National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the United States each year from September 15 to October 15, celebrating the history and culture of Americans who have immigrated or have ancestry from Hispanic and Latinx countries.
Maren Gizicki, Human Resources Director at Triax Technologies, is a compassionate and understanding professional who always leaves her door open for those seeking conversation. As a leader in Human Resources, Maren has always believed in the importance of recognizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace as a Brazilian, Mexican, and German American herself. See what Maren had to say about how her Hispanic and Latinx heritage has helped shape her professional journey.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Gizicki: It’s a reminder of taking the time to celebrate histories, culture and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, The Caribbean and Central and South America. It’s a celebration for me of my Hispanic heritage and invites us all to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. My favorite foods are influenced by my Mexican and Brazilian culture such as the amazing feijoada, a Brazilian or Portuguese stew of black beans with pork or other meat and vegetables, served with rice. I was reminded to continue exploring my Mexican heritage, as a result I have been doing research on Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter best known for her brilliantly colored self-portraits to deal with themes such as identity and surrealism.
How did you get your start in this industry?
Gizicki: My first job out of college was an Accountant for PepsiCo. I worked with International Tax Equalization and part of my job while working with PepsiCo was collaborating with the Human Resources Benefits team. I realized immediately Human Resources was my calling and reached out to my college’s career department for assistance identifying opportunities in this field. Soon after, I started my first HR Coordinator job with the largest 747 Air Cargo Carrier company and have been in Human Resources ever since.
What advice would you give to young Hispanic professionals who are looking to get into human resources?
Gizicki: Get involved with your school’s career development department. They are always extremely helpful and have the resources to support a student’s career development. Create long standing and genuine relationships with your career development department by offering to help be part of any initiatives they need help with.
What would you say was your greatest influence for your career?
Gizicki: Living in Brazil for six years at the age of six. At the time, there was no ESL support or classes to take – I had to learn a new language, meeting people at that young age quickly and independently. I had to study, learn, respect everything around me without judgement. I hit many bumps in the road, many rejections, but through my family’s support and self-determination I presently know Portuguese and Spanish, have many friends I still speak with in Brazil and genuinely love helping organizations develop and grow with many wins for all. It is also why I have my Bachelor’s in International Business.
In your opinion, what challenges remain for Hispanic Americans today and how can understanding history help us to overcome those challenges?
Gizicki: We need to continue focusing on Diversity and Inclusion. Hispanic Americans are now more commonly seen in decision making and leadership roles, like CEOs, elected officials, board members, and more. Diversity and Inclusion can continually be improved by holding more conversations that highlight the valuable experience and successes of Hispanic Americans, which will drive us toward a better world.
Learn more about National Hispanic American Heritage Month here: https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/