By Christian Angulo, HOLA ERG Chair and Senior Partner Development Manager at Coursera
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and Latinx impact, we’re excited to introduce you to HOLA, one of the first employee resource groups (ERGs) established at Coursera. The HOLA ERG was founded in 2018 to create a community for Latinx Courserians to come together in celebration of our shared roots, and to amplify the values of community, creativity, and drive that are at the core of our Latinx experiences. In this post, we’d like to share some of the ways we’re making an impact within the Coursera community, and beyond.
In the three years since our founding, we have focused our efforts on making an impact in three key ways:
- Career development. Help HOLA members enhance their careers through strong professional development and serve as a talent engine to encourage other Latinx professionals to pursue careers at Coursera.
- Community. Create an inclusive, safe community by fostering a sense of “familia” at Coursera through regular Comunidad meetings and quarterly events.
- Culture. Enhance members’ sense of cultural pride and share our traditions through events such as Salsa lessons and a virtual tango exposé.
As we look ahead to the coming years and consider the impact we want to have, we have taken the step to formalize a new iteration of our mission statement. We look forward to this statement guiding our efforts as we continue to grow our community and expand the scope of our work:
“HOLA’s mission is to create an inclusive community for our members by fostering a strong sense of familia at Coursera. HOLA members should feel empowered to share their culture openly, and to use our community to aid them in their professional development. HOLA members look to work with Coursera leadership to recruit and grow new generations of community, educational, and business leaders that empathize with the values of the Latinx community.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. During this exciting month, HOLA organizes Coursera’s HHM celebrations, and we use this time to bring awareness of Latinx culture and traditions to the Coursera community.
Before the pandemic, communal lunches in Spanish were a highlight of our HHM celebrations. We’d work with our facilities team to organize the week’s food menu to represent diverse Latinx cuisines, and provide Courserians with a real taste of our ancestral lands. We also hosted movie screenings and Salsa dancing classes!
During the pandemic, with in-person gatherings on hold, the need to feel connected has become even more important. So last year, HOLA leads and volunteers decided to expand our efforts beyond our internal company community. We partnered with the Latino Community Foundation, a non-profit organization based in California, to organize a fundraiser.
We also created new virtual events. In place of our movie screening, we had a magic show that streamed live from Bogotá, Colombia. Instead of a Salsa dancing happy hour and the Coursera piñata, we enjoyed a stand-up comedy show featuring Latinx comedians from the San Francisco Bay Area. And finally, to ensure food would still play a central role, we featured an arepa-making class led by a Coursera board member.
We also distributed a Latin American Culture Awareness Kit to our colleagues (full of recommendations for Latinx authors, films, and artists), and raised over $15,000 for the Latinx Community Foundation.
As we kick off HHM 2021, we are excited to continue our tradition of celebrating not just within our company but with the entire global Coursera community. To that end, we invite you to learn Spanish with us for free during HHM, and to check out these courses taught by Hispanic experts.13