This past weekend I had the opportunity to be part of LATISM13. LATISM, which stands for Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 with the mission to advance the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. Since I recently started blogging and am still relatively new to social media, when I first heard of the conference I was reluctant to attend. I was sure it would be a reunion of seasoned bloggers and was truly afraid of feeling out of place. Luckily, my good friend Diana convinced me that it would be a great opportunity. I’m glad I listened; LATISM13 turned out to be an absolutely rewarding experience!
photo courtesy of Mi Caminar
Growing up I wasn’t exposed to many professional Latinos. I was one of the first in my family to graduate from college. College itself wasn’t very diverse and now, even though the work I do directly benefits the Latino community, I feel like I have very few opportunities to cross paths with Latino professionals. It wasn’t until after LATISM13 that I realized how important this really is. There’s something extremely empowering about seeing people like me achieve great things. It was especially important for me to learn about the humble beginnings of many of the panelists. Hearing how they overcame adversity to become leaders in our community made me feel like there is very little I cannot achieve.
Most importantly, however, was the sense of community that permeated the rooms and halls of the Waldorf Astoria throughout the conference. Bloggers big and small, old and new spent three days sharing and learning from each other. Instead of feeling out of place, I felt like I was at a family reunion. I made new friends, expanded my network and received great advice on everything from how to raise my kids bilingual to how to use social media platforms to advance social good.
LATISM 13 wasn’t just a chance for bloggers to catch up or meet in person, it was an opportunity for a group of leaders with a common goal (advancing the socio-economic status of our people) to join forces. LATISM13 was a call to action for all Latinos with a voice; everyone from coders to fashion editors. I left the Waldorf Astoria on Saturday determined to make a difference; to use my voice to speak up for all those in our community who are not being heard!