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Author's profile photo Alejandro Barajas

Month of Inclusion: KIPP Career Summit – Fostering Professional Growth Through Mentorship

Currently, I work with the SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) in Palo Alto, California, where I engage with partners and ISVs to assess their integration needs and perform technical due diligence to ensure a seamless integration with partner solutions into the broader portfolio of SAP solutions via a suitable certification program.  Recently, SAP ICC became part of a broader organization: SAP Partner Innovation Lifecycle Services (SAP PLS) within P&I Services, whose mission is to offer its services, along the partner innovation lifecycle to accelerate market adoption of SAP technologies and partner portfolios.

In addition, I’m fortunate enough to be a part of SAP Silicon Valley and have taken advantage of many great Month of Inclusion opportunities in February. I chose to volunteer at the KIPP Career Summit in San Jose because growing up in the Bay Area, I didn’t have a role model nor a picture of a successful Latino professional in high-tech, so I wanted the opportunity to meet with first-generation college students to share words of wisdom and practical real-world advice, which I would have liked offered to me at that age.  These young minds of diverse ethnic backgrounds are the future of America, so anything I could do to support their endeavors and goals for a successful career in STEM is nothing more than a pure pleasure to accelerate diversity within high-tech.

Volunteering should be a selfless act of generosity where that individual chooses to look after the needs of someone else and embarks on a journey to enable their growth by sharing their wisdom and life experience in the form of mentorship.  At the KIPP Career Summit, I volunteered with the intention of meeting a young man or lady, who was in need of guidance with how to write a resume, tips for a successful interview, and how to embark on a successful career after graduating from a college or university.  Ultimately, my goal was to serve the broader needs of this community to ensure they enter fields within STEM or other underrepresented fields to become visible and become mentors to future incoming graduates from diverse and ethnic backgrounds.

This experience has taught me to learn about the needs of others and how to offer tailored advice or guidance to ensure their needs are met.  Similarly, in my day-to-day role, I manage top-tier partner relationships with c-level executives, which inquire about our technical services and clear expectations need to be shared, so they understand how to engage and work with SAP to offer a seamless experience with transparency, while delivering the ultimate customer experience, while reflecting the Run Simple concept.

Currently at SAP, I’m the co-lead for Latinos@SAP in the west coast, which is an employee network that provides Latinos and friends the opportunity to connect, share experiences and expertise, and promote professional development via an online community and onsite events to promote cultural awareness and support diversity efforts at SAP.  During the Month of Inclusion, I visited several campuses: Palo Alto, Dublin, South San Francisco, and Sunnyvale to provide a presentation about the network to recruit new members and engage in discussions around how diversity drives innovation at SAP.  With this role, I’m able to support the network’s core strategic initiative to recruit young Latino talent and retain them through professional mentorship to ensure broader visibility within SAP.  Ultimately, this culminated into a personal initiative to ensure SAP becomes the employer of choice for Latinos, so there is broader representation by recruiting locally at university career fairs, professional mentorship, job shadowing, and strategic partnerships within the Silicon Valley.

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Month of Inclusion in the Silicon Valley and I’m excited for similar programs to come.

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