Mejor juntos: Armando and JC on how Latinx Heritage Month makes Dropbox culture even stronger
At Dropbox, the heart of our culture lies in our employee resource groups (ERGs). These employee-led organizations provide support for different ethnic groups, women, LGBTQ+, veterans, and other individuals who help make up our vibrant family. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, Armando Armas and JC Jaco share how the Latinx ERG has helped them bring their culture to the entire company — and why unity is more important now than ever.
Armando, a video production engineer, joined our Latinx ERG shortly after he was hired on about two years ago. Initially, he saw it mainly as a way to meet more people within the company and learn to network — but he quickly realized how much being part of this unique group meant to him. He decided to take on a leadership role to help strengthen the Latinx community and its visibility within Dropbox.
“The Latinx community isn’t well-represented in tech overall. So just having a platform for the Latinos that are in tech here at Dropbox to speak their mind, and possibly help bring a new way of working that helps the company, is a really important aspect of the ERG. Within the ERG, we have a recruiting committee, an events committee, a social outreach organization, and more that help us build that platform. Having the ERG as a stepping stone to help underserved communities that might not have the chance to be represented in this field is probably the most important thing I feel the ERG does here.”
JC, a marketing operations specialist, also joined the Latinx ERG almost immediately after coming to Dropbox, and took on a leadership role shortly afterwards. His reasons were a bit different; he had always been focused on finding a job at a company with a strong ERG culture, and already knew it was his goal to bring his unique perspective to the group.
“What drew me to join the Latinx ERG was the opportunity for myself and the community to educate others on our culture and showcase the different identities within the company. One of my main reasons for taking a leadership role was to diversify our leadership within the ERG. There are a lot of spaces in California that are Latinx, but many of those are dominated by Mexican culture; my family is from El Salvador, so I wanted to make sure that within the organization there are other perspectives and countries represented and other voices are heard.”
This focus on inclusion was one of the reasons why we rebranded what was previously Hispanic Heritage Month as Latinx Heritage Month. There are so many different identities that can be uplifted within our Latinx ERG: Afro-Latinx, LGBTQ+ individuals, members of indigenous communities, and many more. This also inspired this year’s theme: mejor juntos, which translates to “better together.”
JC said, “One of the main things that inspired us is where the Latinx community sits right now in the current political climate. We thought about how we can stand together as a unit. We decided that as a group, even though we have different intersectional identities, we could all be better together and showcase that to the world. We also wanted some call to action. We really wanted to people to come out thinking about and analyzing not only our different experiences but the contributions that we make overall, and the impact we can have together.”
The events that punctuate Latinx Heritage Month also aim to celebrate the many different countries and cultures that make us better together. The Austin office will spotlight independence days from different Latin countries and host a seminar about transnational feminist possibilities in Latin America. In San Francisco, employees will get to sit down for a chat with Mexican-American documentary filmmaker Dawn Valadez. Surprise musical performances will liven up the lunch hours — and a tamale-making class with the Tuck Shop chefs will show participants how different Latin cultures intersect with their own, slightly-varied versions of the food.
Every event hopes to bring Latinx cultures together, celebrate their similarities and differences, and spread that awareness and passion company-wide. And Armando and JC hope that it won’t stop after September ends. Armando reiterated, “Mejor juntos came to be because we wanted a theme that evoked unity and the strength in that, a phrase people can get behind. Latinx in California isn’t just Mexico. There are a lot of different countries and backgrounds here, and we truly are better together, all year round.”