Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the U.S. At Amazon, we honor the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans year-round and are inspired by the work they do to innovate for our customers every day.
Even with varied roles across Amazon, they share the esperanza (hope) of the Hispanic community and a common goal of delighting our customers. Get to know some of these talented Amazon employees, how their culture inspires them, and what they hope to instill in future generations.
Elena Marroquín, marketing manager, Prime Gaming
Growing up in a predominately Mexican neighborhood in Houston, Marroquín did not see many people who looked like her and her community in the media, across different industries, or in leadership roles. Being the daughter of two immigrant parents, Marroquín never imagined she’d be a marketing manager for Prime Gaming. She feels it’s important for her to break down barriers and to help increase the number of Latinas working in tech and the video game industry.
“Video games weren’t something that my family could afford, so it always felt like a luxury to play at someone’s home who did have them. Fast-forward to the present day, and those barriers no longer really exist. Everyone can play—and maybe even work in the industry one day,” said Marroquín. “In my current role, I hope to be an example not only to my family, but to future generations, to show them that this career opportunity exists and is attainable for them.”
Paul Font, senior practice manager, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Font leads the professional services team supporting the Space Force team at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Born to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Font spent much of his childhood in the Dominican Republic, and he credits his Hispanic heritage as being pivotal in fueling his desire to succeed both as a leader at a large tech company and in supporting the U.S. DOD. His goal is to make history with this new branch of the military, like many other Hispanics in the past—including Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic-American woman to go to space.
“As I see other successful leaders in our community, I am inspired to celebrate my culture and not hide from it,” said Font. “When I see myself and others succeed, I am proud to share what makes me, me. I used to see aspects of my culture as weaknesses, but now I see them as who I am—and who I am is why I am a successful leader.”
Pedro Maldonado, manager, U.S. Hispanic retail business team and vice president of Latinos@Amazon affinity group
With Latinos currently representing 18.7% of the total U.S. population, Maldonado’s role is critical in ensuring Spanish-speaking consumers find the product selection they want and need on Amazon.com. For Maldonado, taking care of Latino customers makes business sense, and it goes beyond ensuring the shopping experience is available in Spanish. From helping Hispanic-owned small businesses reach a broader audience, to making products beloved by the Hispanic community available on Amazon, representation in retail is critical to pushing the community forward.
Through his volunteer work as vice president of Latinos@Amazon—Amazon’s Latino affinity group—Maldonado aims to level the playing field for future generations of Latinos and help more of them succeed in corporate America.
“I feel that having Latinos in leadership positions enables other Latinos to have a path to better advance their careers,” said Maldonado. “Being able to receive feedback, discuss shared experiences, and look up to somebody that looks and talks like you, and has [had] similar experiences, is very important.”
Vanessa Velasquez, category manager, U.S. Hispanic retail business
Velasquez is one of the many Amazon employees who have developed and grown their careers at the company by working across a number of business units. She began her journey with Amazon in operations, leading fulfillment center teams, then transitioned to corporate as program manager for global mergers and acquisitions working with AWS. Now, she is on the retail team, working on the U.S. business Hispanic team to help curate selection for Spanish-speaking Amazon customers.
“I remember my mom would send me to Colombia when I was 8 years old, and then I would come back and ask, ‘Where are all my snacks? Why doesn't America have ChocoRamos?’ And now, I get to bring in those companies,” said Velasquez. “Not only am I helping grow ecommerce for Latin America, but I’m also making it fun and easy for Hispanics across the country to be able to get the products that they love.”
Juan Gonzales, human resources business partner, Operations, People eXperience and Technology (PXT)
Education has always been one of Gonzales’ passions, and he’s been able to lean into that passion at Amazon as an HR business partner—putting all of his efforts into helping and supporting internal customers, employees, and management. While he now lives and works in Arizona, Gonzales is originally from Nebraska, where he was born to a family of migrant farmworkers who settled in the area in the 1950s and ‘60s. His father was a single parent, and instilled in Gonzales the belief that education would provide him with opportunities and a better life.
