Saying HOLA to Hispanic Heritage Month

Written By: Kathleen Mitford
  • 9/23/2020
  • Read Time : 5 min
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¡Bienvenido al mes de la Herencia Hispana! (Welcome to Hispanic Heritage Month!) Since September 15th, we have been recognizing and celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans who trace their roots back to Mexico, Spain, Central America, South America, and parts of the Caribbean.

At PTC, we have a strategic focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is our goal, as a company, to foster cultural awareness and an inclusive work environment that recognizes and celebrates unique perspectives. As part of this focus, we strive to create opportunities for PTC employees and senior leaders to engage in thoughtful discussions about these topics. 

Our Executive Leadership Team proudly sponsors more than 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). This month, I am excited to share more about HOLA, our Latinx ERG that encourages and promotes professional growth for our Latinx and Hispanic employees. During Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to understand its history and cultural significance as we continue to foster an inclusive and diverse workplace

I recently sat down with two leaders of our HOLA ERG, Roque Martin, Senior Vice President & General Manager of PTC’s Systems & Software Engineering Business Unit, and Carla Deras Ventura, Presales Technical Specialist. Through our conversation, I learned more about our Latinx employees, the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, and how we can provide insight and opportunities to promote Latinx and Hispanic employees in tech around the world.

Let’s take a look at our Q&A session:

Kathleen Mitford: Can you describe the importance and cultural significance of Hispanic Heritage month?

Roque Martin & Carla Deras Ventura:
Hispanic Heritage Month provides the opportunity to raise awareness about the Hispanic and Latinx influence in the United States. It provides insight into the Hispanic and Latinx culture and traditions, which helps to break down barriers, overcome stereotypes, and get a broader understanding of the cultural history. Latinxs and Hispanics help to advance communities across the country as small business owners, teachers, military, veterans, and many other professions. So, this month is an opportunity to recognize Hispanic/Latinx achievements and contributions to America’s history.

Another important fact about the Hispanic/Latinx community is that this is not a race, but an ethnicity. Which makes Hispanic/Latinx incredibly diverse within their own groups. There are Afro-Latinos, as well as Native American and Caucasian descendants from Spanish and other European countries, and, due to colonization, of course we are an incredibly mixed ethnicity, too.

Hispanic Heritage Months begins on September 15th because it is Independence Day for five Central American countries, and September 16th is Mexico’s Independence Day. Other Latin American countries celebrate Independence Day within the month as well. 

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Members of PTC's HOLA ERG at 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month social.

What is the mission of the HOLA employee resource group (ERG) at PTC? How does HOLA foster cultural awareness and an inclusive workplace environment?”

The mission of the HOLA ERG is to mobilize PTC’s Latinx and Hispanic employees to embrace and promote professional growth, raise diversity awareness within PTC, and augment its business impact and contribution. HOLA works tirelessly to leverage every opportunity to educate and engage the PTC community about the Latinx culture through different events throughout the year. Some of these events include internal PTC socials (now virtual), culturally driven conversations through Cafecito Hours, Professional Networking events, and many more.

Within the HOLA ERG, we also work closely with executive leaders and PTC’s talent acquisition team to create different career advancement plans and programs, including development workshops, goal setting seminars, and mentorship opportunities .We leverage external Latinx professional groups to help us create opportunities both internally and externally that will provide career opportunities to diverse candidates.

As leaders in the industry, what can PTC do to raise diversity awareness and promote professional growth for Latinx employees?

We believe leading by example goes a long way. PTC has already taken big and important steps to create a more inclusive work environment and our leaders have started to promote the importance of a diverse workplace.

But, we first need to accept the reality of the data and information we currently have, educate and guide those who do not understand the business benefits of a diverse work environment, and set clear and realistic goals that will establish PTC as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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PTC HOLA member Chis Vasquez networks with individuals at a 2019 PTC HOLA Sponsored mentoring event.


It’s important to have a call to action for employees, customers, and partners in embracing a diverse and inclusive work environment. We need to clearly articulate and show the benefits of hiring and empowering underrepresented minorities in the tech industry.

In terms of professional growth, we think allyship and sponsorship is key for the Latinx community, along with data, information, and accountability to make sure Latinx professionals have a clear career path at a company like PTC.
 
Beyond the workplace, what can employees do with family and friends to celebrate cultural diversity and unique perspective?

We believe storytelling with family and friends is a great way to start learning and understanding that every single individual is different and unique, no matter the race or ethnicity. Also, employees can take opportunities in their communities to learn more about different groups and cultures by attending events such as festivals and virtual conferences (many free) that can help employees learn about inclusion, diversity and the personal, professional, and business benefits while embracing a diverse world. It is also fun to try and learn new things and get new experiences.

Closing Thoughts

As a community, we need to continue to emphasize the importance and value of inclusion and diversity in our society. It is our job to ensure we continue to practice and uphold our initiatives around inclusion and diversity in the workplace. From promoting professional growth through ERG’s, or celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, it is up to us to work together within our workplaces, industries, and broader business communities to cultivate meaningful change for our society.

Through my involvement with the HOLA ERG at PTC, I have learned so much about the unique challenges faced by our Hispanic and Latinx employees, which I believe has allowed me to become a better colleague, leader, and mentor. I have taken the lessons learned and not only applied them in the work environment, but also with my community interactions and in teaching my children. During Hispanic Heritage Month, I encourage everyone to take time to learn about Hispanic and Latinx cultures and engage in learning events.

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About the Author

Kathleen Mitford

Kathleen Mitford is Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Strategy Officer at PTC. In this role, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing key strategic functions, which includes the Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Strategic Alliances, Corporate Marketing, and PTC Academic. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently 2019 Mass Technology Leadership Council's Tech Excellence Leadership Award. She also serves on the board for the Mass High Tech Council.

Kathleen is a passionate champion of initiatives to drive inclusion and diversity and women in technology within and outside of PTC. She is a frequent panelist on the topics and her expertise helps to drive innovation and digital transformation.

Saying HOLA to Hispanic Heritage Month
PTC Chief Strategy Officer talks about her experiences and how PTC is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.