With the start of Hispanic Heritage month, I took this opportunity to talk with Javier, our Chief Revenue Officer, about how his culture and background have influenced his career journey, particularly in the tech industry. Read on to learn more about how he broke into the space.
Jess: What is a defining moment related to your heritage which helped you become successful?
Javier: I grew up in a pretty diverse part of Austin and went to High School and College where the Hispanic population was ~70% of the student body. I didn’t understand diversity until I got into the workforce and I certainly didn’t comprehend the impact I could have as a Hispanic sales leader. As I reached higher levels of success in my professional career, people began commenting on what my trajectory meant to them. While I was grateful for their praise, I didn’t fully recognize the impact. I simply saw myself as someone who wanted to be a successful sales leader and nothing more.
The moment I realized my potential impact was when the pandemic hit. I began a journey where I was helping place others, who had been recently laid off, in tech roles on LinkedIn. Most of these people I was already acquainted with, but then I had 3 individuals whom I had never met reach out to me for help. They commented that it wasn’t common to see someone else with Hispanic heritage in a high growth public SaaS company in an SVP role. I was taken aback. From that moment on, I realized that my role was much bigger than myself; I had the power to help other minorities reach their goals and excel in their professional careers. This became a new passion for me. I looked into how I could continue this further, and I joined “Techqueria” where I actively engage in mentoring fellow Hispanics in STEM. We’ve begun initiatives within Starburst to diversify our workforce which hopefully will change the way tech looks when I am long gone. I’m trying to help wherever I can by mentoring others as one of the few Hispanic Chief Revenue Officers in SaaS.
Jess: What are your thoughts on the importance of diversity in tech? Is there anything specific that you believe people with a Hispanic heritage uniquely bring to their companies and teams?
Javier: I believe strongly that diversity is not solely comprised of gender and race but rather includes involving people from a range of different backgrounds and experiences. When you build diverse teams and companies it’s proven that they are much more productive. Most Hispanics, or Mexican-Americans like myself, are first or second generation. Many of us have parents or grandparents that weren’t able to provide full financial support or didn’t have the opportunity to pursue the careers we aspire to today. They did the best they could with the limited resources they had. This often meant providing for their families with little to no means. For me personally, the relentless work ethic I saw from my family while working in the education and oil industries is what I emulated myself in my profession. I admire their strength, commitment to excellence, and the sacrifices they made for their family. I am grateful to have an opportunity to pursue a career I am passionate about where those before me were not afforded the same opportunity. It is what continues to drive me to be successful.
Jess: What advice would you offer young Hispanic professionals on how to overcome obstacles in order to set and achieve goals?
Javier: My number one piece of advice is to ensure you align yourself with companies that allow you to grow and never settle just for the offer in front of you. Ask others about their path to success and think about your own goals that allow you to seek more. A motto I live by is substance over perception. At times it may not feel like you’re making progress but if you’re executing within the aligned expectations, providing incremental ideas to the business, and displaying drive and coachability it’s important you’re playing the long game. Focus on accumulating skills over titles and “too good to be true” salaries. There will be great, deserving roles provided to you in due time. I have many stories where I felt I was passed up but over time surpassed my peers.
I also highly recommend finding executive mentors to sponsor your career. These mentors can help provide you with guidance and be a champion for you to reach roles that will position you for success. Lastly, it’s important to stay true to yourself, don’t settle, and work harder than your counterparts. This will set you apart and are ingredients for professional success.
At Starburst, we believe it is important to facilitate a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are committed to making this an open and welcoming community that offers all people the opportunity to grow and advance their careers. Are you looking to jumpstart your career in tech? Take a look at our career page for more information.