When I moved to Toronto, I attended multiple newcomers’ programs to start my job research in Canada. The majority of them advised me to ask people over coffee to build a network. Many questions pop-out in my head: ¿coffee?, ¿with who?, ¿who should I ask?, ¿how should I approach them?, ¿what should I say?. It was then, when I realized that the first person I should take out for coffee was myself; I needed to identify the strategy to approach these people and the way I will be positioning myself.
Next day, I grab my laptop and walk into the first Tim Hortons I found; I needed to immerse into the Canadian experience. While drinking a double-double and revising my resume, I remember I moved to Canada to develop my career in marketing in an English-speaking country; therefore, I needed to connect with the Canadian chapter of companies, associations, and institutions that I was working with in Mexico, sort of a mirror effect. For example, I will reach out to IAB Canada with the approach that I worked with IAB Mexico; I have experience with their services and knowledge in operations in a different market. My strategy triggered the way I will be positioning myself: a professional marketer with experience in the LATAM region.
I invited for coffee people that I met at newcomers programs, events, conferences, LinkedIn, etc. I had 5-8 coffees a week with different personalities of the media and advertising industry, and by continually repeating my personal branding I realized that Hispanics stand out in the market because of our spirit, sense of community and hard workers stereotype.
The cheerful spirit is hard to find in a country with low temperatures and short daylight seasons. Hispanics are well-known for their cheerful spirit in a work environment; greeting people with enthusiasm, creating a friendly atmosphere, involving themselves in social and charity company programs, etc. Multiple studies have proved that cold weather affects mental health, causing disorders associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Let’s face it! If you can choose between working with a person who is optimistic vs. a depressive person, ¿which one will you pick?
The sense of community comes from those many times when your mom or dad asked you to help your uncle, aunt, cousin, grandpa or grandma. All those extra errands pay off today in a new country by bringing you into a collaboration environment. The truth is that we become proactive advocates of teamwork. Hispanics tend to collaborate at teamwork tasks, the extra mile for us means to invite other members of the team to bring out the best of themselves to achieve positive results. We act collectively because it is in our DNA, our social structure comes from a high sense of community.
The Hispanic stereotype hasn’t changed; we are hard workers and we enjoy raising our hand to own our tasks. We value labor recognition as much as financial compensation. According to the World Bank, remittances represent the second or third most important source of income in national economies for Latin American countries. Even Hollywood validated the importance of our labor commitment with movies like “A Day Without Mexican” (2004); as social media with organic campaigns like #DayWithoutImmigrants; both contextually explaining how North American economies are built on Hispanic hard work.
So next time, when you complain about the cold, reject to help others or choose to jump a task just because you are lazy, think twice. You may be avoiding “las bondades de ser Latino.” WE THE SOUTH!