Today, we chat with Hector Javier Preciado, EWMBA, class of 2011. He’s a Sales, Strategy & Operations Executive who is deeply passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging. Currently, he works as the Chief Growth Officer in Alluma, a nonprofit organization that produces technical solutions for social problems.
Hector shares his humble upbringing from Mexico to the US, immigrating with his big family to have a better life, and living in a neighborhood like Boyle Heights.
Even though the opportunities weren’t so great back then, education has always been a crucial part of Hector’s life. With God-given gifts and talents, he took advantage of different programs that offered support for kids like him. He was able to pursue education and even had the experience of going to college campuses when he was 11 yrs old.
Hector also narrates his purpose-driven career, his reasons for pursuing a business degree, and his experiences in Haas, including becoming the first Latino president of the EWMBA association and being selected by his classmates as the graduation speaker.
Finally, he talks about leadership and why he loves being part of Alluma, his visions and missions, and his words of encouragement for people with similar backgrounds to pursue and develop their careers.
“Oftentimes when I’m talking to people who have a similar origin story as myself, I tell them that in many ways I’m nothing special. I like to remind them that if I did it, you could do it. And if anything, use me as a bar that is set to some heights and irrespective of where you place me, exceed that bar. Exceed what I’ve been able to do.”
“From a leadership development standpoint, one of my biggest leaps was through humility and being humbled.”
“My brand became, this is a leader. And I embrace that and I was humbled by that.”
“Though I feel that I have been blessed by natural gifts and talents and drive and hunger and a passion, at the end of the day, I’ve seen through my walks in life people that have more talent, who are smarter, who are more gifted, who are more talented than I am, who have not had the opportunity to do what I have. So, I want to remind folks that you’ve got to think big. You gotta be proactive in developing your career because the world needs more people like us.”
On being in the podcast – “You’re giving me a platform to tell my story that reaches a community of people who are influential, who are leaders in their own rights, who are part of a global network as leaders, who are in these spaces, who have power and authority to make a huge impact in other people’s lives. It’s amazing for me and it’s humbling.”
Sean: Welcome to the OneHaas alumni podcast. I’m your host, Sean Li. And today we’re joined by Hector Javier Preciado, EWMBA, class of 2011. Welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:29] Hector: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:30] Sean: Hector, I really want to hear your origin story. You know, where you’re from, where you grew up.
[00:00:38] Hector: One of the reasons why I like to share my story is because I think there’s a lot of people like me, with my origins, who don’t get a chance to do a lot of what I’ve been very fortunate to do.
[00:00:52] And oftentimes when I’m talking to people who have a similar origin story as myself, is I tell them that in many ways I’m nothing special. Right. And why I say that is because I like to remind them that, look, if I did it, you could do it.
[00:01:09] And if anything, use me as a bar for some heights and irrespective of where you place me, exceed that bar. Because if I did it coming where I came from, then use me as an example for why you or other people like me can actually do not just what I’m doing but can exceed what I’ve been able to do.
[00:01:29] And so that’s what, for me, like the origin story is important for me. And so, for me, the origin story begins in Mexico. One way to look at it is it’s like the consummate, Mexican immigrant American story. I’m the American dream. I was born in Mexico.
[00:01:46] Yeah. So, I was born in the state of Jalisco, which is where Guadalajara is, the second-largest city in Mexico. Right. So, I was born in a town about 120 kilometers Northeast of Guadalajara, in the Highlands of Jalisco, which is where tequila comes from. So, you know, it’s in my blood.
[00:02:05] Sean: I know Jaliscos too because in downtown LA by the old Sears building, there was that famous Mariscos Jalisco food truck. You know that one, right?
[00:02:18] Hector: So, the housing project right across the street from where Mariscos Jalisco, that’s where I grew up. That’s where I grew up. Yeah. And actually, the guy who started Jaliscos Mariscos, there’s actually two. There’s Jalisco, and then down the street, there’s Cuatro Vientos and they’re brothers from my hometown. And the Cuatro Vientos, the other one, my brother is actually one of the co-owners of that one.
