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8 influential Hispanic leaders in technology

Hispanic tech leaders are making their mark on the industry, but there is still a significant amount of progress to be made.

The tech industry is becoming increasingly diverse, and Hispanic leaders are playing a major role in shaping its future.

But as with women and Black tech workers, there is a significant amount of progress to be made. Hispanic and Latino tech workers make up a small percentage of the technology workforce. Only 8% of tech workers are Hispanic or Latino, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center study. The percentage is even smaller for women, with Hispanic women or Latinas only holding 1% of the tech workforce.

The following Hispanic and Latino tech professionals are leading the way in changing how the tech industry values inclusion and diversity.

Elizabeth Agosto: Executive director and global COO at BNY Mellon

At BNY Mellon's Information Security Division, Elizabeth Agosto leads the department's administrative, operational and financial aspects. She is recognized for her dedication to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion and actively champions the cause of enhancing diversity within the field of cybersecurity.

Agosto is also co-chair of the Year Up Financial Services Technology Advisory Council at BNY Mellon, and she holds positions within both the DiverseTech Committee and the Latin Advisory Council. She's involved in the Hispanic Latino Leadership Forum, Women's Initiatives Network, Women in Technology, the National Hispanic Corporate Council and the Association for Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).

Notably, Agosto was honored with the Hispanic IT Executive Council 100 Award in 2017 and 2022, recognizing her as one of the 100 most influential and noteworthy Hispanic professionals in the technology industry.

Ignacio Contreras: Senior director of products and technologies marketing at Qualcomm

Originally from Chile, Ignacio Contreras currently leads the product marketing team at Qualcomm focused on 5G and licensing for AI, gaming, Bluetooth, infrastructure and Wi-Fi. In 2009, he joined Qualcomm when the company was growing their 3G and 4G businesses. Contreras also has experience managing support of IoT and automotive technologies.

From a young age, Contreras showed interest in technology, choosing to build small circuits over buying comics. He graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and a master's in engineering sciences. Contreras holds two patents related to electric vehicle charging systems and small cells.

Guillermo Diaz Jr.: Founder and CEO at Conectado Inc.

Before founding Web3 and AI digital platform Conectado in 2022, Guillermo Diaz Jr. served as the global chief information officer at Cisco for more than 20 years.

Diaz started his telecommunications career in the U.S. Navy. He held senior IT positions at Silicon Graphics, Alza Corp. and Ingram Micro before his tenure at Cisco.

Inclusion and diversity are important to Diaz, who is the chairman at Hispanic IT Executive Council. At Cisco, he was a leader within the Cisco Diversity Council and served as the visionary executive sponsor for Conexión, Cisco's dedicated Hispanic/Latino employee resource organization. He also serves on social impact boards for the Cristo Rey High School Work Study program and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Initiative.

Manny Medina: Co-founder and CEO at Outreach

Manny Medina is the CEO of Outreach -- an AI-based sales engagement platform -- co-founding the company in 2014. Born in Ecuador, Medina made the decision to pursue higher education in the United States at the age of 20.

Medina's journey in the tech industry began with an early hire position at Amazon's AWS team. Following this, he ventured to Microsoft where he rose to become the director of business development.

At Outreach, Medina focuses on business growth but is also dedicated to fostering inclusivity and diversity. He has championed initiatives to eliminate barriers for immigrant employees, creating a workplace that values diverse perspectives and actively works against microaggressions.

Lilian Rincon: Senior director of product management at Google

Lilian Rincon is the senior director of product management at Google and leads the development of new features and functions for Google Assistant. She was born and raised in Venezuela before moving to Canada at age 9.

Rincon previously worked at Skype before moving to Google in 2017. She has worked on Microsoft's platform Conversations, as well as Bing, Bing Mobile, adCenter and Skype Mobile. Currently, she works on incorporating AI and machine learning with Google Assistant.

Rincon was named one of the 15 most powerful women at Google in 2019. She's been widely recognized as an important Latina leader in technology.

Diana Trujillo: Aerospace engineer and flight director at NASA

Diana Trujillo is an aerospace engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). She is a flight director and the robotic arm system domain lead for the Mars Perseverance mission. She is also an advocate for STEM education and diversity in the workforce, providing weekly updates on the Perseverance mission in both English and Spanish.

Trujillo was born in Colombia and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. She joined JPL in 2008 and has held a variety of positions, including mission lead on the Mars Curiosity rover.

Trujillo is a recipient of many awards and honors, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. She was named one of "Los 22 Más," which is a list of the 22 Colombians who best represent Colombia. She has also been awarded the Comendador of Orden de Boyacá by the president of Colombia, Colombia's highest civilian honor.

Nina Vaca: Chairperson and CEO at Pinnacle Group

Nina Vaca founded Pinnacle Group as a small staffing business in 1996. Today, the company supports more than 5,000 employees and offers several IT services for staffing, managed service providers and payroll. Pinnacle has also been named one of the fastest growing women-owned/led companies in the U.S. by the Women Presidents' Organization.

Vaca was born in Ecuador and her family immigrated to Los Angeles when she was a child. With the success of Pinnacle Group, Vaca has become a one of the most influential Hispanic women in tech and business. She is often recognized for her philanthropic efforts and as a voice for entrepreneurship and women's empowerment. Vaca has pledged to bring more women into the C-suite and onto boards with organizations such as 2020 Women on Boards.

Read more about organizations that promote women in STEM.

Among many awards and notable recognition, Vaca has been named as one of the 50 most powerful Latinas by ALPFA and one of the 101 most influential Latinos in America by Latino Leaders Magazine. She received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur award.

Luis von Ahn: Co-founder and CEO at Duolingo

Originally from Guatemala, Luis von Ahn co-founded reCAPTCHA, which uses CAPTCHAs to help digitize books and other documents. ReCAPTCHA has been used to digitize more than 200 million books and other documents. In 2009, he co-founded Duolingo, which uses a gamified approach to language learning. The mobile app has been used by more than 500 million people worldwide.

Von Ahn is committed to supporting Hispanic and Latino communities, joining the executive committee of Partnership for Central America in 2021. In the same year, he established the Luis von Ahn Foundation, which focuses on supporting Guatemalan women and girls through financially supporting local community leaders and nonprofit organizations.

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