This post is also available in: Spanish
Every year at this time, America celebrates the diversity of the Hispanic culture and embraces inclusivity at work, at home, and in society as a whole. It’s time to celebrate!
Every year, the United States observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The month-long observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Enacted into law in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month includes the September 15th anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; and both the Mexican and Chilean independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
Here at DB Schenker we are extremely proud of our diverse workforce, which includes numerous Hispanic individuals who contribute their time, energy, and resources to making our company the success that it is. Here are some of their stories.
Nathalie El Barche
Senior Business Analyst – Americas Data Steward, Region Americas
With the goal of getting to the office at least 25 minutes before official “start time,” Nathalie El Barche’s day starts when she leaves the house in the early morning hours in order to miss rush hour traffic delays. “Once I get to the office, I grab a coffee, sit down, and plan the day,” says El Barche, whose primary responsibilities include ensuring data quality, developing standard operating procedures, conducting training sessions, and developing tutorial materials.
“I also develop and manage tools for the maintenance of data integrity, communicate changes and updates within the system,” says El Barche, “and represent DB Schenker Americas in global customer relationship management (CRM) workshops in order to achieve the implementation of effective solutions to meet the needs in each country within our region.”
With a background in engineering and international business, El Barche says that foundation has helped her perform well in her current position, where attention to detail, logic, communication, and understanding across different countries—as well as the ability to solve problems quickly—have all been indispensable.
“DB Schenker has given me the opportunity to manage a work team with a vast cultural diversity,” says El Barche, who interacts frequently with people in different regions who hold a position similar to hers, and then uses that time to share strategies and experiences. “By understanding and analyzing the different challenges in each country that constitutes the Americas region, I can help find solutions that provide a common benefit.”
For El Barche, Hispanic Heritage Month means never giving into defeat or giving up when things get tough. “It’s about getting up in every fall and facing every challenge and never giving up on dreams despite the obstacles that may arise,” she says. “This month also gives me an opportunity to remember my roots wherever I am and to thank my country of origin, Venezuela, for who I am.”
Human Resources Manager, United States
A new member of DB Schenker’s human resources team, Alex Munoz supports the logistics provider’s regional executives, management leaders, and individual contributors on recruitment, retention, employee engagement, talent development, compensation analyses, global mobility, employee relations, and performance management matters.
“We also connect with other HR colleagues to discuss ideas, provide solutions, support and execute initiatives, and continue our overall development,” says Munoz, who resides in South Florida and enjoys the diverse group of DB Schenker employees with whom he interacts daily.
“Our population is composed of a very diverse group from all over the world, which is very exciting and humbling at the same time,” says Munoz. “It’s exciting because we learn about each other’s cultures and customs. It is humbling because we are people from different regions connected through DB Schenker.”
Reflecting on the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, Munoz says it is a time to reflect on our differences, our heritage, and our achievements that make us proud citizens. “We’re being recognized for our descendance, our roots, and our qualities.” he says. “In a way that is welcoming, inclusive, and encouraging.”
Senior Marketing and Communication Manager, Region Americas
For Daphne Robboy, having Hispanic roots means being able to relate and interact with colleagues, customers, and suppliers throughout the entire Americas region—from Canada to the U.S. to Latin America. “That’s the territory that I oversee,” says Robboy, “so having that Latin influence, and understanding the culture, the dynamics, and how business gets done within those markets is just invaluable.”
As the mother of a 2-1/2-year-old son, Robboy’s calendar is full most days. When she gets to work in the morning, her primary responsibilities include liaising with global headquarters, ensuring that her counterparts in Germany are up to date on what’s going on in the Americas region, and what’s coming up. “Right now, we are launching Connect 4.0 in the region, so that’s a big topic between my division and global,” says Robboy. “That means a lot of early-morning calls to ensure that we’re aligned as an organization.”
Calling inclusivity a natural part of DB Schenker’s culture, Robboy says the diverse team that she works with even gets together for potlucks and other events on holidays. “Our company encourages us to take part in these types of gatherings,” says Robboy, “and to spend time together as a team that encompasses so many different people from all over the world.”
