The Most Influential Hispanic People in Tech
Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 to October 15) seeks to highlight the contributions of people of Hispanic origin in the United States, and in that spirit, this list puts the spotlight on some of the most influential in the technology sector. Special emphasis is placed on those who hold important positions and do their best to ensure that the Hispanic community is best represented in the world of technology.
Members of the Latino and Hispanic communities have long held prominent positions in the world’s largest technology companies, and it’s no surprise: We are a young, hard-working, and highly creative community.
This article was translated from the original Spanish version published on Digital Trends en Español.
María Teresa Arnal (Stripe)
Arnal has held important positions in companies such as Google and Microsoft, and her current position involves heading the Latin American division of Stripe, an online payment-processing firm for companies that operate online. The executive emphasizes the importance of motivating girls to be curious about science and problem-solving. “One of the challenges we have in the male-dominated world is that there is no role model for us,” she said earlier this year to Forbes México.
Guillermo Diaz Jr. (Kloudspot)
Diaz, who is of Mexican descent, worked 20 years for the technology firm Cisco, where he strongly championed the concept of the Internet of Everything: The smart connection of people, processes, data, and things. In an interview, he said that when he was asked if he was ready to become the firm’s chief information officer, it he became flooded with emotions, with honor being the strongest among them. Today, he is CEO at Kloudspot, which helps businesses in their digital transformation.
María Ferreras (Netflix)
After being vice president of business development for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Ferreras now serves as global head of partnerships. She holds a master’s degree in telecommunications engineering and a postgraduate degree in marketing. Before joining the Los Gatos, California-based firm, where she oversees all its alliances and partnerships, she worked at Google for 10 years.
Making language learning easy and accessible for everyone was the mission from day one at Duolingo, according to its founder, Guatemalan von Ahn. He indicates that, as a Latino, “it is fundamental that Duolingo becomes an important part of the learning process and the desire of other Spanish speakers to improve themselves.” Before the language app, Von Ahn sold reCAPTCHA, the security service that protects websites from fraud and abuse, to Gogle.
Family, integrity, and passion are the values that Celis uses to define himself. At the age of 15, his passion for technology led him to study Computer Science in Caracas, Venezuela. Upon graduation, he got a job at Microsoft. Since then, 29 years have passed and he continues at the Redmond, Washington-based company, where he has held important management positions. “I am an industry leader who is passionate about transforming companies and taking them to the next level by defining and aligning strategies, people, processes, and capabilities in unique and highly differentiated ways.”
Paula Bellizia (Google)
Bellizia, who has also worked at Microsoft, currently holds the position of vice president of marketing for Latin America at Google. One of her objectives is to support the digital transformation of the region. When asked how to create more inclusive workplaces, the executive says that, in the specific case of gender, “we can encourage more women to pursue careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” Other strategies include increasing the percentage of woman hired and providing them with opportunities for professional development and growth.
Víctor Delgado (Samsung)
Delgado leads Samsung’s Strategic Alliances area from South Korea, where he aims to develop new business opportunities and drive strategic partnerships to deliver the most innovative mobility solutions. He also played a leading role in the presentation of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable phone in 2020. The Latino says that one of his greatest points of pride was starting at the South Korean company as a phone salesman in the United States, and he is grateful for all the support the firm has given him. Before joining Samsung, he worked for companies such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint.
Vaca is one of the most influential Hispanics in the business world. The Ecuadorian-born entrepreneur arrived in Los Angeles at a very young age with her parents. In 1996, she founded Pinnacle Group, “a workforce solutions powerhouse,” and has dedicated much of her professional career to expanding opportunities for minorities and women in business. She received the Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship appointment from the White House in 2014.
Lilian Rincón (Google)
Rincón, a Venezuelan, has been influential in one of the most disruptive services in recent years: Google Assistance. Rincón leads the group that creates new features and functions for the platform. She was nine years old when she arrived in Canada. Although she didn’t speak English at the time, she found a universal language in mathematics. She previously worked at Skype, has always focused on the tech industry, and is well-versed in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Undurraga, who hails from Chile, co-founded Cornershop, which allows the purchase of groceries online via cell phone. All of its shares were acquired by Uber in 2021. “Startups can have a significantand transformative impact on society: Creating jobs, positioning Chile in other countries, attracting foreign investment, and, above all, creating prosperity for many people who then become angel investors and can support and finance the new generation of entrepreneurs,” he recently told La Tercera.
Marcelo Claure (Softbank)
Of Bolivian origin, Claure was the most visible face of the telecommunications firm Sprint as its CEO. Today, he is the head of SoftBank Group International, a Japanese holding company that invests in artificial intelligence and other transformative technologies. Previously, Claure founded Brightstar Corporation.
Ignacio Contreras (Qualcomm)
This Chilean has been highly influential as the 5G network has rolled out in recent years. He holds a management position at Qualcomm, where he has been working for more than 12 years. From his childhood, he remembers that his father used to give him money and, instead of spending it on comics, he used to buy everything he needed to build small circuits. In an interview with Digital Trends en Español, he assures that the 5G network will soon cease to be premium and will become standard.
Diana Trujillo (NASA)
The goal of this Colombian was always to work at NASA — and she achieved it. Trujillo moved to the United States at the age of 17 to ralize her dream. It was not easy, as she did not know English and paid for her college education with the money she earned cleaning houses. She first worked at Goddard Space Flight Center, and now she is the flight director of the Mars 2020 mission. On February 18, 2021, the mission’s Perseverance robot began its search for evidence of microbial life on that planet. On that day, Trujillo anchored NASA’s first Spanish-language broadcast of a planetary landing.
Francisco Ramos (Netflix)
Ramos holds the position of vice president of content for Latin America at Netflix. There, he is responsible for all original series, movies, and licensed content for the region. Before arriving at the streaming video platform in 2017, he worked with the media corporation Grupo Zeta, Antena 3 Televisión, Aurum Producciones, Morgan Creek, Spyglass, and Miramax. The Mexican holds a law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.