Silicon Valley, the iconic technology hub, continues to create pioneering ideas, cutting-edge products, and some of world's greatest leaders, thinkers, and futurists. Without question, the innovations that have emerged out of this elite California region have made our lives easier and better. But Silicon Valley is unquestionably antiquated in one key area: diversity. A recent analysis of employees at leading tech firms that report ethnic and gender figures reveals, on average, 71 percent are men, while 60 percent identify as white, 23 percent Asian, 8 percent Latino, and 7 percent black.
Andre Arbelaez, President of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC), and Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Softtek USA, a global provider of process-driven IT solutions, aims to boost Latino representation in the region. HITEC is the vehicle helping him and others pursue this important initiative.
HITEC is a premier global executive leadership organization comprised of senior business and IT executives who have built impressive careers in the information technology industry. The organization's network extends throughout the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing "tech-centric" world. HITEC's leaders include executives from leading global and Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Hershey, Bank of America, and Facebook. Others lead some of the largest Hispanic-owned IT firms across the Americas.
"HITEC debuted in 2007 in NYC when a handful of Hispanic tech executives recognized there were topics in the tech space that needed to be addressed," said Arbelaez, who is of Colombian heritage and resides near Detroit, Michigan. "Our goal then, as it remains today, is to elevate the role of Hispanics in the technology industry."
That means HITEC is sharpening its focus on increasing the presence of Hispanics in tech. The company must also focus on engaging middle and high school children, as well as providing scholarships for students pursuing an education and career in technology.
"Our attention is on pushing our diversity to the next level and pulling up the next generation," Arbelaez explained. "We have to bring those low diversity numbers up in Silicon Valley, and we are starting with today's youth. We show Latino students that there is indeed a future in tech for them. We do this by showing them there are people who look, act, and...