Being a queer, brown woman without a degree, I knew every step of my life would be an uphill battle. Small things connected the dots for me—like purposely being given a gender-neutral, white-passing name and being told by my family to always mark my ethnicity as white and never Hispanic. What hit me the hardest as a young girl was learning about a statistic that stated Hispanic women were most likely to earn the lowest income in the U.S. I used that information as motivation. I became a go-getter so that no one could ever tell me that I couldn’t do something.
Understanding the challenges of what people like me face isn't just morally right; it's crucial for business success. The Hispanic population in the U.S. is more than 60 million people and grew by 23% between 2010 and 2020. We are an underutilized asset as both a target audience and a potential talent pool. Many of us are still struggling to find our way into the industry, which not only holds us back as individuals but also holds back brands and agencies that could benefit from our perspectives.
This might sound ridiculous, but six years ago, I had no clue that advertising agencies existed. That’s how far outside of the system I grew up in. When I learned about them, my instant reaction was “Whoa. Could someone like me work for one of these cool agencies? Is that even allowed?” Some of us are systematically groomed to think we can dream only as big as what society decides is achievable for us.