As a Latina, it's empowering to see fellow Latinas making significant strides in education and their careers. But sadly, you can get discouraged if you look around the office and realize you are only one there. ¿Dónde estamos? Eventually we will see more strong and intelligent Latinas dominating positions of power. Until then, we should embrace the advantages of being the only Latina in the workplace so we can help pave the way for others in the future.
You Provide More Value to the Company
Yes, it is likely that you will become the go-to person for Spanish translations and all things Latino. While it may be annoying at first, I say, "Embrace this, mujer!"
By 2050, Latinos are expected to account for almost 30 percent of the U.S. population, and companies are starting to realize how important it is to target this demographic. If you’re the only Latina in the office, your bosses will be looking to you for guidance and assistance on how to reach out to Latinos. Your knowledge and experience provides a significant value to the company. In turn, you also feel like you’re making major contributions to your employer.
"Being the only Latina at my previous workplace, I felt like I provided more value to my office. I became the go-to person for any Latino insights my company needed for business pitches and proposals,” says Sonia Angobaldo, an account supervisor at a Dallas advertising agency. “I know my contributions were important to the current and future success of the company. It was empowering!”
So the next time you’re asked to assist with a Spanish translation or provide a Latino insight, don’t see it as a negative. In the eyes of your boss, being the only Latina at work makes you a valued employee, as you are providing them with insight they otherwise wouldn’t have. Your boss realizes how integral you are to the business, which in turn goes to another advantage.
You Can Make Valuable Connections
When the president of my old company had to speak to a potential new business partner, he panicked when he realized the man only spoke Spanish. As the only Latina at my company, I was quickly called in to assist with translating and mediating the conversation. Even though I was an entry-level employee, I now had the opportunity to speak with the president one on one to assist with a business conversation. This was an amazing connection I wouldn't have had the opportunity to make if I didn't speak Spanish!
Whatever point you are in your career, the value and knowledge we have as Latinas positions us in a unique situation at times. For instance, you could be a junior-level employee and are being asked by your supervisor to work with a senior executive to assist with a new diversity project because you are the only Latina in the office and they want your opinion. You now have the chance to work with an executive you might not have had access to before.
Now is the time to show these new connections what you’re worth so they can refer and recommend you to other connections as well. And all it began because you were the only Latina at work!
You Are More Marketable
By 2017, Latinos will account for $1.7 trillion dollars worth of purchasing power in the U.S. That’s a ton of dinero! Companies want to capitalize on this. As such, more companies and businesses want to hire us to assist with reaching out to our demographic.
If you’re the only Latina in the office and the go-to person for all things Latino, why would they want you to leave to go to another company?! On the flip side, you have various companies seeking you out to join their teams; it’s a great position to be in, as: MARKETABILITY = POWER.
Now who doesn’t want to be a Latina in Charge? Your company realizes what an asset you are and wants to ensure you continue to work with them. They know other companies understand your worth as well. This provides you more leverage in terms of salary negotiation, promotion discussions, and more!
So embrace being the only Latina at
work! Sí, se puede!