Last week, Skillz hosted a lunch-and-learn in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, featuring a panel of Latinx leaders in technology. Moderated by our CTO Miriam Aguirre, the panelists reflected on their connections with their cultures, relayed their professional experiences as Latinx leaders, and shared insights on driving diversity and inclusion in organizations. Skillz employees were grateful for the opportunity to hear unique insights on cultivating diversity in the thriving technology industry and look forward to driving more initiatives in the future. Learn more about our featured speakers below.
Luis Madrigal is a Client Platform Engineering + IOT Manager at Uber. He leads teams to create an IOT Center of Excellence by merging three major focuses: Client computing and their respective management systems; Mobile OS’s (Android, iOS, ChromeOS); and Product Mobility and IOT. Madrigal has worked at Uber for nearly six years after getting his start in technology as an IT Agent at Geek Squad. He went on to be a service engineer at Canon and grew into his first managing role at Arup.
A gifted problem-solver with a customer service-oriented attitude, Madrigal is able to identify opportunities and execute projects with consistent success. He is the Diversity Co-Chairman at Uber and has been instrumental in getting several key diversity and inclusion initiatives, namely Los Ubers, off the ground. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Madrigal has harnessed his Latinx background to lead these projects with a global mindset. He is passionate about mentoring his team members to grow their careers and pursue their goals.
Reflecting on diversity and inclusion efforts at Uber, Madrigal said, “We’re creating a framework of guidance so teams know how to go about exploring ideas in diversity and inclusion in relation to design and engineering. Because if you ask two people to draw a bicycle, they’re going to draw completely different things on a white piece of paper.”
As Vice President of Global Gateway LATAM at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Julia Figueiredo helps innovators, investors and their partners achieve their global expansion goals. Originally from Brazil, Figueiredo uses her knowledge of the market and culture to aid technology companies in growing through partnerships, business development, sales, and marketing strategies. She began her career in corporate business development at GSVlabs and moved on to Evernote before entering her current role at SVB.
Figueiredo is a cofounder and board member of Latinas in Tech (LiT), a community of women from Latin America, Brazil and Spain who are living in the Bay Area and working at technology companies in the Silicon Valley. The group aims to connect with other Latinx women and support each other’s professional careers. Figueiredo has helped grow LiT into a community of more than 2,000 women, hailing from over 12 countries and working at more than 30 of the top tech companies.
Pia Zaragoza is a researcher specializing in various consumer, enterprise, and fintech products. She has worked at companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, striving to develop new technologies to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Zaragoza currently works at JPMorgan Chase and Co. as the Vice President of UX and Accessibility Research.
She got her start in technology at the New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program, spending two years exploring the intersections of design, engineering, and computer science. With a research grant from UNICEF Innovation, Zaragoza explored the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for humanitarian applications. She has presented her research at The World Science Festival, The Open Source Hardware Association Summit, The New York City Girls Computer Science and Engineering Conference, and United Nations Crisis Information Management Advisory Group.
Zaragoza has a strong connection to her Latinx background, using her User Experience (UX) design skills to consult Techqueria, a nonprofit that empowers Latinx professionals in the tech industry by building networking and career advancement opportunities. In her current and future endeavors, she strives to inspire awareness and discussion surrounding diversity to help organizations scale successfully.
As we reflect on the importance of cultivating diversity and inclusion in the thriving esports industry, it’s important to recognize the impact of language, culture and traditions that have played a formative role in the lives of our leaders. Thanks for joining us this month, and every month, in celebrating the cultural and professional contributions of Latin American communities to our lives.