Sergio Flores, Sales Planner for our cable division, has been with Cadent for less than a year and has already started to make an impact. Starting a new job while most of the team was remote was no small task, but Sergio took It upon himself to build connections with his coworkers. To learn more about Sergio, check out our Q&A below.
Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15th to October 15th and serves as a month to celebrate the history and diversity of Hispanic cultures. It invites us to remember all the contributions Hispanic, Latina/o/e/x, and Afro-Latina/o/e/x people made in the past and will continue to make in the future. This year’s theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.
This month at Cadent, we spoke with some of our Hispanic, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx colleagues to learn more about who they are, their experiences in and out of the workplace, and what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them.
Tell us about your role.
I work on the cable side of Cadent as a Sales Planner. I assist Account Executives with building linear TV plans for the agencies they work with. In my day-to-day work, I also help with reporting, invoicing, and communicating campaign information to the agencies. I’ve been at Cadent for 9 months and have learned so much in a short period of time. It’s been an amazing experience getting to work alongside people with so much experience and knowledge, it’s something that genuinely excites me.
What has been your career journey?
My career journey has been like a road trip – multiple stops and many bumps along the way, but thankfully, I eventually found the path that I’m on today. I’ve done everything from work as a shift supervisor at Starbucks to construction, to hotel front desk reception, to cold calling. Most recently, I worked at Yelp and was able to get my foot in the door as a sales assistant for direct response campaigns. Early in my career, I didn’t yet understand why I had to go through the challenges I experienced while trying to establish my career. I thought, ‘If I have my college degree, that should be enough to secure a job in the field I want,” but I quickly learned, it’s not that simple. Now that I’m older, I can appreciate that each opportunity helped me become who I am today.
Are there any mentors or experiences that have shaped you – either professionally or personally?
I have been blessed to have had people in my life that have taken me under their wing and have provided advice, opportunities, hard truths, and an example of where hard work can take you. Two people that come to mind are my mom and my dad. I am a first generation American – my mom and dad came to the U.S. from Mexico at a young age. Seeing them maneuver through all the trials and tribulations of life with minimal resources or support, traversing life in a country that was foreign to them, showed me that if you want something and you work hard, there is nothing you can’t accomplish. Seeing my parents’ journey allowed me to understand that no hurdle is too high and that excuses are not an option. That go-getter mentality has helped me make strides in my career and pushes me to continue to be better every day.
Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
During the week, you’ll most likely find me at the gym. On the weekends, I’ll be walking around the city with my headphones in – and maybe a shopping bag or two. I love New York and try to experience any new restaurant, bar, or outdoor activity I can. One of my favorite things to do if I had a stressful day or week is throw on some music and walk along the water, here in Manhattan. It is something I used to do when I was struggling with something, and I continue to do it to keep me grounded and remind me of how far I have come.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a beautiful way to honor my heritage, my family and our journey. It also allows us to show all Latinos/Latinas growing up in America that we are here, we are an important part in American culture, and we deserve to be represented and acknowledged.
In Hispanic households, we carry our heritage with pride, but one thing I notice is that as we continue to grow and immerse ourselves in American culture, we can forget or lose some of the traditions and values that make us unique. I think Hispanic Heritage month gives us a chance to reconnect and feel proud of who we are and where we come from.
What do you feel helps to foster a culture of inclusion? How have you seen those behaviors and practices successfully put into action?
What helps foster a culture of inclusion is taking the time to get to know one another, regardless of whether they speak a different language, eat different foods, or listen to music that is different than you. I think if more of us take the time to truly understand the person next to us, we’ll realize that we might look or sound different, but ultimately, the values instilled in us by our families and communities are often the same. I was brought up on a foundation of respect, family, and togetherness, which are pillars that can be found in many people’s upbringing, regardless of their background.
Cadent choosing to highlight something like Hispanic Heritage Month, by bringing in speakers that we can relate to, and even publishing this blog series, is an amazing step in the right direction. It’s about conversation and opening the opportunity to ask questions, even if it’s uncomfortable. Ultimately, if we can make space for those conversations to be had, the next steps are to create solutions and take action. In the short time that I have been working here, Cadent has done a great job of fostering those conversations.
What challenges do you feel are faced by the Hispanic, Latina/o/e/x, and Afro-Latina/o/e/x communities in the U.S. today and what growth do you hope to see in the future?
One of the challenges that is still being faced by Hispanic and Latino people in these communities is that there are lingering misconceptions – especially in the workplace. There are pre-conceived notions about Hispanics and Latinos, and the types of work they should be doing. For instance, when I talk to my family and friends about what I do – working in an office in Manhattan – it’s like I’m this big, important person, and it’s because they grew up believing that they can’t possibly ‘make it.’ The idea of working at an office with benefits, time off, and other things like that, seems so distant.
In the Hispanic and Latino community, we don’t always have time to wait for the right job. Many of us have families of our own at a younger age, or have parents, grandparents, or siblings we need to take care of. In that situation, the one thing on our mind is survival – ‘How am I going to pay rent or buy groceries this month?’ Basically, our whole lives, we’ve been told that there’s one way to work and that’s at 100 MPH for 40, 50, 60 hours a week. It’s because of this mentality that we tend to sell ourselves short and miss certain job opportunities.
What I hope to see in the future is more Hispanics and Latinos/Latinas breaking out of the bubble and challenging themselves to grow in a field they are passionate about. The more examples there are of what we can accomplish, the more the message will spread. I am always in awe of how much we can accomplish with so little, but I still hope that as time goes on, more opportunities will open.
What has been your proudest moment at Cadent?
One of my proudest moments at Cadent has been being able to connect with my coworkers and earning their trust and respect as a professional. When I first got here, I put pressure on myself to prove my worth so that the company felt like they made the right decision in hiring me. I’m not going to lie – I was nervous at first. Like others with a similar background, being a first-generation Mexican American, I had a chip on my shoulder and felt I had to work 10 times harder so I wouldn’t look bad and wouldn’t make our people look bad.
It’s something I’ve talked about with other people who feel like me. The idea that I’m not only representing myself when I come into work, but that I also represent my family, other Mexican Americans, and even more broadly, all Hispanics and Latinos/Latinas who are trying to make it in the corporate world. I would never want to leave a bad impression of myself or them, so I work to show that we can do just as good a job as anyone else and that more of us should be welcome in professional environments.
What advice would you give to a younger colleague or a younger version of yourself?
I like this question because I truly wish I could go back and tell 21- or 22-year-old Sergio that everything is going to turn out fine! But, to those who are on the same journey I was on just a few years ago, I would tell them to enjoy it – as hard as it may be – and that one day you’ll appreciate these experiences because they have helped you get to where you want to be. I truly believe that if it were not for those early trials and tribulations, the frustrations, the pressure put on me to ‘make it,’ I wouldn’t be who I am today. I also may not have valued the opportunities given to me as much as I do now.
My advice would be to keep challenging yourself, don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable, and don’t be afraid to ask someone for help! For so long, I was so focused on doing it all on my own that I failed to realize that I had people in my corner, ready to help me out when I needed it.
‘Look at all we are able to accomplish with so little,’ is a thought that drives me to not give up. My hope for the next generation is that career opportunities come in abundance and resources to help them get there will be more readily available.