To celebrate Latin American Heritage Month, we are delighted to showcase Citlalli Rios, a Mexican-Canadian TRIEC PINs leader. Citlalli is a trilingual professional with social innovation, business strategy, and product management expertise. With over twelve years of experience in Sales, Marketing and Customer Management, she is passionate about diversity, equity, women empowerment, and sustainability. In her current role at eCampusOntario, Citlalli is actively involved in promoting digital transformation for businesses in Ontario through innovation and collaboration. Additionally, she enjoys networking, mentoring, and supporting the Latino community in Canada, serving as the Director for Alliances at Hispanotech, and participating in several other associations.

Can you tell us about your career journey as an immigrant professional in Canada? 

I’m originally Mexican. I landed in Canada with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and over ten years of experience in a middle management position. My journey has had its ups and downs. It took me some years to get back to my salary and seniority level. It has also involved lots of learning and adapting to new realities and different approaches to problem-solving. I learned how the “Canadian Experience” construct keeps immigrants at bay and protects the local candidates. Thankfully, that obstacle is slowly winding down, and several voices advocate ending this discriminatory practice. I take pride in my journey and extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported me in my integration.

Why did you get involved in TRIEC PINs Association Hispanotech?

Since arriving in Canada, I have participated in several volunteering projects. With Hispanotech, it started with me being a mentee and volunteer, then became a mentor, and finally decided to take on a board member position. I see this association’s positive impact on its members and the community around it. I wanted to partake in the conversation and help our community thrive, exploiting and showcasing its true potential. It is a challenging task, balancing our volunteering efforts with personal and professional priorities, but it’s worth it.

How does your organization support Latin American immigrant professionals in overcoming challenges toward finding meaningful employment in Canada? 

Federally incorporated in 2008, Hispanotech is a 100%-volunteer-led and run not-for-profit corporation that aims to help Latin American professionals integrate and advance their careers in Canada.

Our programs and activities target Latin American STEM professionals; however, everybody is welcome to join.

With networking, mentorship, education, and community outreach, we play an essential role in assisting new Canadians in the challenging integration journey into the Canadian labour markets. We also help professionals already working in their field who want to advance their careers navigating the Canadian corporate culture.

We partner with other associations to cross-promote events and benefits. We also work closely with multiple corporate Latin ERGs and maintain contact with all Latin American Consulates and several bridging programs to know of new collaborations and perks we can offer our members.

As a TRIEC PINs Leader, how has your experience leading your organization contributed to better serving your members? 

As a Director of Alliances, I’ve effectively connected several dots with stakeholders that have helped us build bridges and find new, meaningful collaborations. As a lifelong learner and forever curious, I’m constantly identifying new ways to leverage our current partnerships and creative ways to reach potential partners, always considering what our members will need at the different stages along their immigrant pathway.

What advice would you give to Latin American immigrant professionals seeking to advance into leadership roles in Canada? 

Connect with intentionality, support others, be adaptable, and care for your mental health. Identify and reach out to potential allies and keep an eye out for new skills to learn or develop with an open mind about your strengths and limitations. At Hispanotech, we are there for you. Please become a member through our website (and sign up for our newsletter), volunteer with us, and connect with us on LinkedIn.