By Gloria Romano-Barrera.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) employee Jesse Cortez, Global Inclusion Effectiveness Lead, saw his investment in community service pay off at the Parents Step Ahead “Parent of the Year” Awards on December 2017 as he assisted in rewarding the children of the Parent of the Year Awardees with a laptop.
The students who received the laptops nominated their parents for the Parent of the Year award. For many of them, this laptop is the first they own. The Parent of the Year awardees also received a brand-new desktop computer thanks to the generosity of Nina Vaca, President and CEO of Pinnacle Group.
Parents Step Ahead (PSA), a non-profit organization based in Dallas, TX, was created in 2006 by Lupita Colmenero to remedy the growing lack of awareness troubling parents, especially underserved parents. With this in mind, Colmenero believes parental involvement is an essential component for children’s success of and for what is needed to close the achievement gap, especially among the Latino and African American community.
“I am a big fan of the work that Lupita Colmenero, founder of Parents Step Ahead is doing with the organization,” Cortez shares, “Involvement is the first step, if we are to help the youth – especially Latinas – to stay in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and so that they too have access to future job markets.”
As a first generation American and proud son of Mexican parents, Cortez was fortunate to experience many firsts in his family – first to attend college, first to gain a Master’s degree, first to hold a ‘corporate’ job.
“I am a product of those that came before me and I recognize that I too can make an impact and build inroads for others who are looking for a chance to succeed as well,” he shares.
Cortez’ story of generosity coming to fruition emulates a bigger story about HPE. Giving back has been at the core of HPE since its beginning, dating back to the legacy HP company before splitting.
“As a leading global IT company, it is important to help our world advance in many ways – including a focus on Environmental, Economic and, of course, Human impact,” he shares. “As we develop programs focused on needs such as education and financial inclusion, organizations like Parents Step Ahead help connect corporate social responsibility with the real stories and people that will continue to drive positive changes into the future.”
HPE’s community service and charitable giving defines the company culture. For example, as part of HPE’s global partnership with Kiva (a world renowned non-profit organization with a mission to alleviate poverty), HPE recently completed their annual giving campaign called “Matter to a Million”. It is done in conjunction with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation that has matched employee credits totaling millions since it was first launched in 2014.
Charitable efforts provided by employees and employers result in workplaces that are better not only for business, but for people, the future, and the world.
Cortez is currently involved with organizations that are looking after the STEM pipeline. He sits on the STEM Committee of SER National, an organization that focuses on Hispanic kids competing in Robotics competitions.
He also serves on the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) National Board. Though HITEC’s focus is on the executive pipeline, Cortez is a strong believer that students and young employees need to see other Latinas and Latinos in senior executive roles, like CIOs or Chief Information Security Officers.
For Cortez it is another way to inspire growth, prosperity and possibilities.
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