- Hispanic Heritage Month runs September 15—October 15 2021
- ¡Hola! is RingCentral’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement
As a first-generation American, Employee Experience Immigration Specialist Ashley Madrigal-Vargas is intimately familiar with the feeling of being on the outside. Every day she helps RingCentral employees from all over the world get their paperwork — and their lives straightened out in new, unfamiliar environments all across the globe. So she’s got a lot to say about the value of one of RingCentral’s newest Employee Resource Groups: ¡Hola! — RingCentral’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement.
“The Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (¡Hola! )is very very new” says Vargas. “It started this year, it’s co-sponsored by Lisa Del Real and Jose Serrano. Initially (Latinx employees) didn’t have their own employee resource group, and during lockdown, a lot of ERGs really blossomed and I’m so glad this was one of them. I joined very early on, and it’s still, it’s an energy that’s still being built—we’re figuring out as we go. Even the word “Hispanic” is something of a hot button. Not everybody Latinx is of Spanish descent. This identity covers so many different countries, even though we speak the same language, it’s by no means monolithic. Different music, different food, different culture, even different words, but at the end of the day, we are all connected. So I’m grateful to have a place for everybody to just coexist together.”
What’s ¡Hola! all about? According to Madrigal-Vargas, a little bit of everything. “We might deal with current events — what’s happening in the world, or at the border. But it’s bigger than that. We’re talking about up and coming Latinx authors, poets, new books. And of course, food – sharing recipes is always popular.
Latinx culture is not monolithic. Neither is RingCentral. Madrigal-Vargas sees that as a positive. “We’ve been excited to partner with other ERGs, it’s been particularly good to partner with the BE@R (Black Employees @ RingCentral) ERG and with (Sr. Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program Leader) Danita Oliver. She has been really phenomenal and there’s a lot of crossover between, you know, ¡Hola! and BE@R, which is great. There are a lot of people who work here who are both Black and Latinx, and it’s great to be able to offer a sense of community in any way we can, to as many people as we can.”
On Hispanic Heritage Month
“Of course we’ll highlight history and prominent people in the Latinx community,” says Vargas, “…but we’ve also partnered with folks from Guckenheimer (Dan Root is phenomenal), and so they’re going to be creating recipe cards from various countries and also doing a cocktail so we’ll share recipes, which is always fun. We’re also highlighting an up-and-coming poet named Antonio de Jesús López who recently just came out with a book of poems called Gentefication and we’ll be purchasing a few of his books, and giving them out as prizes.In partnership with HOLA & BE@R, we will be hosting our very first Latin Music Fest. It will be DJ’d by Elliott Broadax (Technical Account Manager) also known as DJ E-Trane. Just whatever we can do to raise awareness, boost inclusion and make the culture at RingCentral even stronger than it already is.”
“Mentorship is huge for me,” says Vargas. “I’ve always felt not only accepted and capable here, but very comfortable reaching out to people for mentorship. It’s one of my favorite things about working at RingCentral, so I’m working to pass it on. I was a panelist at College Track, which is such a great program because it shows students of color, “Hey, there actually is a place for you here,” and for so many, that just wasn’t something they’d ever known or considered. I’ve stayed connected to a lot of those kids; reviewed their resumes and provided feedback, and just have maintained, you know, some of those relationships so for me that’s been wonderful. I’m also a part of an organization called Latinas In Tech. I attended a really huge conference this year designed to connect with other women working in tech and that was just amazing. That kind of connection is just so valuable so anything I, or ¡Hola! can do to keep that going, we’ll be excited to get into.”
Originally published Sep 30, 2021