September 15–October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, the perfect opportunity to recognize those representing, unifying and elevating the Hispanic and Latino communities. At CDW, we’re celebrating the occasion by highlighting the contributions of our Hispanic Organization for Leadership & Achievement (HOLA) Business Resource Group.
HOLA cultivates an inclusive culture where everyone feels respected and empowered. By providing professional development and community involvement opportunities for both HOLA members and CDW coworkers at large, HOLA supports the professional growth and multiracial nature of Latin Americans.
We talked to Lessly Perna (she/her), Sr. Coworker Services Business Partner and HOLA Chair, and Alex Arteaga (he/him), Director, Partner Investment and HOLA Vice Chair, about HOLA’s lasting impact on its members and CDW. Here’s what they had to say.
By providing professional development and community involvement opportunities for both HOLA members and CDW coworkers at large, HOLA supports the professional growth and multiracial nature of Latin Americans.
Alex Arteaga (AA): HOLA consists of six Board Members that support our four committees: Professional Development, Community Outreach, Communications and Membership & Recruitment. We have a Chair and Vice Chair that support our strategic objectives and guide our committee members to meet our annual commitments. We also have an Executive Sponsor, Sanjay Sood, who provides Executive oversight, guidance and support to ensure we meet our strategic objectives. We also have over 20 committee members that support our Board to deliver on the amazing events we initiate throughout the year. We are a fun group that are not only colleagues, but friends, which makes this an amazing BRG to be a part of.
Lessly Perna (LP): HOLA is celebrating all month long with weekly communications that share information related to our theme “Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation: Hispanic Progress is American Progress,” a trivia event to learn more about the Hispanic community and our signature event taking place on October 13th to name a few.
AA: When I started at CDW in 2002 as an Account Manager there was not a single Hispanic Sales Manager at CDW to my knowledge. Within the first month of my early CDW career I knew that I wanted to be a Sales Leader as I have always had a passion for coaching and developing others, so much that I made it my career to build the necessary skills to achieve my goals. I did not build the experience, skills and business acumen by myself to get to where I am today; it took support and mentoring from a lot of great CDW leaders to get to where I am today. I realized a few years ago that while I was involved in the Emerging Leaders Program, I needed to pay it forward to my Hispanic colleagues in a bigger capacity. It was then that I made the commitment to myself and my coworkers to get hands on involved with HOLA and share what I could to help others achieve their goals as I once did.
LP: I love answering this question because I got involved with HOLA as a way to pay it forward. I’ve been blessed to have great mentors and leaders here at CDW that have helped me navigate my career and grow. As I’ve continued to grow, it’s been important for me to share with others in hopes they are able to learn from my journey. Being Chair and part of the Executive Board for a few years has allowed me to help other Hispanic coworkers by ensuring HOLA’s strategic plan focuses on development, retention, and education.
AA: HOLA has impacted hundreds of our members annually by providing phenomenal professional development roundtables from leaders throughout the entire organization. We have impacted our communities through philanthropic efforts like backpack drives, supporting underprivileged youths, helping Hispanic coworkers feel empowered every day at work and so much more. Every year we seek to deliver meaningful and impactful content to our members, and we will continue to seek feedback to ensure our members can feel proud of their association with HOLA.
LP: I am very proud of HOLA’s growth. We are over 860 members strong and continue to see on average 20% growth in our numbers. I’m proud of this accomplishment because it hopefully means coworkers are joining HOLA as they learn more about the value we bring to the organization and to Hispanic coworkers. We strive to help Hispanic coworkers develop and grow, while having a sense of belonging at CDW, and help educate all CDW coworkers about their Hispanic peers.
AA: While HOLA represents a large number of coworkers that self-identify as Hispanic, we have so many that are allies and truly value the benefits of being a member and even leaders within our committees. We focus our strategic initiatives on coworkers from all generations, departments, locations, tenure and roles within CDW. We are a truly diverse BRG that is inclusive of all of our members and constantly strive to deliver more value to every one of them each year.
LP: HOLA’s mission is to be a resource for Hispanic coworkers here at CDW. We work hard to align our yearly strategic plan to what our members say they want and need in order to produce content/events that are impactful and meaningful to our target audience.