The Latino Student Organization (LASO) proudly promotes and supports Harvard Business School’s Latino students and works alongside the Latino Alumni Association (HBSLAA). Representing a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, interests, and Latino heritage, LASO members spearhead initiatives related to MBA Admissions, alumni engagement, career development, and more to advocate for and empower the Latino community on campus and beyond. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked LASO members to tell us about what being part of LASO means to them.

When I inquire about what it means to be Latino/a/x, the most common response I receive is, "someone who has a Latin American heritage." While this definition is undoubtedly accurate, it holds a deeper significance for me personally.

To me, being Latino means taking immense pride in our Hispanic heritage and the traditions that come with it. I was raised in Lima, Peru, but my journey led me to the United States, where I attended college at the University of Kansas and later embarked on a career in Kansas City. I never imagined I would spend a decade in the Midwest. However, as I transitioned into adulthood, I began to realize that certain elements of Peru were conspicuously absent from my life. I yearned for the cuisine, the vibrant national holiday celebrations, the fervor for soccer, and so much more. Yet, I came to understand that what I missed were not mere physical artifacts, they were experiences—the warmth of the people from my homeland, which I still fondly call home. This realization fuels my fervor for encouraging others to visit Peru, to immerse themselves in its enchanting culture. It's why I consider myself an ambassador of my country, eager to introduce people to its rich traditions and to kindle the warmth within their souls.

Being Latino means passionately embracing our beliefs. It signifies a willingness to express our emotions openly and a lack of fear when it comes to vulnerability. We understand that a culture of support is crucial for personal growth. This is why we often find our voices, speaking up boldly in class, and at times, raising our voices against injustices that stir our convictions.

Moreover, being Latino underscores the paramount importance of family in our lives. In my case, I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by my extended family, which included my parents, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Our house may not have been the grandest or most opulent, but it was a place I cherished because it was always brimming with activity and conversation. Every family reunion, to this day, never adheres to a strict schedule, as we prioritize ensuring there's room for everyone, even if we must squeeze around tables that can no longer contain us all. Our inclusivity and commitment to leaving no one behind define us.

In essence, being Latino is an integral part of my identity, one that I am profoundly proud of. It encompasses a rich tapestry of traditions, emotions, and a deep-rooted sense of community that shapes who I am today.