In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., we’re featuring stories and perspectives of a few of our Hispanic colleagues. This week, we’ll introduce you to Eddie Douglas, Regional Vice President.
How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Growing up we never differentiated this month from other months. Knowing what I do now, and having two young sons, we talk about our ancestry and culture a lot more—and it extends far beyond just this month. Between our heritage and living in Miami, my sons are immersed in strong Latin and Hispanic culture year-round, which I love. We read to them each night and make them practice their Spanish by reading books in both languages.
What aspect of being Hispanic/Latinx are you most proud of?
I am proud that my grandmother never let her story define her future. She came from Spain, after meeting my grandfather during his tour there without speaking much English. She always set the best example for us to do what is right even when it’s difficult. My grandmother told us we could be anything we wanted and to be proud of our family.
Growing up I didn’t have a lot of insight into my past, but as I became an adult and learned of her past and mine, I realized she was the matriarch of our family and brought two different worlds together here in Florida. I am most proud of her ability to see the positive in both life and family and never gave any credence to what society told her to do. She carved a path for what she believed would benefit both sides of our family.
In what ways do your heritage allow you to bring a different perspective to your role and to Enterprise overall?
The story of my grandmother is motivation in my daily experience with our organization. Her ability to push forward, even in the face of adversity, didn’t define what she believed her future generations would be capable of achieving. This same resilience is deeply rooted in my personal and professional life. Each time I have moved into a new market, this perspective is where I start. I build trust and relationships with people based off what they believe they can do and from there we create our path to success.
If someone wanted to learn more about Hispanic/Latinx heritage, what advice would you give them?
Be open and willing to learn about your past. Don’t let the story you’ve created in your head or been taught your entire life be the basis of your family’s “traditions” or learnings. Dig deeper and take time to understand where you—and others—came from and how your family tree truly developed. You will be surprised to learn how fortunate you are!
How are you encouraged to bring your whole self to work?
I acknowledge who I am now more than I ever have before. I spend more time valuing people’s experiences, challenges and perspectives which allows better teamwork and creative collaboration. Most of our plans and processes start this way in our region, vs Top-Down ideation. I also have stepped out of my comfort zone, becoming more vulnerable and open to who I am. This has made me share personal stories about who I am at work, allowing me to be the same person (mentally and physically) at home and work.