Very few people are as familiar with AT&T’s commitment to diversity as Delia Hernandez, the company’s associate director of learning services. Hernandez has been with AT&T for 26 years and has been involved in some capacity in employee resource groups since 1989. Today, she is also national president of HACEMOS, AT&T’s 6,300-member-strong Hispanic/Latino employee association with 34 chapters nationwide.
“This work is meaningful to me because at AT&T, there is a passion around helping the community,” Hernandez says. “If not for HACEMOS, I wouldn’t have many of the strong friendships I have in my life. This is a place where every voice is heard and every individual is valued.”
Workforce inclusion is something AT&T takes seriously. The precedent is set by the company’s senior leaders, who are held accountable for leading diversity initiatives because, as Hernandez says, “It’s more than just the right thing to do.” Not only does diversity within a company help better serve customers, it impacts shareholders. HACEMOS drives business impact. “It’s a no brainer,” Hernandez laughs.
Unlike other Hispanic ERGs, HACEMOS is a 501(c)(3) organization, which means all the leaders are elected, not appointed by the company. The group is also open to all employees, both hourly and union. Hernandez says this gives members more ownership over the organization and how it operates—and there’s a lot to lay claim to.
The organization is extremely community-driven. Each year, HACEMOS connects close to 2,000 students in more than 30 cities via satellite during High-Technology Day, with the goal of familiarizing them with careers in technology. Getting young people interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is key for AT&T. “There aren’t enough Latinos in STEM fields, but focusing on this area goes beyond investing in specific populations,” says Hernandez. “It’s about investing in the future of our country.”
The organization also offers mentoring opportunities for high school and college students, and the HACEMOS Scholarship Foundation has given away more than $2 million in scholarship money over the past 10 years, including more than $200,000 in 2013 alone.
The opportunities for HACEMOS members themselves are equally far-reaching: networking events, professional development through committee involvement, career strategy development, mentorship programs, leadership development courses, and workshops are just some of the many advantages offered to members. It should come as no surprise that HACEMOS was recently named one of the top five finalists at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s ERG Summit. “This kind of recognition is always nice because it tells us we’re focusing in on the right areas,” says Hernandez. “It doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels, however. We’re continuously looking for ways to grow and improve.”
Moving forward, Hernandez says her goals are the same as they’ve always been: supporting the company, the community, and HACEMOS members. “I always want to elevate the engagement of our members. I’m proud of the experience and education HACEMOS provides, and it’s wonderful to see that reflected in the success of AT&T.”
Carmen Nava reflects on a legacy of female leadership at AT&T. Read full article here.
To round out our special issue on Hispanic employee resource groups, we present our lineup of most-valuable Latino ERGs at some of the nations largest companies—including highlights on our “Top 5,” selected by guest editor, Dr. Robert Rodriguez. View the ERG Roster here.