NextGen Collective recently spotlighted Orlando Gomez of Drift and Web3 Familia as a Latinx to Watch. Keep reading to find out more about who inspires him the most, how Latinx professionals can advocate for themselves, and more.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. My parents are from a small ranch town in Mexico outside of León, Guanajuato, called Jesús del Monte.
What do you do today and where do you want to go in your career?
I’m currently building out the Drift for Startups program as a senior business development representative. In addition to that role, I recently founded Web3 Familia. We’re an education DAO focused on onboarding one million Latinos to Web3.
It’s been such a rewarding experience building alongside incredible Latinos who want nothing more than to see our community thrive. I look forward to a long career of working to provide access to tech, education, capital, and opportunities to those who have been historically overlooked.
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
My dad. He came to the US from Mexico in the 1970s. He worked in the strawberry fields of California and eventually made his way to the steel factories of Chicago. Despite leaving middle school to take care of his brothers and sisters, he’s been a lifelong learner. At seventy-two years old, he owns crypto and a Deadfellaz NFT. WAGMI.
Whose career really inspires you?
I’m inspired by the career of Ruben Harris, CEO and cofounder of Career Karma. From his hustle to break into investment banking to his hustle to break into tech, his application of “Why can’t I?” is something that deeply resonates with me. He’s also scaling mentorship through content, enabling millions to enter the tech workforce using Career Karma, and most impressive of all, doing it while staying authentic, eclectic, and humble.
What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?
Identify your superpowers as early as possible and lean into them. Your job won’t always be your life’s passion, but you will enjoy it more and be better at it if you’re doing work that enables your genius. Be too good to be ignored.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for Latinx professionals early in their careers?
Lack of representation. It’s difficult to envision your success when you’re the first or only Latinx professional to have been in your position. One, you can’t be what you can’t see, and two, it’s a matter of advocacy. When senior leaders can’t relate to your life experiences, it’s harder to build those connections that lead to your name being mentioned in rooms you’re not in.
How can Latinx professionals better advocate for themselves?
When you’re the minority, you need to make yourself seen. Develop an online presence. Build your brand. Leverage social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Make it so people know what you’re about, and what you can bring to the table, before ever meeting you. You can still be humble without downplaying your achievements.
What podcast or lifehack can you not live without?
Running. It improves my mood, gives me energy, spurs creativity, provides mental clarity, reduces anxiety, and keeps me in shape. If I ever need to give a presentation, write a song, or make an important decision, I go for a run first.
What behavior or personality traits do you most attribute to your success?
As an introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging (INFJ) personality type, I need to do tons of research before deciding on what comes next. The benefit is that once I make up my mind, I can relentlessly execute on it with limitless patience. I spent five years studying for the GMAT so I could attend a top business school, I spent eight months unemployed trying to break into the right startup, and I applied for the same venture capital internship three times before being accepted.
Things may not always come easily, but like Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Which causes are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about financial literacy, tech literacy, and reducing gun violence. Nothing breaks my heart more than untapped or lost human potential. Access to capital and tech can change lives. Keeping our communities safe can extend them.