I am a Venezuelan American Engineer living and working in Silicon Valley. I am extremely fortunate to be able to attend networking events at some of the leading tech companies in the world. From Google to Uber.
In the summer of 2017 I had the chance to attend an event organized by a well-known company based in Silicon Valley. Close to 500 fellow professionals got to attend a keynote by their CIO and a panel with 2 Engineers and a human resources manager. It was an opportunity for us to learn more about the journey into tech…or so I thought.
It started really well. The CIO delivered a high-energy keynote and got us pumped. He shared his story of how his grandparents migrated from Mexico to the US and how he had had to work everyday in his life since he was 12, how he was the only Hispanic in most of his classes at University and how after getting to be CEO of a Fortune 100 company he still struggled to explain to his Mom what he did everyday at work. He made us laugh, cry and reflect. 5 starts.
Then the panel came. I thought that the 3 folks on it were going to be able to share their stories and inspire us. The first red flag was seeing the moderator reviewing their notes on stage. The questions to the attendees were very loaded and covered things like “Why do you love working at this company?” and “Why do you thing this is one of the best companies for LatinX in technology?.
The panelists did their best to answer the questions, but in the end they mentioned very superficial reasons such as the free food provided by the company and the bus service that takes employees from San Francisco to its campus. Everything felt very plastic, “organized” and “formal.” It lacked spark.
After the event, I approached one of the panel members to greet him. It was a 180 change. While being off stage without dozens of eyes seeing him, this engineer relaxed and told me the story of his life. How he came to the US to get a MS degree, his struggles funding his studies and how he got his first job in Silicon Valley as a programmer. He gave me advice and specific tips on how to talk to recruiters and how to network effectively within a company. The conversation was so interesting that we were the last to leave the event. To this day we are friends.
I kept thinking: What would happen if I give each person on the panel 1 hour with the microphone? Could I replicate this relaxed, conversational tone? What could I learn from them? And that was the beginning of my podcasting journey. To this day, 100,000 people have listened to my content. Either from Latinos Who Tech or my Spanish-Language podcast Conexiones.
I hope you enjoy this content!
P.S. : Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website form. I read every message
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