Celebrating Heritage With Luis Avila-Estrada
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), Cox is casting a spotlight on some of the employees who make up our rich and diverse company culture. We asked people like Luis Avila-Estrada who leads the Compliance and Governance team at Cox Enterprises, about his hope for more Latino representation in corporate America.
The Latinx community is not one-size-fits-all. It is made up of people from many ethnic groups with diverse histories, languages, countries of origin, and cultures.
In this Q&A, Luis talks about his upbringing as a child of first-generation immigrants and shares his hope for stronger representation of Latinos in leadership roles in corporate America.
How has your culture and upbringing influenced how you have lived your life? How has it also influenced how you show up every day for work?
Being the son of Mexican immigrants, I am the product, along with my brothers, of my parents’ endless work to achieve the American Dream. My two older brothers enlisted in the US Marine Corp and served our country for many years. My younger brother and I were able to complete our graduate degrees at Ivy League schools, Harvard and Columbia respectively. Being able to visit Mexico and understand the conditions under which my parents grew up and witness how hard they worked to create a better life for us in the US, made me very aware that I owed it to them and to myself to take advantage of the opportunities that they had created for me.
How does your Hispanic / Latino heritage play into your traditions, beliefs and lifestyle? How do you keep those traditions alive?
I am unapologetically Latino, my heritage plays into all aspects of my life. I love the richness of our food, music, art, history and languages. I also love that our culture is so family-oriented. We are not only close to our own families, but we invite friends, including work friends, to join our extended family. That’s one of the reasons that the Cox culture resonates so strongly with me, the family feeling extends to all of our employees. We’re all part of the Cox familia!
What do you think is important for others at the company to know about your experience being Hispanic or Latino in corporate America and at Cox?
Unfortunately, Latinos are significantly underrepresented in corporate America, especially in leadership roles. While we make up the largest ethic/racial minority group of the workforce, our numbers are still quite low overall. I am hopeful that companies, including Cox, will realize that the Latino perspective is essential for business success.
What do you think is the greatest need to move the Hispanic / Latino community forward – and how can others help?
We need Latinos in leadership positions, and we need to urge Latinos to vote. Latinos are already the largest racial/ethnic minority in terms of population, the largest voting bloc, and have the largest purchasing power. However, we are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions. Everyone, Latino or non-Latino, should understand that bringing the Latino perspective to the decision-making rooms is essential. We also need to protect everyone’s right to vote and make sure that no one is intimidated from exercising their constitutional right.
Want to read more stories like this or discover a day in the life at Cox? Check out our employee blog or search for open roles to learn more.