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Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th to October 15th – a month to celebrate the history and diversity of Hispanic cultures. This year’s theme, “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” invites us to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. It encourages us to remember all the contributions Hispanic and Hispanic-American people made in the past and will continue to make in the future. It’s also a reminder that we are stronger together.
This month at Cadent, we spoke with some of our Hispanic colleagues to learn more about who they are, their experiences in and out of the workplace, and what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them.
Joan Gonzalez-Delia, Ops Manager, has been with Cadent for over eight years, beginning her Cadent career in Accounting and eventually moving on to Broadcast Operations. An avid music fan, when she’s not at work, you can find her spending time outside with her family or dancing to her favorite salsa albums.
To learn more about Joan, check out our Q&A below.
The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
Tell us about your role
I manage the Broadcast Operations team. We’re in charge of getting the reporting out to advertisers, inventory sources, just making sure that we’re running the commercials the way the advertisers want them to run.
What has been your career journey?
My first media role was with Cadent! I have a marketing degree, but when I joined Cadent eight years ago, my job was with the Accounting department. Then, when the company was being reorganized, I decided to take my chances with broadcast rather than cable, because, at the time, I felt like our cable team was already very established, while broadcast was up and coming. I started off in buying and later moved on to the operations side, where I still am today.
However, my first job was in auto sales. I worked at a dealership for a long time, in their service department, taking appointments and writing up customer’s bills. Then I moved to internet sales. It was the very beginning of internet sales when people were reaching out for quotes and such on their internet packages. From there, I became a repossession manager. But after all that, I got my opportunity here at Cadent! I was referred, went through the interview process, and I got the job.
Are there any mentors or experiences that have shaped you – either professionally or personally?
I would say, personally, would have to be my stepfather. He was always my biggest fan. He told me I could do anything I put my mind to – there truly wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do in his eyes. He was a police officer, and he was in the military, so he was driven and had a lot of pride in everything that he did. I think that’s something I took from him, and it’s shaped how I am as a manager.
Professionally, I have to say Danie, our Senior Director of Broadcast Operations. When she started her role several years ago, Danie took the time take me under her wing and guide me through the business, helping me and grow into a manager position. She has been my biggest advocate. I look up to her and if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
Outside. Whether I’m out back, sitting on the hammock or in the pool, or on the beach, I enjoy anything outside in the summertime. In the wintertime, I like to listen to music – and I know that sounds awful, but I like to clean! So, if you don’t find me at the beach or doing something outside, I’m probably cleaning or organizing a closet somewhere.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you, and what does it mean to you to be a woman of Hispanic descent?
I’m Puerto Rican, so for me, I’m Spanish all the time! And it’s nice to see that we get some recognition. There are so many different cultures that fall under the Hispanic umbrella, so I feel like Hispanic Heritage Month highlights how not everybody who speaks Spanish is Mexican, that not everybody from Puerto Rico is “illegal.” I get a lot of, “You’re from Puerto Rico – do you have your green card?” and “Did you need to get your visa to come?” When, it’s like, no, I am a citizen – I was born that way.
I also think Hispanic Heritage Month brings up more conversations and in turn more knowledge to people that don’t really know much about the Hispanic community.
But what does it mean to me to be Hispanic? I take pride in it. It’s who I am, right? It’s just a part of me. My husband is Italian and I’m Puerto Rican, so I try and incorporate as much of both our cultures as I can into our kids’ lives. I make them listen to Spanish music on Saturdays while I’m cleaning. And sometimes I’ll have them dance with me. It’s part of their culture, so I feel that it’s something they should know.
Do you have any favorite movies, books, music, or other cultural inspirations from Hispanic creators?
Marc Anthony, I listen to a lot! I saw him when I was in second grade. He was a nobody, playing at a festival. But since then, he’s become a household name. My mom loves him, and I think we’ve been to four of his shows over the years. He keeps it very traditional, very salsa, and just very Puerto Rican.
What do you feel helps to foster a culture of inclusion? How have you seen those behaviors and practices successfully put into action?
Conversations help. I think what Cadent is doing when it comes DEI, putting in the time and effort to bring in all these different speakers is so important. It helps us to understand that many people, even those who look alike or work at the same job, all live very different lives.
We are so diverse as a company, which I think that’s a good sign that things are working. You’re not just forgetting about the people that make your company function. We are a big, important part of Cadent and its success.
I also think it’s important that each group be recognized whether it’s Women at Cadent, or employees who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, or our Jewish coworkers. At the end of the day, these are the people that I spend more time with at work than I do at home, so I would like to get to know them a little bit more! And having those opportunities at work, to learn more about other cultures, is pretty neat.
What challenges do you feel are faced by the Hispanic and Hispanic-American community today and what growth do you hope to see in the future?
It was two years ago, right before the pandemic, and I pulled up to the gas station. I had my Spanish music blaring, but I get out to start pumping the gas and the guy next to me was like, “We speak English.”
And I didn’t say anything because okay, that’s great, I speak English, too. But you know, I feel like if we lived in a different world or different time, I would have had a conversation with that person. For people like that, ignorance is bliss. And just because I’m Spanish or I’m listening to Spanish music doesn’t make me an any less American. It doesn’t mean that I don’t know English. It doesn’t mean that I’m here illegally.
That’s the biggest challenge, at least for myself and for the Puerto Rican community, although I can’t speak for everybody else. It’s when people think that we don’t belong here just because we’re from Puerto Rico. A lot of people don’t realize we get to vote – we don’t vote in the election, but we get to vote in the primaries. We serve our country the same way that and America that lives on the mainland serves their country.
I’ve had my share of rude comments and other incidents like that day in the gas station, but I feel like the more conversations we have about these different communities, with each other, the more it will help.
What has been your proudest moment at Cadent?
I feel like the growth I’ve been able to achieve within Cadent has made me proud to be working for Cadent. They didn’t stop me at Accounting. When I saw another opportunity, I was able to move into that and grow. I’m proud of the fact that they have allowed me to grow and that I see it happen with other people, too. There are many other people within the company that have started off here and they’ve ended up there.
I’m also proud to work for a company that listens to their employees and takes the initiative to make sure that their employees are happy.
What advice would you give to a younger colleague or a younger version of yourself?
Just be authentic. Be your true self. I try to tell my kids all the time, “We all look different, because we are different,” but what’s important is, “you believe in what you believe, so don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do or be something. If you put your mind to it, it’ll happen.” I don’t know though – I would give a lot of advice to my younger self!
Another piece of advice I would give myself is, “Don’t hold back.” I know that I’ve held a lot back because I’m a woman or because I’m young or because I’m a mom. Unfortunately, I think I’ve held myself back from doing a lot of things, that if I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it would be just to, “Be authentic, be you, and if you want to do something, just do it.”
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