[00:02:44] Hector: Yeah. And actually, so it’s funny, you said, cause the origins of that one actually is from my hometown. So, the way they got started was when they were young, you know, my hometown, one of the unique things about it is that seafood, Mariscos, like that style is very popular in my hometown. And that town is nowhere near a body of water. Usually, when you’re thinking about like, seafood, it’s coming from places that are closer to the coast. This one, like I said, it’s 120 miles Northeast of Guadalajara. Guadalajara is like another 200 kilometers inland.
[00:03:13] So it’s like it’s Southcentral Mexico but your seafood culture is very big in that anyway. So, in my hometown, the brothers, as young men, they would have little popups. And my brother as a teenager would help out one of them in his pop-up and then, you know, we immigrated to the United States.
[00:03:32] And so that story, and then my brother was working in the city of Vernon doing industrial work. And then this guy immigrated to the US to LA from the town and he said Hey, I’m going to do my pop up here. Can you help me out? And my brother had been laid off from his company, so he’s like, sure, I’ll help you out.
[00:03:48] So it was started off at his helping him out and a little cart in the projects where I grew up. Now it’s Cuatro Vientos and it’s got like two restaurants across the street.
[00:03:59] So, let’s go back to the origin story right there. I was born in this town in Southcentral Mexico in the Highlands of Jalisco, the Homeland of tequila, in a place called San Juan de Los Legos. That’s the name of my town. And I’m one of 13 kids. I’m the 11th of 13. I have six brothers and six sisters. And my family, we moved to the US en mass in 1980. But for a number of years, a couple of decades prior to that, my dad and my older brothers and my grandfathers used to come to the United States and work seasonally, too, it’s, again, the constant immigrant Mexican story. You come to the United States, you work, you earn some money, you go back to Mexico.
[00:04:42] And for a number of years, my dad was doing that back and forth and, you know, and if you look at how many siblings were born, we were born in roughly two-year intervals. So, it was fitting with a cycle of my dad comes home, they procreate. And, goes to work seasonally, he comes back, baby’s born, takes care of the baby. We need more money. Goes back to the United States, work some more, comes back, has another child.
[00:05:12] So it’s like, the way my family grew up in that town, there’s not a lot of opportunities, as you can imagine, for a lot of people. You know, the push factors for why it is that you leave your town or your home and come to the United States are mainly economic and a lot of violence and other things that in other countries, right.
[00:05:25] But at least for our story, it was economic drivers that pushed my family to come to the United States. And so, finally, in 1980, my dad and several of my brothers were already living in the United States in LA, in Boyle Heights, right there in those apartments where the Mariscos are. And the family kept growing and my mom finally hit a point where she’s, I can’t do this anymore by myself, I need support. I need help. And that’s when the decision was made that, okay, we’re all gonna move to the United States. And so, in 1980 when I was three that’s when a critical mass of us came to Boyle Heights, to East LA. And that’s how my life started in the US.
[00:06:05] Sean: Tell us a little bit more about your upbringing and any turning points in your life and your youth.
[00:06:11] Hector: I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had a lot of seminal moments. They have allowed me to do a lot of very unique things with my life. You know, growing up in the projects in Boyle Heights in the 1980s, it was in the height of the crack epidemic, right.
[00:06:25] It was at the height of gang violence. And so, I had this in some ways my upbringing was like a duality. You know, on the one hand, you have those social ills, right? Poverty, low-income, drug abuse, gang violence, those kinds of things that were prevalent.
[00:06:43] And there were many moments I remember growing up, whereas at night and all of a sudden you hear just a spray of gunshots. And then, we all knew the routine, everybody duck, and hit the floor. So, there were moments where, literally, turn off the lights. And so, you know, we, as a family, are literally like on the floor line down, just waiting for things to calm down.
[00:07:01] So it was that, but at the same time, I grew up in a predominantly immigrant community, a high-density population where you could literally during the daytime, go outside and be a kid for like 12 hours.
[00:07:14] And you know that the neighbor over there knows your family and that neighbor over there knows your family. And cause you’re playing with each other’s kids and you’re running around we’re riding bikes, it was an amazing way actually to grow up and be a kid and so it was a duality, it was the negative social aspects of growing up in the inner-city, urban environment during the 1980s in a low-income neighborhood.
[00:07:36] But then the community that it really fostered and the pride and joy that comes out. To this day, I still rep boys. You know, I am so proud to say that I’m from Boyle Heights and I rep it all the time. I got tee-shirts. I got hats. I got stickers.
