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Meet an Afro-Latino in Tech: Joshua Encarnacion

This profile is part of a five part series in which the Kapor Center for Social Impact is sharing stories from our diverse tech community in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Joshua Encarnacion|People Development Manager at Outco Inc.

What type of work do you do?

I create learning experiences to support and coach software engineers through the development of the social, emotional, and behavioral skills necessary to become confident in their abilities and practice effective communication skills.

How do you identify/What is your background?

I identify as a Dominican American, afro-latino. I am black and latino/hispanic. My Dad was born in the Dominican republic, and currently lives in Nagua, DR. My mother is of Dominican descent, born in Queens, NY. I was born in Manhattan and raised between Brooklyn and the Lawrence and Springfield areas of Massachusetts. My first language is English, I also speak Spanish, but I am not Spanish.

What brought you into tech?

While in college, I studied two years of engineering and two years of human resources, minoring in leadership and civic engagement. Growing up immersed in tech (shoutout to Aim & Myspace for putting us on!), I’ve learned that the tech industry has the biggest influence on humanity. With a desire to learn how to recruit, train, and manage people from organizations that have proven to do so in the best way possible — I joined Google immediately after college. For many reasons, I’ve since ventured into the Bay Area startup scene, helping grow Finance Tech startup Earnest Inc. from 60–200 employees, and I’m now providing learning and development services for Outco Inc. I plan to continue growing as a human resources and learning and development professional in tech to ensure the industry understands the importance of investing and prioritizing in our communities of color as software continues to takes over the world.

What do you enjoy most about your role and the work you do?

Helping others accomplish what they desire. I’ve dedicated my life to a mission of growing and helping others grow, while laughing and celebrating life with as many people possible . As a coach focused on learning & development, I get paid to live out my mission. Check out this TEDX Talk to better understand why I’ve adopted this mission.

How do you think tech can help bring more opportunities to the Latinx community?

  • Invest in trainings on how to develop their employees emotional/ multi cultural intelligence so they can contribute in creating a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment for the Latinx community. — We don’t want to work for companies if we don’t feel understood.
  • Invest in better understanding Latinx communities to help improve recruitment, development, and retention efforts. — There is no “pipeline” issue, or “shortage” on Latinx talent. — Tech employers are being lazy (and other words) and hiring from the same pools of people with privileged experiences.
  • Hold all employees accountable for creating inclusive environments, and stop delegating the responsibility to their “diversity” departments which are made up of black and Latinx employees. — We are often tasked with solving a problem we didn’t start. Solving the problem of less than 5% representation of black and brown folks problem at tech companies should be a priority for the people responsible for creating bias hiring systems which favor white men from specific institutions and/or privileged experiences.
  • Continue to highlight Latinx tech professionals to influence youth’s interest in being part of the industry. — We can’t be what we don’t see!