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Broad MBA students, staff share the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month

By William Horton-Anderson, Chelsea Stein
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Every year, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by honoring the culture of Hispanic Americans and the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to the country. In the Broad College’s Full-Time MBA program, these experiences and identities contribute to a stronger and more connected program.

This year, MBA students and staff share their experiences as Hispanic/Latinx members of the business community and suggest ways to foster more inclusion.

Jose Naime

Jose Naime headshot

Jose Naime (MBA Supply Chain Management & Finance ’23)

Hometown: Toluca, Mexico

Summer Internship: Amazon Pathways Operations

Career Before Broad: Sales, insurance, logistics

Broad News: What does being Hispanic/Latinx mean to you?

Naime: It means that I can challenge the status quo on what is typically expected from Latinx people.

Broad News: What do you think is the most pressing issue Hispanic/Latinx people are facing outside the business community?

Naime: Social expectations and stereotypes.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx individuals?

Naime: Giving Latinx people a real chance in areas where we are underrepresented.

 

Kimberly Rodriguez

Headshot of Full-Time MBA student Kimberly Rodriguez

Kimberly Rodriguez (MBA Human Resources and Strategic Management ’23)

Hometown: Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Summer Internship: Eaton, Electrical Sector Headquarters

Career Before Broad: I was in the rental car industry for about a year and half; once COVID hit, I moved into the medical industry.

Broad News: What does being Hispanic/Latinx mean to you?

Rodriguez: For me, it is a lifestyle. It means building a community that brings out the values I believe in. Growing up in a predominantly white city was hard. I didn’t know what my identity was; I didn’t know who I was. I was too American for the Mexicans and too Mexican for the Americans. I told myself that wherever I went, I would always be inclusive to the people around me. Being Latina for me is being the person who lends a helping hand, a personal motivator, someone who is passionate about what they do.

My culture brings out the best in me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As my mother always says, “Ponte las pilas, mija!” And I do just that, every morning before entering Minskoff, because for me, being Latina is using this opportunity that my parents never had and becoming a better woman for myself and my family.

Broad News: What do you think is the most pressing issue Hispanic/Latinx people are facing outside the business community?

Rodriguez: I believe it is mental health. Unfortunately, in the Hispanic/Latino community there isn’t a lot of support when someone says they have a mental illness. It is a conversation that the younger generation is having with their parents to educate them about these serious topics. Depression is a serious issue in our community. Studies show that this can be led by having an identity crisis, facing discrimination or even being the child who has the pressure to do things “right” as a “first-gen.” When I mentor younger Hispanics/Latinos, I always tell them, “Your mental health comes first before anything!” We are slowly changing the norms for making sure we stay active on these topics.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx individuals?

Rodriguez: I am the strongest advocate for DEI! It is my passion to involve myself in this. It all starts with your company culture! Companies need to be inclusive in everything that they do: Having inclusive resource groups that recognize the culture. Making sure that if your employee is celebrating something that matters to them, you ask them questions, ask them why it is important to them.

Also, something crucial I think companies should do is take risks on their employees. Many of us didn’t get the opportunity to have an internship during the summer (during undergrad) so that we could get experience. Some of us worked in other ways to help support our families. This doesn’t mean we have any fewer skills; we are still hard-working, passionate people. We might not have had the experience, but we have the motivation, the drive to put ourselves out there and be the best worker there is. Many of us saw the sacrifices our parents made crossing that border, and you best believe we use that as fuel to become great influencers in our society and bring it to work. If business communities would give us a chance to prove ourselves and look past our little experience, they would be surprised.

 

Facundo Darre

Facundo Darre headshot

Facundo Darre (MBA Finance & Business Analytics ’24)

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Post-Graduate Career Interest: Consulting or finance 

Broad News: What does being Hispanic/Latinx mean to you?

Darre: It’s basically who I am, the culture and values that I have. I feel we have a great sense of community between Latin countries, but also each country shows a great sense of belonging. 

Broad News: What do you think is the most pressing issue Hispanic/Latinx people are facing outside the business community?

Darre: Due to some complicated political and social situations, most of us are emerging looking for more stable and secure countries, especially professionals.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx individuals?

Darre: Although it is a good offer for us, maybe there would be an improvement possibility making the sponsorship process easy for the companies or try some kind of incentives to promote those jobs.

 

Tania Sotelo Valencia

Tania Sotelo Valencia headshot

Tania Sotelo Valencia (MBA Human Resources and Strategic Management & Marketing ’24)

Hometown: Frankfort, Indiana

Career Before Broad: Health care 

Post-Graduate Career Interest: Working in a different industry that is generating impact through innovative change and inclusivity. DEI is an aspect I am super interested in and hope to be involved in, especially in the corporate world, because that is where you can help change happen.

Broad News: What does being Hispanic/Latinx mean to you?

Valencia: Being a Hispanic woman means having deep-rooted strength, both culturally and socially. Being proud of having a Mexican heritage that allows me to bring richness and brightness of my authentic self to a new space or environment. Being proud of sharing my colors and being more than just a label. It’s cultivating and remembering where I come from, and that is Hispanic beauty.

Broad News: What do you think is the most pressing issue Hispanic/Latinx people are facing outside the business community?

Valencia: The pressing issues are not being seen as an equal in this country, not having a true voice and being labeled as immigrants. There is more to the person than the label, and that is called being human.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx individuals?

Valencia: By giving a voice to those that are Hispanic, to sit at the table and seeing the value that Hispanic/Latinx individuals bring.

 

Wayne Hutchison

Wayne Hutchison headshot

Wayne Hutchison, managing director, Full-Time MBA program

Hometown/Country: Sacramento, California. My mother emigrated from Brasilia, Brasil, in the ’60s and my father is from California.

Highest Degree Obtained: Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration

Broad News: What does being Hispanic/Latinx mean to you?

Hutchison: I believe I’m still learning the answer to this question. Today, I know I’m part of a large, supportive family that loves and cares for me, and I am a child of two nations. My education on what it means to be Latinx in America and the impact of privilege on my identity continues.

Broad News: What do you think is the most pressing issue Hispanic/Latinx people are facing outside the business community?

Hutchison: Marginalization as a result of both privilege and stereotypes impacting the population.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx individuals?

Hutchison: Inclusiveness starts with privileged individuals in leadership roles acknowledging that power imbalances exist and working hard to correct them through education, policy change and empowerment of historically marginalized groups.

MSU recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month, and our community is coming together to strengthen resources, programs, research centers and scholarships serving Hispanic and Latinx students at MSU. Learn more at givingto.msu.edu.

In Other News:

Tree canopy overhead from a pathway on campus.
See how students are making a lasting, positive impact for business through dynamic internship experiences.
John Hollenbeck, Eli Broad Professor and University Distinguished Professor, standing in the Minskoff Pavilion atrium with students studying in the background.
The Academy of Management honored John Hollenbeck, associate dean of research, for his exceptional contributions.