[00:07:49] When I was working at LinkedIn, I used to walk around with my laptop, from station to station, and do the work. And I have this huge Boyle Heights sticker across the back of my computer, my laptop. And people would say like, oh, I know where that is or what is that? So, I’m always repping it. And so, for me, that was kind of upbringing. And for us being in that environment, you did one of two things.
[00:08:07] And my parents used to tell us all the time, we came here to this country to have a better life. And so, you’re either going to go to school or you’re going to work. There’s no in-between. And so that strong immigrant ethic that you share and I share, it’s common amongst those populations, right? And because I was young, it was the younger generation of my siblings that we were able to go through the public school system in the United States. And so, some of my oldest siblings were older. And so, when they came, education wasn’t an option for them.
[00:08:36] It was like, we’re coming and you’re going to work. And, I have an older brother who’s brilliant. Like, his recall with numbers is amazing. And I was like, man, you would have made an amazing finance person.
[00:08:45] Hector: But because of our situation, he never got the chance. And so, we did. So, for us, the younger generation which I was part of, education was the way to go, right. And part of it I think I was blessed. And school for me was fun, school for me was easy. I really enjoyed learning and I had a curiosity and I always want to be the person who will answer every question. And you know, I was that annoying kid growing up. All the teachers loved me but maybe not all the students wanted to be my friend.
[00:09:08] Sean: Yeah. I know that feeling. It’s almost for me personally, and maybe I think you might resonate with this as an immigrant child as well. It’s almost a survival instinct, right? To brown-nose, just to gain favor in the classroom. And I don’t know what Mexican culture is like in terms of the education system but in China, it’s very much respect the teacher. I think it’s like that in a lot of other countries as well, where there’s a lot of respect.
[00:09:37] Hector: Yeah. Yeah, no, it is. And I think for us it was the same because I think people don’t understand the immigrant experience enough. And certainly, when people think about Latinos and as a community in the United States, we don’t have the highest rates of like college matriculation and graduation. But I think what people forget is that, for my family, when we came to the United States, education is not free in Mexico, you have to pay for it.
[00:10:02] And so to your point about the teacher in Mexico has a lot of cultural and professional capital, right? A teacher is respected.
[00:10:12] And so when I came to the United States, my family was the same thing. There was no like, Oh, the teacher doesn’t like me or like, no. My parents were like if your teacher is saying something about you like that is gospel, I don’t care what you’re saying. Right?
[00:10:24] And so for me, for all of my siblings who went through the public school system, like none of us were ever problematic students because our parents taught us that. And for me, like I said, I was just thriving in a school setting and part of it, I think, it’s just, you know, I’ve benefited from programs all throughout the education that was designed to help kids like me.
[00:10:44] I was in elementary school, I was tested for gifted. I ended up being in the GATE program and then in junior high school, I learned of the MESA program, mathematics, engineering, science achievements, and you know, all those programs that were available at the time for kids in my environment.
[00:11:02] I took full advantage of them. And for me, it was just an opportunity for me to continue to learn but also do some cool stuff that other kids in my neighborhood weren’t being exposed to. And then I’ll give an example. When I was in junior high school, every summer of junior high school was spent through the MESA program. I used to go to summer school at Cal State University LA.
[00:11:21] We weren’t taking classes with college professors. We were taking classes through the MESA program who was teaching us math and exposing us to engineering and science. But we were on a college campus, you know like we were learning in college classrooms.
[00:11:34] And so from the age of 11, I was already going to college campuses and that became the norm for me. And even though I didn’t know anybody who went to college, even though I didn’t know what college was about, I always had this earlier, and then I was like, Oh yeah, I’m going to be here. I’m going to study that’s part of the plan. Everybody does this though.
[00:11:56] So early on, like I was lucky to be exposed to those kinds of programs. Cause that’s kind of academically what began to set me up for me to be able to succeed and eventually be the first person in my family to go college.
[00:12:07] Sean: I mean, being the first to go to college in your family, was it also difficult financially?
[00:12:12] Hector: Yes and no. Let me start with the no. It wasn’t as difficult financially because I got financial aid and I had some scholarships and some grants. And so like, I didn’t have to ask my family to pay my tuition. But at the same time, all the other expenses that come along with like being a college student that wasn’t there.
