Cristane Martin is a Marketing Manager in Houston.
Q: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
I always take a moment during this time to reflect, and continue to educate myself on my culture. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to really think about the contributions Hispanics have made and honor them. It’s a time to be proud of your roots and celebrate your culture.
Q: What is a way you enjoy celebrating your culture at any time of the year?
Since my boyfriend is Scottish, I am always really excited to share my culture with him, from eating traditional Mexican delicacies like mole, chapulines and pan dulce, to listening to mariachis at the East End Farmers Market. I also love watching folklorico dancing!
Q: What aspects of your culture have served as a unique asset to you in your professional success?
Respect is a big thing in Mexican culture, and this trait has allowed me to respectfully disagree with someone when I have a differing view so my point gets across without being seen as aggressive. Also, since family is another big component of my culture, it’s helped me to be a thoughtful and productive team member, which is really important since collaboration is vital in the workplace.
Q: Are you familiar with HOLA, the new Employee Resource Group for Hispanic and Latino colleagues? How do you think HOLA may be beneficial to our company?
Yes, and I was very excited to see it launch! I think it’ll be a way to share our culture with others who may not have had exposure to it and also offer camaraderie for our Latino colleagues.
Q: Who is a notable Latino figure inspiring to you, and why?
There are many famous Latinos who have done so much for our community, but my grandfather has been my biggest inspiration. He came to this country from Puebla, Mexico at only eight years old to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother died and his father abandoned him. He became a citizen, served in the U.S. army during WWII, played the piano, was a gifted artist and worked for Southern Pacific Railroad for 40 years. Despite his accomplishments, he suffered his fair share of discrimination. For example, my grandparents were not allowed to buy a house in a certain neighborhood because my grandfather was Mexican. However, he was proud of who he was. He was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met, and he constantly put family first. He pushed the importance of getting an education and being someone. I try to live my life by honoring his legacy of the importance of family, working hard, being proud who you are and where you came from.
Q: How have you seen diversity as a valuable asset in our business?
Working with people from different backgrounds helps to avoid groupthink and really challenges people to break out of their comfort zones. It helps drive creativity and bring new ideas to the table. I don’t know how you can disrupt the status quo without diversity.
Q: What are ways that all employees can be champions for diversity in the workplace?
Sometimes it’s hard for people to feel like they have a voice, especially if they’re in the minority. It’s important to recognize those individuals when we have meetings, and welcome their perspectives by asking their thoughts, making them feel like they have a safe space to talk and truly listening to show them that their opinions matter. Because they do.
Q: What are ways in which you give or pay it forward in the Latino community?
I try to shop at Latino-owned businesses. I also share my family’s story to help break some of the negative Hispanic/Latino stereotypes.