For Robboy, Hispanic Heritage Month means being able to value and respect the hard work that her mother’s family has done to provide a life for the next generation. Having fled Cuba due to the revolution, Robboy’s mother brought her strong values to the U.S. and created a new life for herself and for her future family (she would later meet her husband and start a family in the U.S.). “For me, Hispanic Heritage Month is about paying homage to my family,” says Robboy, “and what they’ve been able to accomplish in spite of the setbacks they encountered.”
Marketing Analyst, Region Americas
As the marketing analyst for DB Schenker’s Americas Region since Oct 2018, Benjamin Menchelli is part of the team that manages the company’s social media channels. During this time the logistics providers’ Facebook followers have increased to over 45,000.
Menchelli says his workday involves creating graphics for departments in the Americas Region, including videos, infographics, and headshots. He works closely with the company’s social media manager, strategizing and designing social media campaigns and providing analysis and suggestions for the company’s websites.
“In my academic life, I’m a member of the American Marketing Association and Association of Latino Professionals for America,” says Menchelli, “both of which provide support and guidance on how to succeed as a Latino in the professional world.”
Menchelli sees Hispanic Heritage Month as a great time of year to celebrate his Hispanic culture and remind himself of the Hispanic people who are currently suffering worldwide as a result of their countries of origin. He enjoys working in DB Schenker’s regional office, where the wide range of diverse employees allows him to feel free to express his culture while also learning about other cultures.
“Everyone here is multilingual, and because there are so many Spanish speakers from different countries, I can learn more about all the different variations of my own culture,” says Menchelli. “Additionally, they keep me up to date with world events happening in Latin America, which overall makes me feel closer to home.”
Compensation Analyst, Region Americas
In her role with DB Schenker, Abigail Gonzalez has had the opportunity to work closely with people from around the world; support the Region Americas (and specifically, Latin America); and travel to Mexico and Brazil. She works with all levels of the DB Schenker management team, and says that being Hispanic helps her communicate, understand, and fulfill the needs of those team members and their respective countries.
On a typical work day, Gonzalez can be found working closely both with DB Schenker’s German-based global team and its Latin America team, ensuring that projects, employees’ salaries, and benefits are all fair and accurate.
“Speaking Spanish, I can converse seamlessly with them regarding any current projects. We also discuss promotions, salary adjustments, and benefits that need to reviewed,” says Gonzalez. “Working in my parents’ tongue has helped me improve my Spanish and truly appreciate my parents’ efforts to learn both English and Spanish.”
Calling DB Schenker a great place for people from all cultures and ethnicities to work, Gonzalez says the company’s Miami office features a “Latin flair” that makes everyone feel welcome. “As Hispanics we bring inclusion with ‘cafecito time’ at 3PM,” she says. “When everyone is tired, many of the employees take it upon themselves to make a batch of Cuban coffee that wakes up the whole office.”
For Gonzalez, Hispanic Heritage Month is a great reminder and an important time to reflect on the sacrifices that her parents made so that she could have a brighter future. “Family and community are a main focus when it comes to the Hispanic and Latin culture,” she adds, “and I’m very proud to bring my Latin flair into the workspace.”
Senior Trade Lane Analyst, Region Americas
During his five years with DB Schenker Cesar Larancuent has been given numerous opportunities to increase his responsibilities and roles; learn from various organizational leaders; and develop his career within the logistics industry. Working on the Ocean Product Management Team, and more specifically on the Trade Management Team for LATAM in the America’s Group, he helps create synergies between DB Schenker’s carrier partners and valued customer base.
“We work alongside the company’s commercial department, operations, and overseas partner offices,” he says, “to provide the best possible strategy—and ultimately, solutions—for our customers.” To further advance his knowledge and skillsets, Larancuent is currently enrolled in a Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain program—something that will help prepare him for future success in the industry.
The eldest of five siblings, Larancuent says being part of the DB Schenker family has empowered him to be himself and allowed him to infuse the “warmth of his culture” in to the workplace. “The family atmosphere here has allowed me to own my culture and live to the best of it every day,” he explains, “allowing for the diversity and integration of all of us, connecting us back to our roots, and permitting us to create relationships that go beyond our workplaces and that transcend countries.”
For Larancuent, Hispanic Heritage Month is both a celebration and an opportunity to embrace the culture and his heritage. “It’s also a time for understanding and appreciating those who came before me and created opportunities for us who followed,” he continues. “I want to do the same for the generations to come, and am always looking for ways to give back to my culture.”