At Box, we are committed to building a culture that is inclusive of individuals from all diverse backgrounds and experiences. We want to build teams that are as diverse as our customers and the world we live in, with a broad representation of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, backgrounds, and perspectives — among many other dimensions of diversity. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a vibrant, and values driven community, where Boxers feel like they belong, and this is what makes Box such an incredible place to work!
This month, we want to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month and our Latinx Employee Resource Community (ERC). The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15, recognizing the cultural heritages from countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, and many more.
Read on to see how Karla Ortiz, Ashley Fernandez, and Melina Cortez ‘Make Mom Proud’ with the amazing work they do for our Latinx ERC community:
What influenced you to join an ERC at Box?
Karla: Having a sense of community is what ultimately influenced me to join an ERC at Box.
Ashley: I saw how much of a staple ERCs were in the New York office, such as BEN (Black Excellence Network), Pride, and BWN (Box Women's Network). It seemed very natural that Boxers were involved in at least one community. ERC's became a great avenue to meet people outside of my immediate office to discover and discuss common interests and passions.
Melina: As someone who was new to the company, I was excited to meet people in the company who shared similar values. I noticed that Boxers truly care about diversity, inclusion and community. That was very exciting for me. I wanted to have a sense of community and to be able to make a difference in the company by furthering the efforts to make Box a more diverse and inclusive place to work.
What does belonging mean to you? And what does belonging look like at Box?
Karla: Belonging to me means being in an environment in which everyone feels comfortable bringing every and any part of themselves to the table. One of Box's values is "Bring your ___ self to work"; I think it's reflective of the inclusive community at Box.
Ashley: We have this dichotomy of our work self and real self. We spend so many hours at work and so many hours online -- to seamlessly go about your day and not feel like you're hiding, and meeting others with common interests, is a great part of the Box culture. A lot of our discussions in the ERC community are amazing and make me feel more confident in the company I work for and it makes me proud to be a Boxer.
Melina: Belonging means that anyone can bring their ___ self to work and feel like they are able to come as they are and not feel like they have to hide any part of themselves. The ERCs allow you to flex that muscle and then you bring that out to your regular work. You can go to a meeting and have a great conversation and feel like you've really opened up. What is holding me back from being my ___ self outside of this ERC community? Finding a place that you belong at Box.
What stood out to you about the ERC community at Box?
Karla: The Talent & Belonging team here at Box has done a great job in centralizing ERC efforts and bringing Boxers together across different ERCs. I'm very grateful for this community given that this has also been my first technology company I've ever worked for.
Ashley: Many companies have Employee Resource Communities, but what makes Box special is the executive leadership presence and involvement. Box has seen that when communities come together, they thrive together. ERCs existed at my previous company, however, there wasn't the same level of support, funding, or leadership to back it. Having executive leadership here at Box that really care about our efforts is great! Our executive sponsor, Jon Herstein (CCO), attends our Latinx meetings where we discuss real topics in and outside the workplace. Jon takes our feedback and comes back with additional insight or has answers to what we actually ask for. Seeing executives take ownership of the ERCs they co-sponsor is very unlike other tech companies. Additionally, I think one of the major qualities that stood out to me was the way that ERCs work together and collaborate. You'll often see ERCs teaming up to execute game nights, virtual events, and philanthropic work as a way to make a bigger impact on, and for, Box. Leading an ERC can be quite daunting, as you're not sure if you're doing enough, doing too much, or doing it just right, but the ERC community is there to help make the work meaningful - not exhausting.
Melina: +1000 to Ashley's comment above. The ERC community is very supportive here at Box. Some of us may be scrappy, others more organized, but there is room and space for both.
What are some exciting things happening with the Latinx ERC today?
Karla: Hispanic Heritage Month events are upcoming!
Ashley: Being remote, we've definitely had to shift the way we engage our members and the community at large. With Hispanic Heritage Month, we had our kickoff at our monthly meeting on September 16th and we have a ton of exciting events coming up to celebrate.
Melina: Being virtual allows us to meet more people who might not have been able to make our meetings or events before, because they are in a different time zone or lack of physical Latinx ERC presence in their office. Now, it's easy to hop on a zoom and get involved.
What does thriving in the workplace mean to you? How do you feel like you thrive at Box?
Karla: Thriving in the workplace means having the right tools to successfully navigate this industry. I feel that Box has done a great job of providing me opportunities for growth and development.
Ashley: I thrive when I'm able to bring my whole and most authentic self to work. I can discuss topics that affect me and our communities comfortably. At Box, there are allies outside of the Latinx community that support us and care about the topics that impact us.
Melina: Thriving is being able to be yourself and feeling supported by your community and employer. I feel supported and if I am having an issue, I know I can talk to someone about it. The dialogues are very open and supportive because of the ERC community and it has allowed me to thrive in my day to day.
How do you find community internally? How do you find safe spaces?
Karla: When I first joined Box, I found the sense of community through the Latinx ERC. By joining the ERC, I was able to meet Boxers that look like me outside of my org who were doing amazing things in other parts of the company.
Ashley: Box strives to be as diverse and as inclusive as possible. When we think about community, community can look very different to everyone. Finding that community is finding people who care about you. It also means caring about people who look like you and also for those who don't. I've been able to identify with people that care about things that I do.
Melina: The friendships I've made through ERC's have really kept me here at Box. I'm able to share and confide in many of my colleagues and because of them, I feel supported.
Thank you to our amazing ERC leaders for sharing their experiences!