The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is shaping up differently this year for Duke Energy’s Latino employee resource group in Charlotte, N.C., Latinos Energizing Diversity (LED).
“It was the time when we all got together, shared our culture and tasted some of the exquisite Latin flavors,” said LED Chair Cristina Moncayo, who’s from Ecuador. “This year we will be bringing a special week of virtual travel, inspirational stories and entertainment experiences to provide employees an opportunity to embrace the Hispanic culture and flavors in a new way.”
She doesn’t want this month to solely be about fellow Hispanics celebrating their heritage, though. “Everybody is Latino at heart,” she said. “We share so many things in common, like the importance of family.”
She also wants anyone, Hispanic or not, to benefit from LED services.
“We try to share our information with anybody who might need it,” Moncayo said. “Somebody is always looking for a job or an opportunity for growth.”
That’s why the virtual resume workshop they’re hosting with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library and Hay Trabajo (a Spanish job website launched by another LED member) is in English, with a workshop later in Spanish.
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) was established to recognize the cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Moncayo is passionate about the fact that LED not only provides opportunities for growth, development and networking for Duke Energy employees, but that it also extends its mission into the community. LED also has chapters in Cincinnati and Florida.
“We created a Latino Community Initiative within LED, and the goal for our team is to increase the pool of Latino employees out in the community,” she said. “We are also collaborating with HR to build a pipeline when working with schools, community colleges and nonprofits in the area.”
“She’s been a natural,” said John Barquin, Duke Energy vice president of commercial legal support and the LED executive sponsor. “She’s diligent, energetic and very passionate about the organization’s mission. She gets things done and gets them done well. One thing that amazes me is the number of community engagement activities she’s pursued with LED, and the real effort she and the rest of her team bring to them.”
Tips from Cristina Moncayo
To Hispanics (or anyone) entering the workforce:
“Do your best in any work you do and build your network at every opportunity you get. The door will open at the right time.”
To anyone considering a volunteer opportunity:
“So many people say they don’t have time to get engaged with volunteering, but you always gain so much more than what you give.”
Diversity and inclusion at Duke Energy
Duke Energy is committed to diversity and inclusion. Click here to learn more.
While it’s not Moncayo’s job to make a difference in other people’s career paths, she’s made it a thread in her daily work. She has been employed by Duke Energy in some form for 25 years, starting with North Carolina Natural Gas. She’s currently a senior business and technical consultant with the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) team, focused on user experience. “I help make changes to tools and communications we provide to our applications users,” she said. “I find fulfillment in helping others and making things easier for them.”
That spills into her work with LED and her volunteerism with Latin Americans Working for Achievement, an organization that supports education for young people.
“I fell in love with their mission to improve the quality of life in the community by providing opportunities for further education,” she said, getting involved with its tutoring program, then joining the board and later becoming president. “If I get engaged with something, I go into it full force.”
And whether she’s working toward better user experience with Duke Energy’s applications, improved job preparation for Latinos in her community, or enhanced education for Latino youth, her effort is rooted in one desire.
“I want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to prove themselves at least once,” she said. “I help provide tools so they are ready for when that moment comes.”