[00:12:30] And it became a cultural thing, you know, so I’m in my dorm room, with my roommate and then he runs, he kicks the door open, and walks in with this huge care package of box. I’m like, Whoa, what is that? And he’s like, Oh, look check it out. I got a care package.
[00:12:43] And I was like, what’s a care package. And, Oh, my parents, they sent me this thing and they sent me this and they sent me that. And I was like, that’s a pain. No. And so my parents are not thinking they’re right. Cause my parents are like, they’re living there, they’re raising more kids and they’re back in East LA in Boyle Heights.
[00:13:00] And like they don’t know any of this stuff. And so, it was like those kinds of things, like the cultural differences, right. When people are talking about spring break, what’d you do for spring break? Oh, we’re going to go skiing in Tahoe and, Oh, we’re going to just go to Colorado and or do this to that. I was like, spring break, what is that? Like, all right, I’m going to go to Tijuana with my friends which people do that.
[00:13:22] So there was a clear economic divide. And that was, for me, that was the first time being in that environment and realize, Oh, wow, I’m poor. And that was another jarring kind of realization. The seminal moments in my life that I clearly remember that, because before then, I didn’t think about it. It was normal. It was, that’s how I grew up in, just what we did, you know?
[00:13:47] Sean: That’s how your community, everyone around you was. Yeah. You know, along the way you decide to continue your studies at Pomona College, which is pretty close to me actually, in sociology media studies. How did you make that pivot?
[00:14:02] Hector: I went back to LA and I went to a community college first. And actually, it was a community college where I learned how to be a college student, you know. And I went to a place called Mount SAC, Mount San Antonio College. And I’m a big fan of the community college system because that is where I really learned how to be a college student.
[00:14:21] And I had to start all over from scratch and I’m glad I went through it. And it was there that I shifted my focus out of the sciences. And I said, okay, I’m not going to go to medical school. So, what I’m going to do? Well at the time I had ambitions of becoming a college professor, you know, after like a life journey, I was in community college and I decided I’m going to become a college professor. And at the time, I mentioned communications kind of being an undercurrent. When I was there in community college, I was writing for a Spanish language magazine. I was writing for a local LA times affiliate newspaper in the San Gabriel Valley. And I was writing pieces around culture and society and just communicating opinions, certain stories about people in the community.
[00:15:09] And so I took my first sociology class at Mount San Antonio College and that just blew my mind. And for me, it was like, wow, I have been thinking about these things. I have been writing thematically about things like this without even knowing that this is an actual discipline. Like, why didn’t I know about sociology when I was in Santa Cruz? I was like I would have taken a different approach.
[00:15:32] And so that’s kind of what led me. It was the classes that I was taking in Mount San Antonio College that allow me to, you know, transition. And I did well, obviously, cause I transferred to Pomona College.
[00:15:42] Hector: Yeah. You know, so I graduated from Pomona and I moved to the Bay to come pursue a career in public policy.
[00:15:50] Sean: This is at the Greenlining Institute, right?
[00:15:52] Hector: Yeah, the Greenlining Institute is where I started my career as part of the leadership development academy as a summer associate.
[00:15:58] Hector: So, I moved up to the Bay in 2002 to work at the Greenlining Institute in public policy. So, I came in as a summer associate and I eventually became communications director, then health policy director, then development director, then its first chief operating officer. And it was a great career. I was on Univision and Telemundo on a regular basis, being interviewed around policy and political issues. I have footage of me giving an analysis when Barack Obama got elected. I’m talking about the gubernatorial races. It’s all in Spanish.
[00:16:35] So again, communications has always been an underlying current in what it is that I do. And I hit a point in which I started thinking about what I want to do in my career. Specifically, what I want to do, what I’m going to do for my next degree, right? And working in public policy, it’s not uncommon for my peers to go pursue public policy degrees.
[00:16:59] Go to the Harvard Kennedy school, go to the Goldman school of public policy at Cal, the University of Texas at Austin, the LBJ school. Right?
[00:17:05] So that was kind of like the trajectory that everybody was going in. But for me, based on the work that I was doing with Greenlining, I was exposed to the power and influence that the private sector wields over everything that we do, right? The air you breathe, the food you eat, the cars you drive, the homes you own, the clothes you wear, right?
