Continuing our series of interviews in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are joined by Rob Velez, Vice President of Inclusive Network Sales at Vevo, for a conversation on the ongoing growth, impact, and influence of the Hispanic consumer, the importance of representation within one's workplace, and how much the industry has changed since his early career.
"When I joined this industry, the idea of running multicultural creative for many brands meant taking the spot they had in the general market, which usually depicted a white family. They would then add a voiceover of someone speaking 'Latino' and think, 'hey, this is how we're going to reach them.' They believed they were ticking the diversity box, but those days are long gone," he continued. "It's about understanding that as the country evolves and becomes more diverse every year, brands need to embrace this reality and recognize that great opportunities still exist. They shouldn't be afraid. At the end of the day, they should just hire experts to do the work."
When asked about the increasing importance of diversity and due diligence in the hiring process, Velez explained, "Diversity is everywhere we look, so why wouldn't it exist within our work environment? I remember not seeing myself in upper-level management, and it was one of those things you push aside and keep working," he explained. "But in today's world, where there's a heightened sense of consciousness like, 'I'm not being represented here. How does this company reflect my values if I can't even find someone to relate to?' You're doing a disservice to your organization.
"It's a detriment to the culture, and I don't think you're future-proofing your business if you're not having these conversations today about how to increase diversity. It's a basic requirement at this point. The country will continue to become more diverse, and if you don't have a strategy for diversifying your boardroom and C-level suite, you're setting yourself up for failure."
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