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.

I grew up in San Diego, California, so Tijuana, Mexico, where I was born, was just a drive away. While I was in physical proximity to my roots, I have always felt like I was walking a tightrope. I spent a lot of time trying to balance feeling both Mexican and American, often questioning internally: Am I Latina “enough”? Am I “American” enough? Would I be able to make my family proud and honor my roots? Would I be able to make my American identity shine just as bright to prove my love for this country?

Along my journey I have discovered that being “Mexican American” can be what I am proud of. My mother grew up in a small town a few hours away from Guadalajara, Mexico. She did not have the opportunity to pursue her own education but still remains the greatest supporter of mine. Her fierce love for her family always supersedes any of her fears or exhaustion. Even after waking up at 4:00 am and doing a 12-hour shift at work, she finds time to be our mother too. When I visit home, she makes my favorite meals that take hours and there is no saying “no” to her to extra servings. Her courage, perseverance, and strength are traits I never take for granted. My brother, a small business owner and the hardest working entrepreneur I know, also demonstrates immense determination. He often utilizes his skills and focuses on the impact he can make in our immediate communities. He is a perfectionist at his craft and is always someone I look to when I want an example of someone who embodies authenticity.

It is hard to explain what being Latina means to me without speaking about my family. To me, being Latina can be described in a few words: love, strength, and familia. Coming to HBS and leaning into my Latinidad is more than important to me— it feels critical. According to a McKinsey study:

1. Less than 5% of seats in Fortune 500 boards and in C-suites of corporate America are occupied by Latinos despite this community representing 19% of the US population.

2. Less than 5% of venture capital is directed toward Latino entrepreneurs.

3. Latina women hold 1% of seats in Fortune 500 boards, the smallest percentage of board seats compared to any racial or ethnic demographic in the United States.

4. Latinos currently represent $1 trillion of spending while their market share continues to grow.

I hope to use my education here to help change these statistics in my own way. I am excited to be a part of an HBS community that, like me, has different identities it is proud to represent and embrace. I am honored to be a part of the HBS familia for these next two years.