[00:17:30] All of those things are influenced largely by the private sector. And from a policy perspective, if we were on the same side of the aisle as the business community, that policy was going to advance no matter what, right? Like it was a done deal.
[00:17:45] But more often than not from a policy improvement standpoint, that’s not going to be the case. And so, we kept trying to look for the people at these companies, at these corporations that we were either in partnership with or at odds with who would “get it”.
[00:18:02] And what I realized is that we were partnering with the right people at these companies and corporations because it was their job for them to partner with community-based organizations like the Greenlining Institute. That’s what they did. And many of them who we partnered with were diverse. There was a community affairs officer, the development director for that corporation, or the community relations person. It was all those roles.
[00:18:25] But none of them have the power, right? None of them were the CEO. None of them were in the C suite. So, nobody who’s in the C suite looked like me. And that’s when I had an epiphany. And that’s when I said, Ahaa, I’m going to business school.
[00:18:42] At that time, my ambition changed and said, in order for me to affect positive change by way of a private-sector job, I can’t be a community relations director, I can’t be a foundation officer at this corporation. I need to be the CEO.
[00:19:01] Sean: Right.
[00:19:02] Hector: That’s when I decided to go to business school. Enter Haas.
[00:19:06] Sean: Were there any defining moments during your experience at Haas that really propelled your leadership skills?
[00:19:15] Hector: I would say there’s a few things. I’ll start with humility, right? You know, to this day, I’m still a confident person. I’m confident in my abilities. I’m confident in my skills and the successes that I’ve been able to build over the years speak to that.
[00:19:28] But I think from a leadership development standpoint, one of my biggest leaps was through humility and being humbled. And I remember when classes actually started and you sit in class with these amazingly talented people, super-bright, coming from different parts of the globe with different experiences, there was not a lot of nonprofit professionals at Haas to this day. And so, I remember just like listening to, you know, I’m in class and I’m learning from the professor and I’m totally in it.
[00:20:02] But what I was unprepared for was just the brilliance of my classmates and the perspectives that they will share. And I remember just being blown away, time and time again, it’s every single class where I was like, man, what you said was amazing? I didn’t even think about that. Right? And so just being humbled by that.
[00:20:21] And sitting in a room full of just brilliant minds and just being humbled by that and being like, man, what the hell am I doing here? Like, why me, right? So, for me, that was part of like the leadership growth for me.
[00:20:32] Like that humbling experience really got me to thinking about how much I don’t know and how much more I have to learn and how much I have to step up my game. It really took me about like about a year and a half before I kinda started feeling more comfortable in that environment and you’re like, okay, I could contribute. And that started happening.
[00:20:50] Number two was the reinforcement from my classmates and saying not only do you belong here, but I appreciate what contributions you’re making. And I think the next seminal moment was when the Dean of the program at the time called me. He said, Hey, come to my office.
[00:21:03] I want to talk to you about after class if you have a few minutes. I said, yeah, absolutely. I went to where his office and he said, Hey, we’re going to be having elections for the officers for the EWMBA association.
[00:21:14] And he’s like, I’ve been observing you and I’ve been hearing about you. I think you should consider being part of the EWMBA association. I said, well, you know, if I run for a role, you know, I am going to run for president, right? And I said it jokingly.
[00:21:26] And then he said, I wouldn’t expect for you to do anything else. And I was like, Oh, okay. So, for me, that told me that if the Dean of the EWMBA program at the Haas school of business thinks this much of me then there might be something to this thing. And so that’s why that’s how I decided to run. And I ran it in essence. I was working in public policy and I’ve been involved in political campaigns. I actually worked on the Obama campaign during that time as well. Took some time off from work to work on the Obama campaign, running a Spanish media communications in Northern California.
[00:22:13] I ran my campaign to be the EWMBA president like a political campaign. And little did I recognize when I became president, I was the first Latino to be the president of the EWMBA association.
[00:22:28] And I was like, Oh wow. And so to me, it was telling right as like in the time that the program is around, I’m the first Latino to be elected into this leadership position. And also it was like more of us need to do this.
