Aurora Diaz is used to being the first and only. She was a first generation college student. She was one of the few Latinos at the University of Oregon in Eugene and the only Latina in her current company. To her, it’s the norm. “I don’t look at it as an obstacle, I look at it as if I am creating a pipeline for future Latinas. As women we are not shown that there are other positions in the tech industry besides engineering.”
Diaz’s life started in Richmond, California. A town that, in 2004, was ranked as the 12th most dangerous city in America; it’s located just across the bay from San Francisco. Diaz grew up with her parents (originally undocumented immigrants from Mexico) and her younger sister.
“My parents were really hard working, both of them worked. They supported my goal and made sure that I went to college.”
After high school, she moved to Eugene, Oregon to attend University of Oregon. “It was a bit of culture shock. I was one of very few Latinos at the school.”
As a first generation student, she had to teach herself everything. From how to register for classes, to financial aid. While at school, she switched her major a few times. At first she thought she wanted to major in psychology; but, after one class, she knew it wasn’t for her. She then went into journalism with a focus on public relations. In 2012, she graduated with a BA in Public Relations and Business Administration minor.
“As a student, you have to take as many different opportunities as possible. I had about 8 internships but after graduation it takes a few years to figure out what you want to do,” she shared. After graduation she moved back to Richmond. At first, she thought she was going to go into education. After a year of working at a nonprofit that helped her get into college, she went into the corporate world.
During her time at Sephora.com, she came across an app called Musely. She had never heard of it, even though her fashion icon’s (Marie Claire) Creative Director, Nina Garcia, endorsed it. She knew she wanted a career change and wanted to stay in the beauty field. Musely, at that time, was looking for someone who had beauty and marketing experience.
Diaz has been their Market Development Specialist for the past two years. Now her day consists of business development and brand partnerships for Musely’s newest initiative, e-commerce.
The career move took her to San Jose, California. A new community where she didn’t know anyone. She used her networking skills and started to go out. She now is a member of Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and Lean In Latinas.
Like most successful women, Diaz knows the value of self care. During the weekends, she takes time to read a book at a coffee shop or goes estate sale shopping with her girlfriends.
Well, Aurora Diaz, you deserve some me-time after blazing the trail for future women and Latinas in tech.
Hugs and Smiles,