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Q&A: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Four Incredible Latino Leaders

10/11/2021 | 12:22pm EST

We're proud of the energy, creativity and innovation our Latino talent brings to Our Jacobs. With over 1,000 global members, our Employee Network Enlace - meaning "link" in Spanish - empowers Latinos to succeed, bringing added value not only to Jacobs but to the communities and clients that we serve.

Although Enlace plans events year-round, Hispanic Heritage Month is always a highlight of their calendar, bringing together colleagues of all backgrounds in a program of events aimed at promoting learning, networking, and celebrating Latino culture and achievements.

This year we're celebrating by spotlighting four members of our Enlace family, asking them questions about their lives, their careers, Hispanic Heritage Month and what it means to be "Latino."

Meet Julissa, Jose, Susana and Pilar!

Julissa McCann
Graphic Designer
Fort Worth, TX

Hi Julissa! What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time of year when we can recognize how our culture has influenced other places and cultures. There's a lot that the Hispanic and Latino community does here in our home and all over the world. This is the time of year we can celebrate, recognize all the hard work we put in, and be extra loud and proud… it's also a good reason to eat all your favorite dishes all month long!

How has being Latina been an advantage in your career?
As someone who is proudly Afro-Latina, I feel I've focused more on my Black identity at Jacobs through my work as a leader in Harambee, our Black employee network. I plan to let the Latin aspects of my heritage shine in the future and let it help get me get closer to my goals. I want to bring a different voice and perspective to the projects I work on… to contribute more insight, opinions, and lead in an authentic way.

Who are your Latino role models?
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Celia Cruz.Is Jacobs a good place for Latinos to excel?
Jacobs does a great job at striving to be a diverse and inclusive company. They actively create new opportunities for our community and show initiative to hire Hispanic and Latino talent around Jacobs and in leadership roles. What are your passions outside work?
Being with my family and creating my own works of art.What's the one song of Latin origin that gets you up on the dancefloor every time?
Celia Cruz - "La Vida Es Un Carnaval."Jose Rivera
Northeast Region Traffic Lead / LGBTQIA+ Network Chapter Lead
New York, New York

¡Hola Jose! What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
It's atime to reflect and celebrate our ancestors and heritage - and to remind others of what the Latino community brings to the lives of many.

How has being Latino been an advantage in your career?
To me, it means using my close family ties and treating others as if they are family. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou - "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This speaks to how I live my life, and I believe that this philosophy has helped me become a successful leader.

Who are your Latino role models?
My most important role models are my parents. They were both born and raised in Puerto Rico, and came to New York when they were in their twenties… which is where they met. Through very limited education, they worked hard in factories and civil service to provide for all of us. With their love and dedication, they taught us the value of hard work and provided us the means to earn advanced degrees and launch successful professional careers.

Another role model is Roberto Clemente, a Hall of Fame professional baseball player who was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and stood up for minority rights. Renowned for his humanitarian work, he died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, en route to bringing much-needed supplies to survivors of an earthquake in Nicaragua.

Is Jacobs a good place for Latinos to excel?
Jacobs provides a culture where everyone can succeed regardless of background. This is especially true through our employee networks, which allow you to truly "bring your whole self to work."If you aren't working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?
Family is very important to me, and I try to spend as much time as possible with them. My family are all avid New York Mets fans, so we try to travel to various cities to see the Mets play. I also referee in a flag football league, which I really enjoy participating in.What's the one song of Latin origin that gets you up on the dancefloor every time?
'Vivir Mi Vida' by Marc Anthony because it speaks about living life set to joyous and danceable music.Susana Gozalo
Head of Transportation Enterprise Solutions, People & Places Solutions U.K.
London, United Kingdom

Hi Susana! What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
I was born in Madrid, Spain and 12th of October is a national day in Spain, celebrating "el dia de la Hispanidad", strengthening the links with our Hispanic friends and families across the ocean. Heritage is something which is really embedded in Hispanic culture, with a lot of emphasis on family links.

How has being Latina been an advantage in your career?
As someone born in Spain, "Latina" and "Hispanic" aren't words I typically use. That said, working in the U.K. I believe that my Spanish identity gives me the advantage of seeing the world in a different way and not conforming to established norms. This is especially useful in a company like Jacobs where we are constantly challenging today to reinvent tomorrow.

Who are your Latino role models?
Judge Sonia Sotomayor - the first Latino Supreme Court Justice. Also, Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School. She is an expert in leadership and has done some great work in women in leadership, including the book "Act like a Leader. Think like a Leader" and her work on "The Paradox of Authenticity".Is Jacobs a good place for Latinos to excel?
At Jacobs we strive to get the world's best people working with us. We foster an environment where people can be themselves, and bring their backgrounds, ideas and heritage to the workplace. To provide the best solutions to our clients and the communities we serve, we need to bring all perspectives to the table - in my experience that's where the magic happens.

If you aren't working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

I love traveling, and am particularly interested in the cultural aspects of the new cities I discover. I'm also a qualified Zumba Instructor, so I love exercising to Latin rhythms!

What's the one song of Latin origin that gets you up on the dancefloor every time?
"Venezia" by Hombres G. It was the first cassette I bought with my pocket money, and brings a smile to my face every time I play it.Pilar Doran
Principal Project Manager
Gainesville, Florida

Hi Pilar! What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

The month has always been an opportunity for me to stop, reflect, share and be proud of my roots and heritage. It's also an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and contributions my parents have made and take stock of the progress we've achieved as Latinos in the U.S.

How has being Latina been an advantage in your career?
Throughout my career I've had great opportunities to build relationships and work on projects in Latin America - in beautiful places such as Mexico and Puerto Rico. Through these opportunities I've been able to advance my career by expanding my knowledge of project delivery outside of the U.S., using my design management and language skills to help develop and deliver challenging projects.

These projects have been very meaningful to me as the work I've done with Jacobs has brought immense positive impacts to communities with unserved basic needs like water and sanitation… It's hugely rewarding.

Who are your Latino role models?
My mother has always been my biggest role model. Her hard working, fearless and unstoppable attitude gave her the courage to come to this country and do whatever it took to advance her family. I can only try to fill her shoes!Is Jacobs a good place for Latinos to excel?
At Jacobs we live our values - there's a place for everyone to excel… Especially when it comes to Latinos. As the recent census shows, we're growing in number here in the U.S. and it's great to see Jacobs begin to better mirror the communities that we serve. If you aren't working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?
I love spending time with my family (especially my one-year-old grandson) and love to practice yoga and take part in CrossFit with my friends.What's the one song of Latin origin that gets you up on the dancefloor every time?
Without question, Mi Tierra by Carlos Vives!!! It speaks of the joy and pride we Colombians feel for our land, our customs and our people!! It moves not only my feet but my heart every time I hear it!
Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world - together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We're always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let's see the impact we can create, together.

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Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. published this content on 11 October 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 11 October 2021 16:21:12 UTC.

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