Equinix Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

GenteConnect honors a dynamic culture this month and year-round

Sal Torres
Maria De la O Gomez
Equinix Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

At Equinix, we have a guiding principle around which we seek to build our workplace. The principle asserts that all employees should be able to say, “I’m safe, I belong, and I matter.” Actually living the principle comes through many different practices, from everyday interactions to training, collaboration, events and more. We know that a workforce who can confidently claim they feel like they are safe, belong and matter, is a workforce that is more satisfied and is even more committed to their work, each other and their customers.

In our Equinix Employee Connection Networks (EECNs), we see the day-to-day practice of belonging brought into clear view. One great example is GenteConnect (“Gente” is the Spanish word for “people”), which was founded with the vision of promoting Hispanic/Latino languages, culture and heritage. It also seeks to encourage, develop, and advance outstanding Hispanic/Latino talent through recruitment and mentorship. The group is commited to building cross-cultural bridges and capturing the power of our creativity and experience to expand Equinix’s competitive advantage.​

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From a small connection to a global family

I’m proud to be a founding member of GenteConnect and to share a bit more of its inception. I am based in California, though my work connects me with colleagues across the globe. One connection I made early on was with Tony Kerstjens, an IBX Technician in Amsterdam. We bonded over our shared language and cultural similarities. We had a feeling there were many more like us, eager to converse in a shared language—in our case, Spanish—and exchange stories that unite us.

In 2017, when Equinix acquired a Spanish company with more than 250 employees plus another smaller company in Colombia, we knew it was time for GenteConnect to take shape. We had an enthusiastic group ready to join.

Tony remembers, “Back in 2016 I was scrolling through the email distribution list and saw many Hispanic last names. Even though I have a Dutch last name, I was raised in Spain. I was eager to chat again in Spanish. After many ‘holas’ with Spanish-speaking colleagues, I met Sal. That was the beginning of an exciting endeavour.”

Tony credits our EECNs with providing learning opportunities as well as cultural celebrations. “With interest and respect for our background stories, we are opening our minds to accept others. Through empathetic conversation, we learn.”

Equinix operates in the following countries where Spanish and Portuguese is predominantly spoken: Colombia, Mexico, Spain as well as Brazil and Portugal. We have members across the globe, including those who simply want to learn and evolve with us. This “family” we’ve formed does not remain isolated. Instead, we maintain close ties with all groups of Equinix employees, especially our other EECNs, and with anyone who shows an interest in learning more.

I have found that people truly crave human interaction, not just for the personal relationship but also for the amazing discovery of another’s perspective. With GenteConnect we have created so many opportunities for people to connect. People we may not have ever met in other countries, we now count as friends. Coworkers with whom we may not have ever collaborated are now partners on projects. We have shared so many stories about the uniqueness of a Latinx upbringing from the music that shaped the soundtracks of our youth to the ways we celebrate our family traditions with food we have passed on through generations.

Celebrating the culture

Some of the best ways to learn about a culture involve studying the language, songs, dance and art of a particular place or group. GenteConnect celebrates learning by providing regular initiatives like Spanish and Portuguese language lessons and Zumba classes. We also look outside of the business for partnerships. We partnered with Opera for Peace an organization that aims to develop opera in all countries and held a colloquium with Dolores Huerta, co-founder and of the Farm Workers Union of America. Both helped raise awareness of GenteConnect and gave back to the community.

There is no better time to celebrate this community than during National Hispanic Heritage Month—celebrated in the United States from September 15 through October 15. This month is marked by “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

GenteConnect is looking forward to celebrating this month with our colleagues through:

  • An opening ceremony, “Somos Multiculturales, Celebrating our Latinx diversity,” with LatinaVida
  • An inspirational learning opportunity with Diversity Best Practices empowering individuals and employee resource groups
  • A global session on Latin American Business & Culture with our IBX Operations teams
  • Participation in volunteer opportunities for the Hispanic and Latino communities during October which is Equinix’s Impact Month
  • And, of course, plenty of music, photos, and stories

Equinix gives all of us an excellent opportunity to shape a vibrant and diverse community. Through my career, I was visibly absent from the boardrooms where decisions were made. Now, as GenteConnect co-leader, I advocate on behalf of a marvelous group of GenteConnect members to build an even better Equinix, one that embraces diversity not just because it is the right thing to do, but because harnessing all our diverse backgrounds evolves our corporate culture and makes Equinix a better partner, employer and corporate leader.

Equinix is committed to representing the communities we serve including through diverse hiring at all levels. To find out more about a career at Equinix, visit our Careers site.

Sal Torres
Sal Torres Senior Director, Legal, Commercial Transactions
Maria De la O Gomez
Maria De la O Gomez Program Manager, Tools and Processes