A board member for Jobs for Arizona's Graduates for 20 years, Gonzales has been dedicated to helping at-risk students, with more than 50% of the students he serves being Latino. Each year, the program helps more than 2,000 students in middle or high school, supporting and motivating them to get back on track with their studies and to find a pathway to continued education, meaningful careers, and productive adulthood.
“For me, it's always [about] giving back. I feel like I've been given this opportunity. How I got here was not by accident. Yes, it was through hard work and a lot of sacrifice—[but] luck played part of it as well,” said Gonzales. “I want to give back to show [that] if this guy from a small town can make it, anybody can. No matter the background or the circumstances, you just have to have hope.”
Diana Enriquez, program manager, Workplace Health and Safety
Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Enriquez believes that access to education is critical to providing growth opportunities for Hispanics. She is inspired by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun, writer, philosopher, and poet who lived during the 1600s, whom she learned about in college. The story of de la Cruz defining her own future and purpose, regardless of traditions preventing women from attending a university, is one that stuck with Enriquez. Today, she is excited to see the Latino community involved in education at all levels, and underscores the importance of Hispanic people learning about technology, politics, sustainability, and science.
“The more educated we are about these sections [technology, politics, sustainability, and science], the more we will be able to drive positive change in our communities, especially for future generations,” said Enriquez. “We [Latinos] are a community formed by collectivistic traditions, valuing family above all, and are great at representing this through our traditions, food, and art. Through our family values, we tend to drive positive experience, by treating our customers like family.”
As Workplace Health and Safety program manager for Amazon, Enriquez has seen firsthand the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Latinos, and the resulting struggles, within the community. “Although people lost jobs, businesses, and loved ones, hope remained. Esperanza (hope) continues motivating us to live, love, and help each other.”
DoraMaria Abreu, senior program manager, Engineering Knowledge Growth
Born in New York City to Dominican parents, Abreu lived the immigrant experience, learning about her culture through food, music, dance, and speaking Spanish at home before learning English in school. Not regularly seeing Hispanics in leadership positions often made her feel like she didn’t have a seat at the table. In her role at Amazon and as a leader of Latinos@Amazon, she aims to change that.
“Latino entrepreneurship is important, because it creates and builds possibilities and a future that otherwise would not be available to us. Some of these businesses provide services to our communities, while others are setting the global trends,” said Abreu. “My advice to Latino entrepreneurs is to always look to tell our stories and serve our communities, while also learning and teaching others, so that their success leaves clues for those who follow.”
Ana Sánchez-Jáuregui, director, Private Brands, Amazon Fresh
Sánchez-Jáuregui discovered her passion for brand management more than 17 years ago and never looked back. With nearly seven years at Amazon, Sánchez-Jáuregui has worked in a variety of roles and currently serves as private brands director for Amazon Fresh (and in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, she says the Aplenty pineapple salsa is a must-try!). But her success didn’t come without its challenges. Born and raised in Madrid, Sánchez-Jáuregui moved with her family when she was 17 to Puerto Rico—where her mother is from. She only spoke Spanish at the time. As a college student at the University of Puerto Rico, she recognized that she would need to learn English to make her career aspirations a reality. Knowing it was her best shot, she packed her bags for a college-exchange program in the U.S., in Massachusetts, with little financial support. Soon after, while still in school and with her husband, Sánchez-Jáuregui became pregnant with their first child, a daughter.
“It was scary and challenging to balance being such a young parent while also pursuing my professional dreams. Being a Latina woman, it can also be difficult when there are not a lot of people who look like you in positions of power,” said Sánchez-Jáuregui. “Even small things like having an accent make you question if you can get there, but now I’m able to joke about it. I learned to find strength in what makes me unique, instead of trying to fit a mold, and most importantly, I don’t let my past define my future. I truly believe that passion, authenticity, and resilience will open unexpected doors. I pinch myself when I think about where I am today, and I strive to be an advocate and mentor for others, as many have been for me throughout the years.”