For the first time in the company’s history, Joanna Banegas became the first Latina employee at Hollister Staffing to participate in Conexión early-career mentoring program. Conexión is a nonprofit that provides Hispanic/Latinx leaders into strategic and innovative executives who lead organizations that harness the positive impact of the expanding Hispanic/Latinx presence. For the past several years, Hollister Staffing has become an immense advocate and sponsor of Conexión.
After graduating from the early-cohort program in June 2019, Joanna felt empowered to volunteer in her community by becoming a Site Leader for Conexión’s Teen Talk program. This is 6-month program where Latinx professionals speak at schools to Latinx students about how to strive high in their career aspirations, to become future leaders and meaningful contributors in this community.
On Friday, December 13th, the Teen Program kicked off its first speaker series at Jasmin Munoz High School with two fearless speakers: Dr. Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez and Dr. Hector de Jesus-Cortez. Dr. Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez is currently an Instructor and Research Staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Jesus-Cortez is a postdoctoral fellow at the Brain and Cognitive department at MIT. They both presented on personal stories based on their journeys to becoming neuroscientists and provided a very interesting session on the brain. Afterwards, students in the audience asked insightful questions to the speakers and exchanged contact information for future engagement and mentorship.
Most importantly, the speakers sent an empowering message to the students: Embrace your culture and make it a part of your journey to your future career. Joanna said, “Finding role models who look like us in the professional world is very difficult. It is rare to see a Latino or person of color on the cover of a Fortune-500 magazine. The Teen Talks series provides students with role models who look like them, speak similarly, and understand the challenges of being a minority in this country. Having high self-esteem about your culture is key to overcoming stereotypes, especially during the present political-socioeconomic environment.”