[00:22:41] And two years later, a friend of mine, Claudia, who also graduated from the program, she was the first Latina, the next Latina-elected president. So, for me, that was important. And it was by way of my leadership experience and me being recognized that allowed me to be honored by my classmates to be selected to be the graduation speaker, and I felt that became my brand. My brand became, this is a leader and I embrace that and I was humbled by that.
[00:23:11] I didn’t have any expectations walking into an MBA program. I just knew that this is what I wanted to do. I knew that this was the program that I wanted to pursue.
[00:23:19] And I knew this is what I wanted to study. And I knew this was the network that I wanted to build. And I knew this is the community that I wanted to belong to. But other than that, I didn’t have any expectations about how things were going to play out. And so, it exceeded all my expectations by far and that’s why I love Haas so much like it’s been so many great things for me during the time that I was there.
[00:23:39] And to this day in my career, it’s still paying off. I’m here talking to you as part of the Onehaas Podcast. Still paying dividends.
[00:23:47] Sean: Yeah, part of the alumni network. That’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing all that. And going back to what you shared in the beginning of this episode, the importance of sharing your story and having people hear that, Hey, if this kid from Boyle Heights can make it what’s stopping them, right? They should not only match your accomplishments but push themselves to excel. I think that’s such a powerful message.
[00:24:23] Hector: If there’s a young man or young woman who’s from Jalisco today, right? Who is sitting in the projects, who is thinking there’s nothing there for me, I don’t know how to succeed, I know there’s something about me but I don’t know how to go about doing it. Who, through somebody’s link share, can listen to my story and be inspired maybe just a little bit, it’s all worth it.
[00:24:59] Sean: You bring up a good point because I think the other purpose of this podcast since we’re talking about it and other Berkeley leaders listening to this is to broaden our minds, right? In case there is that young URM looking for an opportunity that we understand their background a little bit more and we’re more willing and open to open doors for people who may not have had opportunities in the past, so I really want to thank you for just taking the time to share your story. So, we want to hear about you, where you just moved to. So, you’ve had quite a career after Haas.
[00:25:40] From Adchemy to LinkedIn to Hired. And now you’re at Alluma. You just joined Alluma as the Chief Growth Officer. Can you share a little bit about what Alluma is, what you guys do, and what you have in mind as the chief growth officer?
[00:25:58] Hector: Yeah. So Alluma is technically a nonprofit. So, I’m back in the nonprofit world. But it is an organization that produces technical solutions for social problems. Alluma builds, has tech products that allow government agencies, nonprofits to be able to provide greater access to social services for the residents of the communities.
[00:26:24] And so one of the things that gets me excited about this opportunity is that I’m literally marrying my two careers. I’m into social justice and equity space by way of technology. Doing it, performing a business function, right?
[00:26:42] I’m on my way to becoming that CEO that I was thinking about when I left Greenlining. And that’s amazing for me, you know, like again, I’m just from Boyle Heights, you know, and here I am with a fancy title at a tech organization.
[00:26:57] Hector: I joined Alluma because it has this vision of being able to touch the lives of 25 million people over the next five years. And what that means is being able to connect people and give them access to opportunities and services that could really improve their life, their quality of life.
[00:27:14] Sean: So, when I was looking at Alluma it made sense to me. But for our listeners who may not know, what problems you guys are actually solving? Can you give us some examples of some of these inefficiencies that you guys are helping governments solve?
[00:27:27] Hector: Yeah. So, one of the difficult things from say a person, low-income community who is struggling for a lot of different reasons, struggling economically, struggling health-wise, struggling with access to quality food, things like that nature. All the, you know, the social determinants of health. For many people is you have to know where to turn. And so, you may be able to walk into a social services office and talk to somebody eventually who can maybe talk to you about like what social services you might be able to qualify for. But it’s a long process. Not everybody has all the information you may need in order for you to determine whether or not you can get this help. And oftentimes within the government agencies, the agencies are siloed. So, agencies don’t talk to one another. If you have a person who needs medical, right, but they’re also low income, they don’t have access to food so they could qualify for CalFresh or other social services that provide, help you get access to food.
[00:28:28] Their kids may qualify for subsidized food programs at their school. Sometimes you have to talk to a lot of different people just to be able to qualify for all these programs or just get enrolled in these programs.
