With Hispanic Heritage Month kicking off, we look forward to acknowledging and celebrating the histories and cultures of families in the U.S. originating from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In this employee spotlight, Carlos, Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Corporate Headquarters, reflects on his Hispanic heritage. Read on to learn about what Hispanic Heritage Month means to Carlos, how it has shaped him, and how he has embraced bringing his whole self to work.
Tell us about your career path?
My interest in journalism started in high school. I followed that path through journalism school in college and reporter positions after graduation. After a few years of reporting, I shifted to non-profit content and public relations. My career with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, coupled with a master’s degree in International Business from SLU, gave me the confidence to advance my career in a global direction. Through colleagues and connections who worked at Enterprise, I heard about an opportunity at Enterprise on the Marketing team, and I’ve now been here for almost three years. It’s amazing how many paths can cross in St. Louis, and I’m grateful for those that led me here!
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is a month of reflection. Although the term Hispanic unites many of us in the U.S., it is not a term we chose but rather given to people of Spanish-speaking descent by the U.S. Census. Hispanic/Latinos in the U.S. are as diverse as the country itself. We hail from many races, ethnicities, religions, languages, and traditions. Yet, there’s something that unites us, and I can’t quite ever put my finger on it. I think it has to do with the overall immigrant experience, and the sense of longing for a land – Latin America – that feels near yet so far away. I appreciate the celebration and acknowledgement of this month, and it is a time for introspection and a search for belonging.
How has your Hispanic heritage shaped you?
I was born in Medellin, Colombia, and came to St. Louis when I was 15. Life was hard growing up in Medellin at a time when the drug cartels were engaged in a violent civil war. Through all the difficult times, however, my parents persevered and helped me move to St. Louis. The biggest thing I carry from my life in Colombia was the positive, endless resilience of my friends and family; It didn’t matter how hard things got, there was always cause to celebrate, to get together, be happy, and work hard. I think about all the obstacles my parents overcame and how fortunate I am to be here with my family now. Around my neck, I always carry a little necklace with a medal bearing a Latin phrase that always brings me back home and pushes me to keep going when times are tough. It says Per Aspera, Ad Astra: Through Hardships to the Stars.
How are you encouraged to bring your whole self to work?
I found my current job because Enterprise Holdings had always been a huge advocate and supporter of the Hispanic community in St. Louis. The company’s presence at Hispanic events led me to many wonderful Enterprise employees who encouraged who became friends and who encouraged me to apply. Once I started working here, I found opportunities to network with fellow Hispanics through my work, on-campus groups, and other events. My manager and mentors have always sought understanding of my identity and have inspired me to explore how my identity impacts my strengths. I am in awe of just how much I am encouraged to be myself and how my colleagues value my experiences.