The road for immigrants coming to Canada isn’t an easy one for any community, including the Hispanic community, says Hispanotech alliances director Citlalli Rios.
That is why Hispanotech is holding its first-ever event for Hispanic Heritage Month at EY Tower at 100 Adelaide St. W. on Oct. 18.
“We want to celebrate our community, but also let other communities know that we aren’t that different,” Rios said. “We invite anyone to come, so they can see we are similar in more ways than one way.”
Hispanotech will welcome professional immigrant networks, community associations, corporate ERGs, and Latin American Consulates during their networking event.
Although tickets are sold at $100, as seen on Eventbrite, this amount is symbolic, as an invite code provides a 100 per cent discount when contacting a member.
Three special speakers will touch on their professional careers, the obstacles they faced, and much more.
The evening theme is Unidos Together We Thrive, which combines Spanish and English words to represent their audiences, immigrants exposed to two worlds as shared by Rios.
“It’s a good opportunity for our members to join networking events to meet people with potentially different accents, but those are the same type of accents you will find in the workplace,” said Carlos Paz-Soldan, president of Hispanotech. “It’s a good way to get used to working in the Canadian environment with people from different places,”
The board of directors at Hispanotech has regular talks to see what they can offer to their members, and what can benefit them. The networking part will allow lots of opportunities to mingle with people from other parts of the world and with different professional backgrounds.
The night will be separated into three parts: introductions, highlights of associations in attendance, and networking.
“It is important to be there, have fun, but also know that their voice and their participation is a message that we are united, and that unity will get us to different levels we haven’t accomplished alone,” Rios said.
Hispanotech is on a mission to help people. They act as a guide for immigrants who feel stuck or aren’t quite satisfied where they are at in their professional careers. For some immigrants, five, or 10 years have passed and they realize they aren’t where they thought they would be, Paz-Soldan said.
“For immigrants one of the things you lose is the recognition of who you are and what you know,” Paz-Soldan said. “For someone in Canada or in the US that has not been exposed to the prestige some professional has, their first impression would be ‘I cannot pronounce your name or where you studied.’ In a way, you are diminished from those perceptions.”
Paz-Soldan said that those obstacles can be internalized, and create self-doubt. Immigrants’ journeys are long, hard, and lonely in all aspects.
“A big part of what we do in Hispanotech is finding people that went through the same thing as us, and succeeded,” he said.
Hispanotech is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by six successful information technology professionals who wanted to share and help immigrants navigate the Canadian technology sector.
Originally, Hispanotech promoted the success of Latin American STEM professionals in Canada’s technology markets. However, with events like this they want to open their doors to any immigrant and help them gain confidence professionally.
As well, they aim to fight stereotypes that many can face.
“Always being late, or referencing drug lords, all of these stereotypes are not what we are as a nation, as a culture, or as professionals,” Rios said. “So it’s important to change the conversation into something more positive”
Paz-Soldan recalled that 43 years ago when he immigrated to Canada, he had to deal with questions about drugs, the food, and even Machu Picchu.
As a young Peruvian man, he felt there were a lot of misconceptions about him, but with time he found once the people around him started to get to know him, they found out they weren’t that different.
“Now I find that an accent is a sign of courage, it means that you know two languages, maybe more, and it shows that you dare to change your environment, your country,” Paz-Soldan said.
For more information, head to Hispanotech.ca to find out more on their programs, future events and discover their free memberships