Each year, Latinx Heritage Month at Asana marks a special time to celebrate the diverse global Latinx community, while also critically reflecting on the future. This year, we are honoring Latinx Heritage Month with our theme Esperanza: A celebration of heritage and hope. While we celebrate this community’s positive contributions all year long, Latinx Heritage Month marks a time for us to more formally recognize their efforts to drive positive change, and also learn from these efforts.
We have a tradition of spotlighting our Latinx customers and community members each year. Get to know three Latinx leaders on what Latinx heritage means to them, and their advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Carolyn Rodz, Co-Founder and CEO of Hello Alice
Over the course of her career, Carolyn Rodz has navigated the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship—having sold a company and also shuttered a company. Her experiences taught her that the same entrepreneur can have vastly different experiences based on their access to knowledge and networks. She also learned that the type of business an entrepreneur builds greatly impacts the entrepreneurial path that is best for them.
Carolyn started Hello Alice to help other entrepreneurs find their unique journey through entrepreneurship. Hello Alice is a navigation tool for entrepreneurs to source funding, new customers, and interact with a community of fellow business owners. In founding Hello Alice, Carolyn wanted to start a business that would open relevant doors for entrepreneurs, regardless of who they are or where they come from—so that every entrepreneur with a dream and the will to work for it has a chance to succeed.
Carolyn and her team have used Asana over the years to grow Hello Alice and are currently using the platform to manage a branding project. Carolyn explains: “I love keeping the team in sync, having a single place to access documents and conversations, and holding the team accountable for deadlines. Asana is a great way to keep us aligned toward our goals—a must for any fast-growing company!”
Latinx Heritage Month has special meaning for Carolyn, having grown up in a multicultural household with an American father and a Bolivian mother. Carolyn spent every summer in Bolivia as a child, and while she grew up mostly in the United States, she says: “I still identify most with my Bolivian friends and family. There is such a hunger within the Latinx culture to live every day to its fullest, and an ingrained idealism that makes anything feel attainable. It’s a huge part of what drives me today.”
Carolyn’s advice to entrepreneurs is: don’t undervalue your unique perspective. She explains, “There are so many ways to achieve an outcome, so don’t undervalue your unique perspective. You’ll get so much advice along the way, and while you should always listen and consider it, don’t forget to weigh the merits of your own gut instinct, and the experiences and knowledge that you bring to the table.”
Marc Sacal, COO of Arcus
Marc Sacal has always been passionate about building products that promote financial access and inclusion, especially in the LatAm region, where financial services are expensive and inefficient. High digital penetration and high consumer demand for improved financial products make LatAm a ripe breeding ground for payments innovation.
This is what attracted Marc to LatAm-based Arcus, a payment-as-a-service platform that helps any business to accept and send any form of payment. Marc has been COO at Arcus for over a year now and has helped the company power some of the largest and most innovative companies to launch payment solutions, including Rappi, Walmart, and 7-Eleven.
Asana is at the core of Arcus’ operations. As Marc explained to us: “We use Asana to manage all our weekly stand-ups, projects, and OKRs. Communication among teams has improved dramatically, ultimately increasing the productivity of the company.”
Latinx Heritage Month is important to Marc because it is an opportunity to raise awareness. He says, “I want to show that LatAm startups and Latinx founders can be at the forefront of innovation.”
Marc’s advice for entrepreneurs is to “think big, be bold, and try something hard.” He emphasizes that Latinx entrepreneurs should leverage their unique worldviews to build something truly disruptive.
Jorge Soto, Head of Content and Community at Reprise
Jorge Soto is a successful serial entrepreneur, having founded businesses ranging from mobile advertising to enterprise software. This includes MoPub, which was acquired by Twitter, and Sales4Startups, which was acquired by SalesHacker. Jorge’s most recent venture is Reprise, a software demo platform for enterprise sales and marketing teams.
Jorge explained to us: “As a long-time salesperson, I’ve always known that the demo stage is a key point in your motion. If it’s too long, you lose the prospect. If it’s not personalized, they don’t think it’s for them.” Today, Reprise is used by customers such as Pendo, Gainsight, and Medallia.
Jorge is passionate about celebrating Latinx heritage during Latinx Heritage Month and throughout the year. As Jorge explained to us, celebrating Latinx heritage is important because of the complexities underlying what it means to be Latinx:
“We’re not really Latin, but we’re not really American. We struggle to find our identities in the world, our families, and our communities. This is not an issue of racism but of societal conditioning and living in a world of boxes. To be a Latinx leader in society with a chance to refine our identity is very exciting. Damn the old system. We think we have to fit in a box; we don’t. You’re human, just like everyone else. And the only grounding you’ll find is within yourself.”
Jorge has used Asana since it was launched in 2012 and continues to use it today with the marketing team at Reprise. Jorge explains: “Asana and Slack are our command centers. Can’t run the team without them.” Jorge credits Asana for “helping to change the B2B software product game.”
Jorge’s advice to entrepreneurs is to not take rejection personally: “It’s not because you’re a minority; it’s the entrepreneurial game.” He also advises: “Take care of your mental and physical health, which are not separate systems. Find balance at each corner. Don’t be greedy; help others. Stay humble. Burnout is real; don’t compromise your health.”
Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month
Latin Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, Luis Fonsi, once said, “Widen the path of opportunities and continue to leave a powerful and positive legacy in this world.” The founders spotlighted here embody this message. We celebrate them and the lessons they have shared this Latinx Heritage Month and all throughout the year.