important for his contribution to broadcasting technology.
What is your favorite unique word from your culture’s language? Not so much a word, but a phrase: “Arroz con Mango.” Which means for us Cubans, “what a mess,” but literally, it translates to “rice and mangoes.” Leave it to us Cubans to completely take it out of context.
What dish reminds you most of home and why? Not so much a dish, but it’s Croquetas. My grandmother would make these all the time, and as of today, there is only one place here in Miami that even gets close. I was raised on croquetas, and every time I bite into one, it always takes me back to my childhood.
Share one song that never fails to make you want to dance. Salsa music will always get me out on the dance floor. I am a little old school, so anything from the greats like Hansel & Raul, Gilberto Santa Rosa, the beautiful Celia Cruz, and even old-school Marc Anthony.
What do you believe sets Cuban culture apart and what makes it special? It’s the Caribbean, I mean, what else can you say? From food and music to culture, but most of all, family. We all work hard and take care of each other.
Could you share the name of a prominent Hispanic/Latino public figure you admire – and why? I’m not much of a public figure admirer, because I truly admire my grandparents that took the risk they did to give our family a fighting chance to succeed. They left it all behind, with just the clothes on their backs. They worked hard and helped shape me to be the person I am today. The Cuban roots run deep, and it is because of all their sacrifices.