“Most people know about the Latino population in terms of statistics,” says T-Mobile External Diversity and Inclusion Council member Gilbert Casellas. “There are 58 million of us, with a GDP that’s equivalent to $2.3 trillion, and if we were a separate country we would be the eighth largest country in the world. Fortunately, we’re part of this great country and making it even greater.”
As a way to highlight Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, T-Mobile announced it is honoring its Hispanic employees and customers through community giving, events and dialogues that promote Hispanic voices under the central theme of Orgullosos de Nuestro Pasado. Enfrentando el Presente. Impactando el Futuro. — Proud of our Past. Facing the Present. Impacting the Future.
Impacting the future is the keen focus of the company’s External D&I Council, as their work to advise T-Mobile on its DE&I initiatives now begins.
Casellas, former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has put that belief into action with his extensive legal and policy experience as a diversity, equity and inclusion advisor to several major corporations, governmental commissions and universities. He says Hispanic Heritage Month is a reminder to everyone the multifaceted role the Latinx population plays in the success of the country.
“Bring your whole selves to work,” urges Casellas. “Let your voices be heard. As our country and its institutions and businesses become increasingly more diverse, I believe we as Latinos will have a greater role in driving that success.”
For its part, T-Mobile has been recognized as a Best Employer for Latinos in the Nation by Latino Leaders Magazine and named 2018 Corporation of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Throughout this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, the company’s over 55 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chapters across the country gave their members an opportunity to learn and have meaningful conversations with virtual panel discussions, cultural exchanges and guest speakers that explored the topics of culture, history, representation and equity.
Listening to these voices serves as motivation for fellow council member Sindy Benavides, the Chief Executive Officer of LULAC. She says working with T-Mobile’s External D&I Council creates a gold standard for all companies when it comes to engaging their Latinx employees and is a way for her to pay homage to those who came before her.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a special month to celebrate and honor our ancestors, especially for their mission, their courage, their sacrifice and their love,” says Benavides. “I hope that through the work I do every single day at the League of United Latin America Citizens, the oldest and largest national Latino civil rights organization in the country, that I honor their legacy, their sacrificio , because they gave everything for me.”
Both Casellas and Benavides say they are encouraged as they think about the Hispanic community’s impact at T-Mobile and in the U.S.
“We have a proud legacy and our future is bright,” says Casellas.
T-Mobile has honored that legacy this Hispanic Heritage Month with donations to organizations that provide resources for a bright future, including a $10,000 donation to the Latino Community Fund as part of the company’s Community Spotlight program with the Seattle Mariners and by doubling employee donations to El Centro de la Raza, an educational, cultural and social service agency that provides support centering around the Latinx community but not excluding others in need.
“We know that in 2050 we will be 130 million Latinos strong,” says Benavides. “My hope is we as a community understand our power, understand our heritage and understand we come from a united, strong, courageous community with leaders that make up who we are today.”
And, of course, in the future.