FCM Celebrates Hispanic Employees: Melissa Garcia
Why are we commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month here at FCM? Melissa Garcia shares her story...
Name: Melissa Garcia (she/her)
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Position: Project Deployment Coordinator, FCM
Born far away, now in the USA
I was born in Ecuador, AKA the Center of the World. I moved to the United States when I was a few months old, but I grew up in a very multicultural family – my father is half Italian, half Czechoslovakian, and my mom is Spanish. It was difficult growing up in the US sometimes, the Hispanic population made up only 1% of my neighborhood, and I dealt with some ignorance from neighbors. English was not my first language, and when people heard me and my family speaking Spanish, they immediately assumed I was Mexican. This shows that sometimes non-Hispanics in the USA don’t understand how many different countries Hispanic & Latino Americans descend from. It’s interesting to me how easy it is for people to just lump all Spanish speakers into one category. We owe it to ourselves to learn more about the many cultures who make up our community. Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time for that, since so many resources are front and center.
Keeping heritage close to heart
Despite any discrimination I’ve faced, my family has always prioritized honoring our culture and where we come from. It’s so important to us to cherish our roots - it defines who we are and who we may become. Honestly, I feel so blessed to be born different.
I also can’t talk about my Hispanic heritage without talking about food. Ecuador is known for seafood, and I was lucky to grow up in Connecticut where seafood is easily accessible. Ceviche and shrimp-based dishes are some of my favorites. I love our traditional cheese empanadas which are as big as your head, and our regional sopa de locro, or potato soup.
Ecuador, AKA your next vacation destination
It’s really important to me to educate others about my birthplace. Many people don’t know a lot about Ecuador, and it is such a beautiful country with a rich history.
Quito is our capital city and it’s the first UNESCO Cultural Heritage City. It was also the first country in the world to give rights to the environment.
The Equator runs right through the country!
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Swing at the Edge of the World.
Ecuador is more biodiverse per square kilometer than any other nation in the world.
A lot of people don’t know that the Galapagos Islands are a part of Ecuador! This is where Charles Darwin crafted his Theory of Evolution.
We have two major Indigenous tribes that trace their roots back to the Incan Empire: Cayapas and Amazonians.
This is only the start of the things I love about Ecuador; I would highly encourage people to visit and learn more about my fascinating homeland. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures in this blog!
An influential heritage
My Hispanic roots have definitely influenced my career. As a people, we place a lot of value on family, tradition, and connections. As a multilingual person, I also have a well-rounded perspective. I’ve noticed that monolingual people tend to be a bit individualistic. A great way to learn from multicultural people is to learn how they approach situations and to think outside of your perspective. It helps us all be better teammates and people. I like to think my Hispanic heritage has made ripples in the workplace – as I use my cultural traditions to do my work, it can help influence change at work and help people learn more about me! Being open to different perspectives has made me more successful on the job.
We’d like to thank Melissa for sharing her story! We hope that everyone who reads this blog walks away with a deeper understanding of and respect for Hispanic Americans.