It all began as many things do at AppNexus: with an informal email thread, in this case one circulated among a small group of AppNexians of Latino and/or Hispanic heritage, discussing the need for greater representation among Latinos in tech.
It became the kernel of the AppNexus Latino Alliance, an AppNexus Affinity Group that seeks to represent the interests of the Latino community at AppNexus and the greater cause of propelling Latino engineers, programmers and data scientists to the top echelons of the tech industry.
This was a little over a year and a half ago. Since then, the ALA has scored a remarkable string of successes. It made its debut at AppNexus by hosting a series of events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, including a Latin-themed mixology night. To cap things off, the ALA presented ¡Exito¡, a heavily attended event where Latino engineers and tech entrepreneurs spoke of both the challenges and the incredible opportunities for Latin- and Hispanic-Americans in various and fast-growing technology fields, worldwide. ¡Exito¡ was followed soon after by another event in February of this year, latinoTech, which focused on business initiatives – as well as cultural awareness – of the women and men of Latin heritage working in technology-related positions in Silicon Valley.
In the meantime, the ALA has embarked on its most ambitious cultural awareness project to date. Its new program, Language Buddies, seeks to instill language proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese throughout the greater AppNexus community worldwide. While the six-week program is run by Fluent City, a generous stipend provided by AppNexus gives $300 to every AppNexian who wants to take part in the program – reducing tuition costs to $100, and giving plenty of AppNexians all the incentive they need to hit the books.
While the initiative is primarily meant to expose AppNexians to Spanish and Portuguese for learning’s sake, there’s undeniably a business component to the initiative. Given AppNexus’ growing footprint in Latin America, and with AppNexus offices now located in the heart of São Paul, Brazil, there’s a company-wide need to understand the growing role that Latin America plays in today’s digital ecosystem. Just as importantly, there’s a concurrent need to tap into the reservoir of talented engineers and developers who call South America their home.
By strengthening the company’s awareness of Latino culture, both internally and externally, the ALA is helping to prep AppNexus for business opportunities throughout Latin America and other Spanish-speaking regions. If the ALA’s already-considerable track record is an indicator of future success, we predict nothing but greatness ahead.