News Column

Q&A Exclusive: HITEC President

July 18, 2013

Staff -- HispanicBusiness

Latinas in Technology

The Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) will host its quarterly summit in August to discuss ways Hispanics are making waves within the technology sector.

The Rise of Hispanic Influence in Technology summit will be held Aug. 15-16 in Maryland. HITEC's mission is to build stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models within the IT sector.

Conference keynote speakers will include Denise Saiki, vice president of Enterprise Business Services, and Rick Geritz, chairman of CyberMaryland. They will lead conversations on the increasing role of Hispanics in technology, cyber security and entrepreneurship in technology.

The summit also will include a business leadership forum presented by Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company that serves clients in more than 120 countries.

HITEC President Andre Arbelaez spoke to about what to expect and how Hispanics can prosper in the IT industry. There is a stereotype that Hispanics are scarce in the IT sector -- what are your thoughts on this?

Andre Arbelaez: Although there has been as history of talent shortages from a demographics perspectives, HITEC has seen a strong growth in Hispanics from South American countries, from Colombia, Peru, Chile, Venezuela and Argentina. A second wave of Mexican-Americans also are making an impact as first-generation children are going to college, graduating and taking positions in the IT arena. In a recent press release you said: "We want to push up mid-level Hispanics in IT to the upper ranks and we want to pull up young stars and promote them so they can get to the next level." What specific steps will HITEC take to promote these young people?

AA: HITEC has two programs that promote our young rising stars, one being our mentorship program, that takes these young rising stars and pairs them with senior-level, often CIO executives, over a nine-month-long curriculum of interaction on leadership, business acumen and technology topics. Our second program, called "Proyecto Nosotoros" ("Project Us") takes these young and mid-level executive's resumes and places them in front of the top companies in the U.S. that are member companies of HITEC, such as Accenture, Cisco, Oracle, AT&T, HP and Lowes. During the HITEC event, one of the topics includes the ways the rising Hispanic population is making waves within technology, specifically in Washington, D.C. Are there any examples that you can share with me now?

AA: Yes, one of our keynote speakers is Andre Mendes, the CIO for the United States International Broadcasting Bureau, or known to many as the Voice of America. His leadership and position is one of the most fascinating global positions there is in our government. From flying airplanes to transmit "Radio Marti" around Cuba to providing unfiltered news into North Korea or wartorn regions in Africa, Mr. Mendes has to provide in all forms of technology this information. His speech will be very fascinating! How are Hispanic females fairing in the IT world?

AA: Without a doubt, this is still as challenge, but there is much hope as incredible Latinas setting the pace, from Myrna Soto, the chief information and infrastructure security officer at Comcast, Marta Poulter, CIO of GE Capital, and Elena Del Valle, CIO of Stant Corp., as well as Ilena Rivera, senior director at Cisco Corp., and Yamilet Torres, senior director at Oracle. Role models and mentors come up a lot within the U.S. Hispanic community, and I would think the IT sector also holds this true, correct? What can you say about this?

AA: Yes, role models and mentors are invaluable, especially in the IT sector, where traditional networking and career "pathing" is not a natural instinct. HITEC focuses on taking the senior Hispanic executives and CIOs from AT&T, HP, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and many more to be the role models, and we ensure that we invite local university students and even high schools to bring their Hispanic students at no cost to be enlightened in an incredible career path.

To register for HITEC's quarterly summit, click here.

Source: (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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