Career, Career Development, Professional Growth

7 Ways to Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month at Work

A few weeks ago, I posted a poll on my Instagram stories asking people if their workplace celebrates Latinx Heritage Month. 76% said no and 24% said yes. Immediately after I posted the poll, many people sent me messages asking me for ideas or letting me know how their workplace celebrates. 

Throughout the years, I’ve been involved in many Latinx Heritage Month events in the workplace. I realize that working at a large organization has many benefits such as leadership support, resources, and a large employee base, but I do believe any organization, of any size, is able to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month in a meaningful way. 

One of my favorite things about celebrating Latinx Heritage Month at work is involving people from other cultures and backgrounds. It makes me so happy when I see a diverse crowd excited to learn about Latinx culture.

Here are seven ways your workplace can celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. 

1. Host a panel: This is your opportunity to tap into your network and show off your collaboration skills. Assembling a panel is no joke and it will take some time and effort. From finding the right mix of panelists to selecting a topic that resonates with your audience, be ready to use your coordination skills. Something to keep in mind is to select panelists with diverse perspectives and across different departments and levels of the organization. The panel should ignite meaningful conversations and engage the attendees.

2. Highlight Latinx employees: Latinx Heritage Month is a great opportunity to turn the spotlight on Latinx employees at your organization. Let’s be honest—this should be done year around, but nevertheless this is the time for Latinx employees to shine. This can be done in several ways. Is there an employee who was recently promoted or someone who is going above and beyond and deserves recognition? You can keep it simple by sending out weekly “Latinx Spotlight” emails highlighting employees’ backgrounds and accomplishments. If you are digitally talented, you can create a video or a podcast as a way to share their stories. Several years ago, I photographed Latinx employees for a photography exhibit, which was displayed at corporate headquarters. Put your creative hat on and have some fun!

3. Plan an outing: Is there a Latino museum in your area or an event with Latin American music? Many cities across the US have jazz festivals during the summer, which typically feature Latin jazz performers from all over the country. Poncho Sanchez anyone? If you live in a Latino culture hotspot such as LA, Phoenix, Austin, NYC, Miami, etc. you won’t have a problem finding an event. If your place of residence lacks Latino-related events, you can plan a cookout, meet at a restaurant, or plan a movie night. Getting out of the office environment is a great way to get to know coworkers on a deeper level while celebrating Latinx culture.

4. Partner with a local organization: Who doesn’t love giving back to the community? You can partner with a local non-profit serving the Latinx community that would benefit from your generosity. There are many ways to give back. You can fund a scholarship for local students, donate to a cause, work at a food pantry, or volunteer as a group at an event. Your generosity will be appreciated!

5. Inspire the next generation of Latinx: In this day and age, it’s important for the next generation of Latinx to see themselves represented in every facet of society. Unfortunately, this is not the case (yet). You can use Latinx Heritage Month as an opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life by partnering with a school or community organization to host a variety of events: career fair; career panel; job shadow program; mentoring program. A few years ago, I participated on a panel at a local high school where I passed out wristbands with “¡Sí se puede!” on them. They loved it!

6. Create a diversity council: If your company or organization does not have established Employee Resource/Affinity Groups, you can create a diversity council with other colleagues. The council should include a diverse group of employees of all backgrounds who are committed to diversity and inclusion initiatives. This would be a great leadership opportunity for someone who is passionate about diversity and inclusion and wants to make an impact at the organization.

7. Invite a motivational speaker: One of the most memorable events I attended was a one hour lunch and learn with “The Cuban Guy” Andres Lara. He was engaging, hilarious, and he electrified the room. Bringing in a Latinx motivational speaker is a great way to mix things up at your company. After the one hour event, everyone in the room was energized and left having made new contacts throughout the company. If your organization does not have a budget for an outside speaker, look internally for someone with superb public speaking skills and the ability to engage and entertain others.

I hope you enjoyed the list! Let me know in the comments below if there are any other ways you have celebrated Latinx Heritage Month at your workplace.