Latin@s say presente to education and tech startups at Latino2

I just came back from the Silicon Valley where I literally spent less than 15 hours.  I took the red-eye back to be able to spend Sunday with the kids.  “Tired” would be an understatement after sleeping less than 5 hours in the last 48 hours.  However after the amazing LATINO2 experience, I will do this again and again, and then one more time!

The energy, the connections, the sense of comradery and familia unida combined with the level of brain power at the National Museum of Computer History this Saturday, made every single sacrifice worthy.  When I asked back in February: Where are the Latinos in Tech Start-Up? Well, over one hundred said presente with pride at Latino2!   The best part is that the conversation just got started.  So many Latin@s left on fire.  Ready to partner with each other and rock it!

The main point of the Latino2 conference evolved around the power we had in our hands to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  No more complaining about systems and outsiders.  We can create jobs, we can become a source of inspiration to our young Latin@s to bring up graduation rates, we can be mentors, we can start up.  By the mere fact that 100% of the Latino2 attendees were among the 9% of Latin@s with a 4 year degree (which is a scandal by the way).  We had the leaders ready to shape the present. So let’s MAKE IT HAPPEN!

You now have two options:

1) Let that fire you feel today turn into a few really nice tweets and facebook updates and even some blog posts.  Then slowly die until it becomes nothing but ashes and a great nostalgic memory until next year.

2) Let that fire you feel today turn into concrete action.   Yes, those actions should ideally include tweets, updates and blog posts since that’s the best way to keep up the momentum.  But it will also include the beginning of something huge.  Something that only YOU can create.  Only YOU can find the right partners.  Only YOU can instigate.  We’re all waiting for THAT.  What shape, color, name or form will it have? I have no clue.  All I know is that the uniqueness each one of you can bring to the table with your multi-cultural, multi-language, multi-rithm, multi-everything background can only turn into something HUGE.

If you are on the #2 category, please add your blog post about your reflections on Latino2 and most important, add your name to the Latin@ Tech Start-Up list.  We will create a group to start giving this idea some shape.  We need MBAs, Developers, Marketers, Investors, Tech Organizations, Sponsors, Subject Matter Experts, Project Managers.  We need YOU.  That way we stop talking and finally MAKE IT HAPPEN!

I was humbled to meet so many amazing talents who already engage in organizations we love and consider partners.  The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) brought a group of their leaders to Latino2.  If you are a Latin@ engineer, you must join them.  The NSHIMBA crowd rocked the house like always.  They’ll be very instrumental for the Tech Start-Ups.  There were organizations like ShisppaThe California SBDC, Every Circle, and many others who joined our movement.  Thank you, these types of collaboration make the real difference.

A huge thanks to Juan Sepulveda and Jose Rico from the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics, they got everyone thinking and engaged in finding solutions together to the education crisis among our people.  For those of you who were interested in the report, you may find it here: Winning the FutureGanando el Futuro You can also continue the conversation on their Facebook page.

The Speakers and Tech Start-Up judges were such an inspiration to all of us.  Thank you for volunteering your talent, your knowledge and your leadership.  I wish I had all the names here but I’ll get started with Claudia Galvan from Microsoft, Eliana Murillo from Google, Loida Rosario from Edelman, Hector Galvan from BootsMobile, Lisa Cuevas from Citrix, Sam Diaz from ZDNet, Matthew Clark from Microsoft, and many others who I will come back to add after I sleep a little.

Thank you to each one of you who took the mission in your own hands by nominating and voting for a Latino in Technology. We received over 800 votes in 4 days.  Thank you to all the nominees for your hard work. Congratulations to the winners:

Best Latino in Technology 2011 (People’s Choice): Ariel Coro, founder of @tutecnologia

Best Latino Startup 2011: LeaAnna Hernandez, Founder, App Developer of MyMic

Tech Start-UP Pitch Winner: Matt Gallizzi , CEO, NoTixTech

Best Latino Innovator 2011: Jesse Luna – CEO & Founder Jesse Luna

 

Last but not least, I can’t click the publish button without thanking the LATISM leaders who made LATINO2 happen.  Giovanni (Vice-Chair of LATISM Programs and LATINO2 Owner) who had the vision and the balls to stick with it even when it looked really shaky.  David (Director of LATISM – LA) for his continuous support, patience and perseverance. Eva (Director of the LATISM Tech Award) who jumped in, rolled up her sleeves and just made it happen.  Edgar (Vice-Chair of LATISM Events) who stayed behind the scenes with his usual humble style but made a huge impact in every angle of the conference.  Tanya (A LATISM Hero) who simply made us look good with her designs and talent! Elianne (Vice-Chair of LATISM Communications and Public Relations) who kept the communication going with her magical press releases and built momentum until the very last tweet last night.  Elma (Director of LATISM – Chicago and LATISM’11 Owner) who built amazing partnerships with sister organizations and Reina (Vice-Chair of LATISM Membership) who kept the logistics under control.  I am humbled by the generosity of this team.  Thank YOU.

Just remember that fire is a verb: 1) Burns, 2) Illuminates, 3) Spreads 4) Frightens

If your fire does none of those, then it must be fake (like the electric chimneys that “look” great with a perfect burning fire). They’re easy and require little to no work.  But if your fire is real, add your name here and let’s burn the systems with our energy and start-ups, let’s enlighten our youth, let’s spread our revolution until it freaks out the politicians, policy makers and giants.  For a real fire simply calls masses to action and must NOT be ignored.  Let’s MAKE IT HAPPEN! Coño!

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