[00:28:39] So what Alluma is trying to do is just trying to streamline a process by which individuals who need social services, who qualify for social services to be enrolled in all the social services so that folks who need help get it and don’t just get help in one area, but get help across the board. And so Alluma is building technology solutions that allows government agencies to be able to bring one person in one time and just say, Hey, come talk to us. Oh, based on the information you shared with us, you actually qualify for this and for that and for this.
[00:29:11] So now your kids could eat at school, you could pay your rent, you can go see the doctor for that nagging injury that you’ve had for a long time, you can go see your dentist. And you could do it one-stop-shop. And that doesn’t exist right now and navigating the social services sphere is inefficient. It leaves a lot of people behind and there are a lot of problems.
[00:29:33] Hector: And, you know, whereas I was at different companies, helping them monetize their solutions to do X, right, now there’s an opportunity for me to take all that experience that I’ve been able to benefit from learn and grow, develop, and bring it to an organization that is trying to tackle social problems.
[00:29:49] Hector: Part of the reason why Alluma was an opportunity that I really wanted to pursue is because it’s on two levels. On the bigger picture, on a personal level.
[00:30:01] And on the bigger picture, here’s an organization that is by all intents and purposes a technology company that is building a technology solution or multiple solutions to try to tackle issues of homelessness and access to quality health care and access of nutrition, right? So, a lot of these social determinants of health that historically has been tackled by way of taxpayer money being used for social programs, right, that may or may not be working, here’s an organization thinking, well, what if we use technology as a tool to help us do things better and have a positive social impact?
[00:30:35] The success of the organization is going to be measured by the ability to be able to impact and improve the quality of life for people in this country.
[00:30:44] That is a mission and a vision that I could really get behind when it comes from a technology company. And that’s what makes Alluma unique. So, that’s on a higher level.
[00:30:56] On a personal level, I think I was meant to be at Alluma. All the roles that I’ve had have actually prepared me for this specific role. And Alluma is like the next chapter in my purpose-driven career. And maybe that should be the title of the segment. A purpose-driven career.
[00:31:24] Sean: Before we wrap up with our lightning round questions, is there anything else that you want to share for Hispanic heritage month?
[00:31:33] Hector: I want to just remind folks that you’ve got to think big. You gotta be proactive in developing your career because the world needs more people like us. I can’t be the only Hector out there doing this. There’s gotta be like a small army of Hectors. Hector is a very common name amongst the Latino community, I can’t be the only Hector at Haas. There’s gotta be at least five Hectors at Haas at any given moment. That’s my goal.
[00:32:00] My goal is like, Oh, which Hector at Haas? Especially since we’re talking about Hispanic heritage month, it is important and crucial for Latinos to be active participants in this time in our country’s history, because our country’s history is not our country’s history.
[00:32:15] This is a global thing and it’s time we as a community kind of longer be looked upon through the eyes of stereotypes that have been perpetuated throughout the history of this country. It’s time for us to write our own history. Moving forward about the contributions that we have made are making and will continue to make not just the country that we want it to be, but to actually make the world, the global community that we need to make it in order for us to all thrive. To me, that’s what all this is about.
[00:32:43] Sean: And get out there to vote. That’s a good message and a good segue for us to transition into our lightning round of questions.
[00:32:54] Hector: Let’s do it.
[00:32:55] Sean: The first one of which is, what have you been doing to stay sane? I mean, we’ve been asking this question since April, so I’m really curious if things have evolved five months later. Now that we’re, you know, what, seven, eight months into this pandemic?
[00:33:10] Hector: Ceviche.
[00:33:11] Sean: Love it.
[00:33:14] Hector: I started a side hustle with Ceviche actually, because of my origins. And so that’s what I was doing since.
[00:33:20] Sean: Yeah. Do you have a secret recipe?
Hector: I do but I can’t tell you because it’s a secret.
Sean: I’ll definitely have to come up and try it.
[00:33:30] Hector: It’s worth it.
[00:33:30] Sean: You let me know when you come down next. We’ll go hang out in Boyle Heights.
[00:33:34] Hector: I usually come and hang out in Lake Forest, that’s been our home base when I’m down in Orange County.
[00:33:39] Sean: Let’s do it.
[00:33:41] Hector: In orange County.
[00:33:42] Sean: What’s your favorite beer? I want to pick that up next time I see you.
[00:33:47] Hector: Bohemian minus the end the “n” at the end. Bohemia.
