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How Techqueria Successfully Pivoted to Support an Online Community During COVID-19

This month, we’re joined by Jasmin Gonzalez of Techqueria to discuss the organization’s history, goals, and recent initiatives.

How Techqueria Successfully Pivoted to Support an Online Community During COVID-19

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we’re joined by Jasmin Gonzalez, Community Marketing Director at Techqueria for this month’s partner spotlight. Jasmin joined the team at the start of the year but has already dove headfirst into supporting initiatives and leading new efforts with Techqueria.

Jasmin Gonzalez recently sat down with us to explore the organization’s history, goals, and recent digital shifts during the pandemic.

What does Techqueria do and how do you achieve these objectives?

Techqueria serves Latinx professionals in the technology industry. Our mission is to provide Latinx talent with the resources they need to succeed. We work with individuals who are professionals in the field and align ourselves with both tech companies and employee resource groups (ERGs) to build Latinx-centered spaces that revolve around career advice, recruiting, mentorship and networking in order to comprehensively affect change in the tech industry. We are able to offer programming and events that folks may not have access to in their workplace.

Who are your members/donors within your community?

We have gender parity. Members typically have about three to five years of experience in the industry and identify as millennials. About 30% identify as engineers, while the rest have roles across the spectrum in tech.

Which cities does Techqueria have a presence in?

Over the past year, we've focused our programming on a national level through virtual events. Historically, we have chapters in seven cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Atlanta. We’re looking to revamp and relaunch chapters that have been inactive in the past as the world opens back up.

What are the different types of services and programs offered?

At the partnership level, we offer companies the ability to partner with us on events or programming. We also offer recruitment support through our job board and resume bank, as well as marketing.

For members, we offer lots of events that cater to them. We host a monthly career fair, which is held collaboratively with Blacks in Technology. Our goal is to connect a diverse candidate pool with different leading tech companies.

Membership is largely based in our Slack community. Today, we have 10,000+ members in our very active Slack community, which is something we really pride ourselves on, and approximately 16,000+ members in our network. We see around 30,000 messages per month shared among members. We value that as we’re trying to create a safe space for members.

In the tech industry, Latinx folks often comprise less than 5% of workers in a workplace. We want to help individuals find others in their field, share advice, and ask questions they may not feel comfortable enough to ask their peers. These vary from professional to identity-based topics.

Membership is free, but there is an application process. We want to make sure it remains a safe space. You must self-identify as Latinx & be in the tech industry to be a full member. We do allow allies into the community and we encourage folks to become our allies and connect with members.

How have you adapted programming throughout the pandemic?

We've been hosting across chapters with considerations for COVID regulations on the local level. That's something that a lot of our growth stemmed from the need for community. I've gone to a few of our NYC meetups myself, and it's been great to put a face to the profile picture I see on Slack. I love being able to meet people and have that one-to-one interaction!

What has the funding process looked like for Techqueria? Do most of your donations come from small or large donors?

We do a fee-for-service model. Corporate partners give to our community through our partnership offerings. We also have some corporate and individual donors. Over the years, we've received grants that help us out and we have folks who sponsor certain attributes. (Like our website hosting, for example)

We see lots of one-time donations come in during Latinx Heritage Month and there are many different channels for affiliated donations, including bunny.money, eBay charities, and proceeds from other partners.

There are also lots of tech companies that are now matching donations. We always encourage members to look into that and give back if they can!

What is the most impactful thing Techqueria has done in the past?

We started our career fairs with Blacks in Technology this year. We've had 200-300 attendees at our career fair every month. It’s great to see that much talent at each fair and to allow them the opportunity to engage with companies that truly value diversity.

We’re currently preparing for our second annual Latinx Heritage Month Summit — last year we had 1,500+ attendees. We’re hoping to match that and celebrate more Latinx individuals in the industry.

Perhaps most exciting, we surpassed the 10,000 member mark in August. We grew our community 98% from July 2020 to July 2021. We've completely grown through word of mouth and other organic means, as we don’t believe in paid media for joining the community. I always wonder if there are other people who need the community but aren’t yet aware of it.

What fundraising challenges have you faced?

Over the past year or so, challenges have come as we've grown and decided to become a nonprofit. Structural and operational processes have been a struggle, but I'm hopeful that we will restructure with grace and gusto. We recently had some board changes and they've been really supportive of that process.

What is the impact of a financial donation made to Techqueria?

We have a lot of volunteers that support our team. Some donations go towards thanking them. We offer speakers at any of our events an honorarium. We have ongoing reimbursement costs for chapters in software and tooling. Although we do tend to get a nonprofit discount, it does help us with the operational budget.

What does the future of Techqueria look like?

I think we're going to continue to be very attentive to what our community needs. Especially in the past few months, we’ve been catering our programming to reach more folks. Recently, we made the decision to continue with our career fair, since the #LatinxInTech community still needs support in the recruitment process we feel that these fairs offer a direct pipeline to talent. We also would like to create a larger capacity for our members to be included in some of our processes. We’re always looking to revamp structural processes to include more feedback and make more inclusive decisions.

What’s the best way for individuals to get involved with & support Techqueria?

Our annual conference is October 6th-8th. That's the Latinx Heritage Month Summit. We explore the nuances of being Latinx in the industry and celebrate our culture. You can learn more at www.techqueria.org/summit.

To explore opportunities to get involved, check out our website.

Support Nonprofit Organizations Like Techqueria

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