By Hector Fresneda - CRM & Data Analytics Consultant + DTN Member
Throughout my career I have found obstacles, most of them directly related to the personal qualities of those who I worked with. Selfishness, fear, insecurity and narrow mindsets are some of the most common traits I have stumbled upon.
I am Hector, Spanish born and raised. After taking my MSc in Engineering Research in 2009 and working in temporary roles in Spain, I decided to move to London to look for career opportunities. The global financial crisis had just hit and youth unemployment rates reached over 40% in Spain.
During those first two years in London, I worked in parallel as an interim researcher for an ESA (European Space Agency) subsidiary company, published weekly content on Biowebspin (now Inospin) and founded my own company developing educational apps. I applied for no less than 10 jobs a day in the Greater London Area, considering relocation and up to 2h commute. I did that every single day, for 2 years.
"Do you have any experience in the UK?" - I would hear every time. But no one wanted to give me a chance to prove myself. "Spanish" (usually means fiesta and siesta, right?), or maybe "too young", or "too inexperienced", or a profile "too academic". "Are you white/white" then? or "Irish white"? or "other white"? is it "Latin Spanish" maybe? The truth is nobody cared. No one seemed to value any of my efforts, my skills, my courage, my drive, my passion, my training or my energy. No one was open to getting to know me. It hit me hard being an outsider. And getting to understand how it really feels changed my approach towards diversity and inclusion forever. It was a Portuguese chap that gave me my first chance in London. I was so grateful that not only did I never disappoint him, but he became one of my best friends in life.
After 3 years in sales management, I noticed that fear and insecurity in managers will keep you from being promoted 9/10 times. If that insecurity is then stressed by racial, cultural, gender or social preconceptions... you'd better change job. Surprisingly, as a manager, I always tried to get surrounded by people more brilliant than me. And I succeeded every time.
I joined DTN because of my firm belief that being a good person and helping others without expecting favours in return, with an open mind no matter what background they have, will bring good to our society.
For me this goes way beyond social trends, woke culture or whichever mainstream diversity greenwashing strategy gets popular nowadays. It is about respecting everyone, being fair to everyone and doing the right thing.