[00:33:49] Sean: Got it. Nice. Where’s that from by the way? Where in Mexico?
[00:33:55] Hector: You know, I don’t know where it’s made but it’s a national beer. I mean, it’s been around for, you know, at least a hundred years at this point.
[00:34:02] Sean: Done. Okay.
[00:34:02] Hector: What’s your favorite beer? Bohemia!
[00:34:07] Sean: And then the next one is, you know, any interesting content that you’ve consumed lately that you’d like to share. Whether it’s books, articles, especially for Hispanic heritage month.
[00:34:18] Hector: I’ll share something that I’ve seen and then something that I’ve read. So, Gentefied on Netflix is a great show not just because it’s taped in Boyle Heights but it’s one of those what I talked about earlier by like it’s our responsibility to be successful in everything that we do.
[00:34:36] I think it’s one of the few opportunities we’ve seen through media, an alternate positive depiction of the Latino community. And so, Gentefied. I recommend it. And then something I read, one of my former colleagues from LinkedIn wrote a book called How Successful People Get Ish Done and I highly recommend it. It’s a great book based on his hustle.
[00:35:00] Ish is one of the best hustlers I’ve ever met. And we ended up being colleagues at LinkedIn and he’s young, young guy, and he wrote a book based on his experiences of how it is that he hustles in the self-help space. And there’s not a lot of Latinos writing in this space. And so, through the eyes of a Latino perspective, somebody that didn’t come from privilege, somebody that kind of similar to my background, like humble beginnings that has been able to do some amazing things in the tech space and as a DJ and as a coach and so many different things. So, you know, How Successful People Get Ish Done.
[00:35:32] Sean: Love it. Okay. We’ll definitely share both of those links in the description for this episode. Definitely. Yeah.
[00:35:40] Sean: Okay. Last question is, do you have a favorite memory of Haas?
[00:35:45] Hector: My favorite memory of Haas, got to pick one. It’s graduation. It’s me being the student speaker. It’s 35 of my family members sitting at the very top of the Greek theater, screaming my name, acting like it’s a soccer match.
[00:36:04] Sean: Yeah. What’d you talk about?
[00:36:06] Hector: The theme was leadership and it was about me sharing some thoughts about what I thought the leader for the future needs to be like, you know. And it’s funny to me cause you know, wrote this back in 2011 but I think I wrote that for the 2020 version of myself.
[00:36:26] And I listened to it every now and then. And I think to myself, man, this is what I need to be doing today when I think about leadership today, you know, who I need to lead?
[00:36:36] Sean: Yeah. What was the takeaway?
[00:36:38] Hector: Well, the takeaway is that you have to be diverse and you have to embrace diversity. I speak about how the leader of tomorrow needs to speak multiple languages.
[00:36:48] So, I thought about they need to be bold and they need to be audacious. Now I’ve learned we need to be compassionate and empathetic and humble. So, to me, I was proposing a profile of a leader that nine years later, as I listened to the video again, I think it’s so relevant today, you know. You gotta be a global leader. Leaders can’t be just one type of leader. And that’s why I think, all these things that we’re seeing today playing out in our society globally.
[00:37:16] I think a part of the problem that leadership has only been looked at and appreciated and admired and rewarded for being a certain way. And it’s very homogenous and so you need a leader to be able to touch the lives of people that don’t look like you, who are not from your background, who don’t speak the same language as you, and be able to inspire them. You can’t just lead people who are like you. You have to lead people who are unlike you. And I think that’s the main takeaway.
[00:37:49] Sean: That’s a real testament of leadership, to be able to lead people unlike you. Well, thank you so much, Hector. This has been such a pleasure. Can’t wait to talk to you again and get some updates in the future. Maybe have you on again.
[00:38:04] Hector: Yeah, no, I love to, bring me back. I love the sound of my voice. We’re going to, we’re going to delete that out.
[00:38:13] Sean: Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the OneHass podcast.
[00:38:18] If you enjoyed our show today, please remember to hit that subscribe or follow button on your favorite podcast player. We’d also really appreciate it if you could give us a five-star rating and review. You can also check out more of our content on our website at haaspodcasts.org, that’s podcasts with an S at the end, where you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and check out some of our other Berkeley Haas podcasts. Until next time. Go bears.