The nationally recognized Hispanic Heritage Month grew out of a desire to educate people all over the country about the many contributions the Hispanic community has made to U.S. culture.
Here at McAfee Enterprise, we’re taking this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month to spotlight members of the LatinX community who are using their platforms to make their voices heard and contribute to the cybersecurity community. I spoke with Arnie Lopez, Vice President Worldwide Systems Engineering, about his heritage and journey to cybersecurity.
What do you enjoy most about your heritage and what is one of your favorite memories growing up?
I love our food and music. I remember my mom cooking up some great dishes while we danced around the house listening to fun music.
How have Hispanic/LatinX individuals helped contribute to where you are today in life and career?
I had two great LatinX mentors/role models, Carlos Dominguez and Guillermo Diaz that helped tremendously early in my career.
Tell us about your journey to a career in technology and how your heritage played a role to where you are today?
Our culture is hard working and sometimes very stubborn. Early in my career I was very interested in technology and asked people to teach me different types of technologies and would not take no for an answer. I started early on with learning computers, then servers, networking, security, then cloud and applications. All of this helped my career and had a huge impact.
What do you hope to pass on to future generations?
Embrace your LatinX culture, use it as a differentiator when competing for new roles.
What are the three most important things that people should know about your culture?
1) Our passion makes us great team members
2) We love to have fun… Work hard and play hard
3) We come in many different colors and sub-cultures but have common core values
Is there a tradition or celebration that you hope that your descendants maintain?
I hope my kids and nephews keep up the celebration of Bolivian Independence Day (Seis de Agosto). It’s a big national party on August 6 every year with music, food and dancing.
As the country continues to grow more diverse, what advice would you give to young Hispanic/LatinX individuals interested in starting a career in cybersecurity?
Don’t be intimated by the lack of LatinX in Cyber, it’s up to us to change the demographics and we will do it. Find a LatinX mentor or coach that already works in Cyber to provide you candid and honest feedback and guidance.
What are some of your ideas on how to attract more Hispanic/LatinX individuals to cybersecurity?
Get involved, participate, and give back. Get involved in LatinX youth, corporate and University panels and events and tell your story. “If they can SEE it, They can BE it!”