This Wednesday, the Latino Leadership Network will be coming to the Silicon Valley for the first time. The organization founded by Mickey Ibarra will be hosting a Latino Leaders Luncheon. An exclusive invite-only event with over 300 influential Silicon Valley Latino/Latina leaders. The co-host of this event will be the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. The man behind the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley is Ron Gonzales.

Ron Gonzales is the President and CEO of Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. An organization, that is dedicated to improving the lives of the Hispanic community throughout the Silicon Valley. From their Latinos In Technology Scholarships to their Latino Board Leadership Academy to their Family College Success Center, the HFSV have been focusing on educating the Hispanic community for the past eight years.

 

We all know, that education is key to the success of the Hispanic Communities in the United States. According to a report from The Pew Center in 2014, of Hispanics ages 25 to 29, just 15% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“Hispanics [Latinos] make up 30% of the general public in California and yet only 3% work in high tech,” stated Gonzales.

Instead of focusing on just increasing college graduates, the HFSV decided to focus on middle school students. Research has shown the if students successfully complete Algebra 1 by the 8th grade, they will have a higher chance of not only entering college but graduating.

The foundation partnered with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s Elevate Math and Elevate Math Plus programs, and ALearn Math Acceleration Program to increase the achievement of middle school students. Their goal with this particular program is to create more professional Hispanic people ready to work in high tech. However, high tech companies need to start looking at and encouraging Hispanics to get into the STEM industry.

“High tech companies need to change what they are doing in regards to recruitment. Instead of recruiting out of the state or country, these companies should work with community organizations that are down the street from them. These community organizations can help them recruit women, women of color, and people of color,” said Gonzales.

Now, Gonzales knows a thing or two about the corporate world. He started his career as an executive with the Hewlett-Packard Company. He then served as Mayor of San José (1999-2006), being the first Hispanic Mayor of San Jose since California became a U.S. State. That’s 149 years people. If you are interested in politics, he has some advice.

“Start locally, ask advice, roll up your sleeves and go out there and walk around your community, and the most important thing you can do is determine why you are doing it,” Gonzales told Epifania. “Do it to serve the people”

What I have learned from Ron Gonzales is you have to give. Whether you are in the corporate world, the political world or the nonprofit world, you have to give back to your community and fellow man.

Ron Gonzales along with another influential Latino/Latina leaders will be sharing their stories at the Latino Leaders Network this Wednesday at the Fairmont Hotel.