Bringing Latinas to Tech: The #LatinaGeeks Story
A common passion for technology and all things digital is what brought me and co-founder LaLa Castro together to create #LatinaGeeks. We spend our days connected to various social media sites and noticed that while there were many diverse resources for Latinos online, there was no online space where Latin women could collaborate and feel proud of their geeky passions. It was at that pivotal moment #LatinaGeeks was born. In this article, I present our plan to create a first-of-its-kind community in hopes of empowering and inspiring Latin women by spreading the knowledge of entrepreneurship, social media and technology.
The Early Days
LaLa and I started our digital path in the early days of the internet. My passion for science and technology began as a young adult and has definitely evolved over the years. I’ve focused on branding and marketing for the past 10 years. In 2007 I began focusing on using social media for brands, since that’s where marketing was heading. LaLa has an extensive knowledge of social media and is an early adopter of e-commerce back when website plug-ins weren’t readily available, which meant she had to teach herself to code. In 2003, when she ran her e-commerce business, there weren’t many resources or mentors within reach, so she had to learn from trial and error.
While networking at events, LaLa and I noticed there was only a small percentage of women who showed interest in technology. A majority of the time there weren’t any other Latinas. We decided that we wanted to be able to share our experience with other Latinas through sharing our personal goals and prior struggles to get where we are in our digital careers.. We wanted to not only connect only as entrepreneurs, but also as Latinas who know that something needs to change in our community. There is a need for increased resources for Latinas who are interested in digital or technology, and we know there are more women out there who are hungry for further tech knowledge as we are.
With the internet constantly evolving, we created #LatinaGeeks to support our peers online by keeping them informed about the latest trends in social media and technology. Our news site is geared to U.S. Hispanics and is written in English with a splash of Spanglish, sass and humor. Information ranges from what’s new on Facebook Pages and how they can benefit from the network, to which technical equipment is best to use for a successful Google+ Hangout. We’ve made it our job to let our audience know how they can benefit from the web, as well as which technology can be used to produce great content for their own followers. Our site also reviews the latest gadgets, mobile applications, social technology and local tech-startups that women can apply to their daily lives and/or business.
We also feature Latinas who take pride in their geeky passions. We highlightwomen with various backgrounds such as gaming, math, mobile tech and education. While many of the women live across the country from each other, the common passion that connects them is the love for technology. That driving force is what excites us and encourages us to push forward with our geeky movement and to build upon our community. The women who are currently involved are what make everything worthwhile. Offering an online space where women can talk about the last techie fashion trends, as well as the latest gadget sale at Best Buy is what we welcome, because we can relate to it.
We’ve made it our long-term goal to create partnerships with educators, tech experts and business owners so that we can provide successful resources and programs to mentor Latina entrepreneurs. We’ve partnered with local Latina organizations and Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association – Los Angeles in hopes of giving back to the community and finding other Latina geeks in the area. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with brands such as Sprint, Sony Electronics and Best Buy, and we are looking for more opportunities to offer to our online community. We are based in Los Angeles, but it’s only a matter of time before we expand worldwide.
Taking #LatinaGeeks to the Next Level
#LatinaGeeks plans to take our movement to the next level throughout the remainder of the year. We’ve launched our Google Hangouts and are able to connect with our amigas nationwide. We plan to offer exclusive educational programs that will allow our audience to earn certificates online. Additionally, #LatinaGeeks will also offer entrepreneurial programs for our community. Having learned how to run our own businesses without many resources, we are huge advocates of helping other women find their way with their own start-ups. Whether it’s finding support for funding, initial business structure or marketing, we are available to provide assistance by sharing our expertise or finding resources that will guide them with their efforts.
Giving back to the community is something we truly enjoy. A few of our upcoming community initiatives include small tech seminars and quarterly subscriber tech meetups. We also provide sponsored networking sessions and bring in our partners to provide networking sessions for our community. We hope we can engage with local agencies, groups, organizations or tech startups through our endeavors. We also plan to organize technology breakfasts or lunch meetups for our community in Los Angeles, as well as in Orange County.
We are always on the hunt to find other Latina Geeks, not only in our area, but also throughout the U.S. and would love to connect. There are various ways to get involved, such as attending events, advertising with us, participating with us as a writer or simply visiting with us online on Facebook or Twitter. We always welcome suggestions on topics to include in our content calendar, and we’d love to be able to feature many more Latinas in our ‘Featured Geek’ section. Where are our Latina Geeks at? We would love to hear from you.
For more articles and resources, visit our Women in Technology page.