Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month - Meet Stephanie Carlos and Hugo Arenas

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Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month on LIVEcommunityCelebrating Latinx Heritage Month on LIVEcommunity

Our celebration around Latinx Heritage Month continues! We hope you’re enjoying this series so far, and learning more about this month and what it means to some of these amazing Latinx individuals. Last week you learned more about Patty Hatter, SVP of Global Customer Services and Executive Sponsor for Juntos, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network Group. She shared her views and ideas around inclusion and diversity in the workplace with us. 

 

Now we’re excited to highlight two more incredible Latinx employees at Palo Alto Networks. Both Stephanie Carlos and Hugo Arenas are a part of Juntos, and they both share their story and what this month means to them in this week’s blog.

 

Stephanie Carlos — Risk Management Operations Manager and President of ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network GroupStephanie Carlos — Risk Management Operations Manager and President of ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network GroupMeet Stephanie Carlos — Risk Management Operations Manager and President of ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network Group

 

1. Q: What does this month mean to you?

A: This month is important to me because it is a time to celebrate our culture. It’s fun to remember where we come from and how far we’ve come and I see this month as a way to embrace that and remind others of this. It brings all the different Latino/Hispanic cultures together while highlighting our different individual cultures.

 

 

 

 

2. Q: How has your Latinx heritage influenced your career journey thus far?

A: I believe Latinx individuals are very hardworking. My parents immigrated to the U.S. and at one point my dad worked three jobs. My mom tells me stories of her father and how hard he worked and how well respected he was in their town. I feel that I have similar drives and that is how I am able to manage working full time while pursuing a Master’s degree and working on ¡Juntos! events. If I didn’t have that kind of drive in my blood, I might not be able to handle all these things. 

 

I also think that being Latina automatically makes me an underdog and I feel this need to prove myself even more. I want to show people that a Latina can be successful and be respected. I have been discriminated against for being Latina in the past, and it’s made me work harder to prove those people wrong. When I do, I feel even more personal satisfaction that I did not listen to the naysayers and instead rose above it. I know that throughout my career I will continue to be an underdog due to the mere fact that I am a Latina, and that is fine with me. I will keep working hard and proving that we shouldn’t be seen as underdogs but rather as equals to everyone else.

 

3. Q: What organizations are you a part of? What led you to participate?

A: Other than ¡Juntos! I am part of the Latinas in Tech organization and Techqueria. Both are communities of Latinos in technology industries and have members all over the world. I joined all of these organizations to be a part of something bigger than me. Latinas in Tech is what the name says a community of Latina women in the male-dominated tech world. They have held lots of virtual panels this year to help elevate and support each other. Techqueria is a great community of global Latinos in tech companies all over the world. It reminds me that I am just one of thousands of people who can help move the needle of diversity.

 

I became more involved in ¡Juntos! because I wanted to be part of the impact in the community. The work we’re doing in ¡Juntos! is all about the community whether that is the Latinx population at Palo Alto Networks or the broader Latinx community. It’s about giving back and helping each other. I have never been one for the spotlight, but having a way to help others is very important to me. When I talk about ¡Juntos! and the work we are doing, I remember that it is not about me, but more about the message and the end goal we are trying to achieve. We want to elevate our gente and create leaders. We want to increase our impact. We have different initiatives we’re working on and I have goals for ¡Juntos! for this fiscal year. I’m grateful the rest of the leadership team trusts me to lead ¡Juntos! forward to accomplish these things.

 

4. Q: What is a Latinx tradition that you have/wish to pass down, that you family has passed down to you?

A: Language! I feel lucky to have learned Spanish as my first language and I am grateful for it. Being bilingual is an important skill to have these days and I am lucky enough to have been exposed to that since I was a baby. As much as I say that my grammar in Spanish isn’t great, I am thankful for being able to communicate in two languages. I can pivot from speaking to an uncle/aunt in Spanish to a cousin in English. It’s great. I try to speak Spanish to the next generation of our family so we don’t lose the language.

 

 

5. Q: What's a message you'd like to share about your Latinx background with others? 

A: I am very grateful to have been raised in a Latinx household because it has made me the person I am today. I value my family above all and I have respect for people in every level of the company. Being a first-generation Latina, I saw my parents and family members rise up in America and I have never taken that for granted. I value their hard work and use that same drive in my daily life. I push forward to keep adding to the collective value others started because the journey forward doesn’t end with me; I’m just one of the current members trying to elevate our gente.

 

Hugo Arenas — Sr. Treasury Analyst and Lead for ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network GroupHugo Arenas — Sr. Treasury Analyst and Lead for ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network GroupMeet Hugo Arenas — Sr. Treasury Analyst and Lead for ¡Juntos!, the Palo Alto Networks Latinx Employee Network Group

 

1. Q: What does this month mean to you?

A: A celebration and culmination of black (afro-latinx) and brown lives!

 

2. Q: How has your Latinx heritage influenced your career journey thus far?

A: My Mexican and Latinx heritage has encouraged me to take risks and be proud of my work.

 

3. Q: What organizations are you a part of? What led you to participate?

A: I'm part of the Cristo Rey Work Study Program. The high school students from Cristo Rey attend work and the company pays them for that work. They can use the funds for college. It's extremely important for me to participate because I didn't have an internship growing up. I did not have funding; I had to work a part-time or full-time job to pay for college. Giving back and helping people are my superpowers. I also spend time volunteering in food banks and mentoring.

 

Hugos Arenas and his family!Hugos Arenas and his family!4. Q: What is a Latinx tradition that you have/wish to pass down, that you family has passed down to you?

A: Our fellowship and food. We spent a lot of time together while I was growing up. From picnics to large family gatherings and dinners, food brought us together. When my grandma would cook in Mexico, she would make a huge pot of rice. This was special rice; less than five ingredients but it tasted a like five-course meal. I would sneak into the kitchen while the rice was cooling and taste it while it was still hot. I will never forget that feeling of being together and I hope to pass it down if I ever have children.

 

 

5. Q: What's a message you'd like to share about your Latinx background with others? 

A: Where you were born, what degree you received or where you attended college doesn't make your career. Perseverance, hard work, and humility are very important in achieving your dreams!

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Thank you Stephanie and Hugo for sharing your stories with the LIVEcommunity! We hope you enjoyed learning more about Stephanie and Hugo. We are so happy to be recognizing and celebrating their Latinx heritage! 

 

We have a few more stories to share with you during this month, so stayed tuned! Make sure to like, share and connect with other community members. What stood out to you about this special piece? Let us know in the comment section down below! 

 

Let’s celebrate the Latinx Heritage Month together! 

 

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this blog. 

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As always, we welcome all comments and feedback in the comments section below.

 

Alejandra

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Thank you Hugo and Stephanie for sharing!!

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