Mark Rodriguez is an Aggregation Quality Analyst at Indeed and holds the position of Communications and Events Lead for Latinx in Tech in Austin, TX. He enjoys photography, running, coffee and even writes his own food and lifestyle blog about life in Austin.
Every day is Hispanic Heritage Month at my house. My parents are from Texas (Laredo and San Antonio) and my grandparents are from Mexico (Piedras Negras and Monterrey). I grew up learning both English and Spanish at the same time, watching shows in both languages, listening to music in both languages and reading books in both languages as well. But, I always went through an English-speaking curriculum in schools. This is where I learned that I was… diverse.
Finding a community
Coming to Indeed 3 years ago, I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the culture here. Inclusion Resource Groups were barely a thing, so when you applied back then, you didn’t really know what you were getting yourself into or if there would be a safe space for you.
After being at Indeed for a few months, I started to hear about Latinos in Tech (now Latinx in Tech to be more gender inclusive) and was instantly relieved. There was a group of people at Indeed who were like me. I didn’t necessarily know what the Inclusion Resource Group did, but knowing that there were people who looked and talked like me that worked here too, I knew I had to join!
Creating a safe space
As a member, I started learning more about the IRG, what they were about, their mission statement — “Unidos, we help the Latinx community and our allies develop and drive change.” After that I became interested in a leadership position, applied and got it!
As a leader, I wanted to focus on finding ways to bring more diverse talent to Indeed but also how to create a form of trust with all members, always in a safe space.
Over the years, Indeed has grown, so naturally the leadership team has grown as well. Latinx in Tech (LIT) has been able to grow to offices around the country full of passionate, hardworking and thoughtful leaders and members alike!
Hispanic Heritage Month goes virtual
When the pandemic hit back in March and we learned about the mandated work from home from our CEO Chris Hyams, we instantly knew that Hispanic Heritage Month was going to look really different this year.
We might not have known how long working from home was going to last, but we knew that Hispanic Heritage Month was going to have to be 100% virtual this year for all four weeks. To help prepare, the leadership team broke into HHM sub-teams, we created task forces, had more regional meetings with Indeed’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging team and Senior Leadership. In the end we made it work!
Highlights from virtual Hispanic Heritage Month at Indeed
From leadership speaker series to celebrity guest appearances, we went all out this year, using the virtual platform to our advantage.
A few highlights for me this year were the first-ever (unofficial) LIT Indeed cookbook created by Indeedians for Indeedians with Latinx-based recipes. The cookbook has a list of local Latinx restaurants in different offices (submitted and referred by locals) across the country to help support local economies.
LIT also hosted Richard Montañez — the Creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — for an inspirational story about how he went from a janitor at Pepsi to creating the popular chip and a panel discussion about AfroLatinx & Colorism to educate about the meaning behind the term AfroLatinx and the history behind it with special guest, Nydia Simone form Blactina Media
In addition, we hosted Zumba lessons, displayed special Latinx-based Zoom backgrounds, collaborated on a Spotify playlist of our favorite Latinx, Latinx-inspired or Latinx-influenced songs, had a virtual guacamole-making contest and much more.
Not only was Latinx in Tech at Indeed able to put together amazing, fun, educational and unique events for everyone to enjoy, we also had internal blog posts from our members about their experiences as a Latinx Indeedian and were featured on the #insideindeed Instagram. And for the first time ever, Indeed also changed its external corporate logo in honor of HHM in both English and Spanish – which was an incredible way to show to the world Indeed’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
More stories from LIT
“Growing up, being part of the Tech Industry had never even crossed my mind. And so, I often find myself having to answer the same questions from onlookers. People want to know how I broke into the industry, and when did I realize this was the space for me. But to be completely honest, this experience has evolved into something beyond my wildest dreams. I found Latinx in Tech at Indeed and it gave me a family of individuals with similar experiences. We all knew this movement was so much bigger than ourselves. We knew that having found our own way here was not enough – we needed to help future generations, and educating our peers became as much a part of our mission as it was our purpose.” – José Roque #insideindeed Austin
“As a Latina, most of us, from the time we are born we are given a social norm of who we must be, a lot of this is rooted in gender roles. My mother broke that norm and it motivated me to be and do better. A big reason we are “Latinx” in Tech instead of “Latinos” in Tech is the same reason my mother motivated me to break our norms and advance collectively. The Latinx community has a responsibility to uplift each other and enlighten one another with the fact we can and will be successful in any given space. Our roots give us the strength to be more than our ancestors but respect the work and dedication that came before us. LIT gave me an outlet to help my community but also allowed me to realize we have so much more potential than we are taught to believe.” – Jazmin #insideindeed NYC
“When I first started at Indeed in 2016 I looked around and did not see many Indeedians that looked like me or came from my background. I knew then I wanted to be the change I sought. I had joined the Black Inclusion Group and loved all the events and kinship they had. That’s when I learned about Latinx in Tech (LIT). There was a LIT chapter in Austin, but not one in NYC at the time, so we decided to start a chapter there. This was the best decision we ever made in our Indeed career. Now we are a staple in multiple offices and every member of our team feels more like family. Even though we still have work to do, when I look around now I can comfortably say I am seeing more of a reflection of me, my family, my culture and my people.” – Sabino #insideindeed NYC
“Since starting as a Software Engineering intern at Indeed through Ada Developers Academy in February 2018, I noticed the lack of co-workers that shared a similar language, culture, or background. As someone transitioning into tech and who identifies as a Latina woman, I knew I would be hard pressed to find many people with a shared background. In tech, I think it is tempting to try to reduce things to data and algorithms, but being part of Latinx in Tech (LIT), there is this ‘chispa’, or spark, that folks bring whether we talk about work or politics, religion, family, etc. Nothing feels off limits and we can present more of our complete authentic human selves. No amount of money can buy that growing sense of belonging.” – Bianca #insideindeed Seattle
Hear Latinx in Tech Co-Chair Thomas Gomez discuss the importance of Hispanic Heritage month, the issues facing the Latinx community and how media narratives can stand in the way of empathy and understanding with Indeed CEO, Chris Hyams in this video from our ‘Here to Help’ series.
Staying LIT year round
LIT is more than just a one time thing where we come together for one month in the Fall! It is year-round with meetings, special events and volunteer opportunities in respective offices. One great example of this is when our Scottsdale chapter put together a reusable water bottle drive for the homeless community with 125 care bags filled with sandwiches, supplies and water bottles for their community. Way to go team!
We also host Job Squad events where we help bilingual communities learn how to use Indeed, how to upload their resume to the site and how to search for jobs.
For me, one of the most rewarding moments of my time in LIT has been when I volunteered with American YouthWorks, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “provide young people with opportunities to build careers, strengthen communities, and improve the environment through education, on-the-job training, and service to others.”
I represented LIT (and Indeed) at American YouthWorks and worked with a diverse set of students to help prepare them for real-world interviews by hosting a speed round of mock interviews with honest feedback and an open Q&A.
I’m so thankful to be a part of Latinx in Tech, where this year we changed our logo from “Para Todos” — which means “for all” — to “Para Todxs”, a letter change I championed to help create more gender inclusivity in our culture. Truly, the work we are doing with LIT is like no other.