In the past couple of years, it's become clear that diversity is a problem for Silicon Valley. But there are still bright spots in tech, and the Hispanic IT Executive Council's (HITEC) has chosen a select few Hispanic leaders in technology that are making a difference towards diversity and inclusion of Latinos in the high tech industry.

HITEC is a global executive leadership organization, founded with the goal of increasing Latino representation in the technology industry. The organization is committed to enabling business and professional growth for its Latino members, as well as building the executive leadership pipeline for the next generation of Hispanics in information technology.

On Wednesday, HITEC announced three corporate awards for 2015, as well as a new award category honoring trendsetting innovation in high tech companies. The awards will be presented at the HITEC 100 Awards Gala on Nov. 6, hosted by Facebook in Palo Alto, California.

The honorees for this year's HITEC Corporate Awards are the following:

Corporation of the Year


The corporation of the year award recognizes a company's commitment to the vision and mission of HITEC in leadership, engagement and throughout the ranks of the company.

"Comcast has been a consistent partner with HITEC for four years and has provided two committed and engaged leaders who have been instrumental" in furthering HITEC's cause, the organization stated in its announcement. In particular, corporate senior VP Myrna Soto and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Director Ursula Keating were noted as outstanding partners with HITEC in its mission.

It's also worth noting that according to Comcast's most recent diversity figures, 12 percent of all employees are Latino, with 9 percent in management positions. And in the past four years, Comcast has increased the number of Latino leaders at the executive level, vice president and above, by 23 percent, and Latinos at the director-level by 64 percent.

Regarding the digital divide, the company's Internet Essential's program, offering low cost broadband and computers at subsidized prices for low-income families, has connected over half a million families. Over half of them are Latino, and along with the hardware and connection, Comcast's Internet Essentials program provides digital literacy training in both English and Spanish.

Member of the Year

Jesse Cortez, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Hewlett-Packard

HITEC awarded Jesse Cortez the member of the year award for his personal commitment to "pushing up and pulling up" others to help increase the number of Latino leaders represented in the corporate technology world.

"Jesse Cortez has been an exceptionally involved member of the HITEC family," wrote HITEC. "As a representative of the Board of Advisors, Cortez has been an active supporter of the HITEC mission and has been an exceptional leader in setting HITEC's direction and strategy."

Cortez's workplace, Hewlett-Packard, made history last year as Rev. Jesse Jackson's first staging ground in his push for more transparency about workplace demographics and diversity in the technology industry, which eventually led to the issue gaining wide attention.

As Latin Post previously reported, Jackson chose HP's shareholder meeting in March 2014 to call out Silicon Valley because of the company's leadership potential on the issue of diversity, and praised its history of appointing women leaders at the company.

"HP is uniquely positioned to lead this new era," stated Jackson at the time. "Inclusion and fairness is part of the DNA of HP's history."

HITEC Estrella Award

Guillermo Diaz, Jr. CIO and Senior VP of IT at Cisco

The Estrella Award recognizes individual leadership, as well as career success in the technology field. According to HITEC, Diaz is being honored for being " the IT leader for Cisco's Transformation Portfolio, a top Cisco priority intended to align all company priorities, investments and business models to drive optimal return on investments." He also heads Conexión, Cisco's Latino employee resource network, and is a leader on Cisco's Diversity Council.

But beyond his successful career, HITEC declared that Diaz embodies the spirit of the Estrella Award. "He is a model leader and community benefactor," praised HITEC. "He is a mentor to many in the industry and a mentor to the next generation of Hispanic Leaders through his support of middle school students at the Sacred Heart Academy."

Trendsetter Award

Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Mexico

This first-year award was created to recognize outstanding achievement in the honoree's career while "blazing a new trail for reaching the HITEC mission."

HITEC honored Arroyo for his time as President of AT&T Technology Development, prior to being appointed CEO of AT&T Mexico, for his thought leadership in advancing the company's innovation strategy, business mission, and deployment of technology.