“Why Not Me?”
By Guillermo Diaz, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer, Kloudspot
Chairman, Hispanic IT Executive Council
Board of Directors of Blue Shield of CA and
Board Seats for Cristo Rey High School
Networks, Latino Business Action Network,
Npower, and the Latino Donor Collaborative.
In front of every strong man, there is a strong woman. I, therefore,
have a superpower because I had two incredible, strong and
supportive Latina women in front of me who nurtured my spirit and
taught me many powerful life lessons: two of which I will share here.
Always Remember Where You Came From To Know Where You
My mother is my Silver Unicorn. She lost her husband, my father, in a car
accident when I was 15 months old and my brother was just four months old.
To support us and our extended family, she worked as a Telecommunications
Specialist for the Department of the Army at a time when virtually no women,
especially Latinas, were in the technology field. The original Latina in STEM!
My father was originally from Mexico City, so my Diaz family roots were
there. I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, so we could have easily lost
touch with the Diaz side of my family. My mother instead made sure that we
stayed connected and understood exactly where we came from and who we
came from. We were as much Mexicanos from Mexico City as we were
Americans from Pueblo, Colorado.
I always knew what our rich culture
and lineage stood for: hard work
and courage, but also humility and
caring for others. This strong
foundation and history continues to
light my path forward, and why I
frequently say, “always remember
where you came from, to know
where you are going.”
Why Not Me?
Another lesson was from the
matriarch of my family, Grama Dora,
who was my first and best champion. Mi Abuelita taught me that someone is going
to change the world, so “WHY NOT ME?”
Grama Dora cared for me and my brother while my mother was working. She
believed in me and saw things that I could not see then. I still remember being a
young teen and confiding in her about how nervous I was for an upcoming national
martial arts tournament. I promised Grama that I would do my best, however,
and she responded, “you will be the champion.” When I came home with the
championship trophy, she said, “of course, I knew you would win.”
From that karate tournament as a teenager to C-level leadership roles in top
global companies, becoming Chairman of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC)
and Board of Directors at Blue Shield of CA, I still recognize that someone will
change the world and ask myself the question that I learned from mi Abuelita, “WHY
These principles have guided my life and my career. They are embodied and
carried forward by many other amazing Latinas in my life, starting with my wife and
daughter, and then continuing with the amazing core team at HITEC, which is 90
percent women; the esteemed HITEC Board of Directors, the top technology
leaders in the world which is 50 percent women; the incredible Latina
entrepreneurs from the Stanford Leadership Entrepreneur Initiative; and finally, the
promising young Latina students that I work with as part of the Cristo Rey High
I was recently interviewed by one of those students, and she asked me this
question: “what advice would you give your high school self?” The answer was
simple – I would tell myself that someone is going to change the world, “WHY NOT
ME?” And, so why not YOU? #Adelante.
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Guillermo Diaz, Jr., is a transformative global business leader and champion
of inclusion and diversity. He is the CEO of Kloudspot Inc., an innovative AI
and IOT analytics platform. He is also the Chairman of the Hispanic IT
Executive Council, serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Shield of CA and
board seats for Cristo Rey High School Networks, Latino Business Action
Network, Npower, and the Latino Donor Collaborative. In his prior role, he
served as the Global Chief Information Officer at Cisco Systems and was
responsible for the Information Technology organization, strategy, and
services. Guillermo began his career in telecommunications with the U.S.
Navy, where he received a military scholarship that led to his Bachelor of
Science degree in Business Administration from Regis University in
Colorado. Prior to Cisco, he held senior IT leadership positions with Silicon
Graphics, Intelligent Electronics (Ingram Micro), and Alza Corporation.
46 www.latinastyle.com L ATINAStyle Vol. 27, No. 3, 2021