Stanford University has been the site of many seminal moments in the tech world, and for the seventh year in a row, it brought together the industry's progressive minds.
The Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit (SVLLS), held on May 14 at the Stanford Faculty Club, was an opportunity to discuss how to invest in Latino diversity in various technology fields.
Frank Carbajal, owner of EsTiempo, LLC and founder of SVLLS, knows all too well that Latinos run the risk of getting left behind in an increasingly technology-literate world.
"The first summit was held in 2010 on Sand Hill Road, which was then known as the venture capital Mecca of the world. Very few Latino venture capitalists are on Sand Hill Road, so I brought the [best and brightest] to the inaugural event, which sold out," Carbajal said.
Meticulous planning paid off as the native of El Centro, California, and son of Mexican immigrants put a spotlight on the lack of diversity in the tech industry. Even more inspiring for the attendees, the fledgling SVLLS sought solutions.
After receiving his Master's Degree in Human Resource Management from San Jose State University, the first generation college graduate did what he does best: connect decision makers with up-and-coming Latino talent in the state. Seven years later, the summit is still on point, with over 250 leaders in business, government, entrepreneurship and social media on hand.
This year even featured a "start-up pitch" segment, where a panel of judges comprised of law experts and venture capitalists could provide vital advice and sales leads for participants.
"[The summit] is a platform to show Latinos and non-Latinos that we are worth investing in since we are here to stay and worth the talent," continued Carbajal. "In terms of the big picture, I'm a human capital connector. So I'm very fortunate that I'm connected with [leading Latinos] in technology."
Carbajal is quick to point out fields like civil engineering are a growing industry for Latinos, while mechanical and electrical engineering are remaining stagnant. Most troubling to the author of "Building the Latino Future: Success Stories for the Next Generation" is that the number of Latino software engineers is seemingly decreasing.