In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, six Kyndryl employees share personal and professional experiences

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, 2023, in the U.S., honoring the contributions and influence of the Hispanic and Latino communities.

While Hispanics make up only 8% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs, according to Pew Research Center, many are making a major impact on the technology industry.

At Kyndryl, Hispanic and Latino employees are powering progress by working to build a culture that is more inclusive than the outside world. Here, six Kyndryls share how their Hispanic heritage helped shape their career journeys.

Brianna Fernandez Richardson

Senior Associate, Experience & Event Strategist 


How have you overcome cultural challenges?

I immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when I was 8 years old. We moved in search of better opportunities, chasing the American dream. Initially, the transition was hard for me. I had left my family, my language and everything I had ever known, and I was faced with an abundance of cultural differences. Despite these challenges, my drive never changed. From a young age, I knew that giving up is not an option — my Hispanic culture instilled that in me. We work hard and continuously push ourselves to be better because we are fighting for not only ourselves but for our loved ones. When one of us wins, we all do.


How has Hispanic culture impacted your career?

I’ve witnessed individuals in my family come to this country with nothing and create everything, because we know we are doing it for a greater purpose. The values instilled in me by my Hispanic heritage taught me to always seek improvement and understand the importance of aligning my work with larger goals. That sentiment empowers me to be better and keep chasing my dreams.

Daniela Fleischmajer

US Chief Marketing Officer


How has Hispanic culture impacted your career?

From a young age, my Hispanic heritage emphasized the importance of forging connections and building relationships on a foundation of trust. It also instilled in me the virtues of “greed” in a positive sense — where passion and unwavering perseverance intersect. These values have taught me to collaborate effectively, share ideas and build a network of support both within my IT career and in my personal life.


How have these values positively impacted you?

This relentless desire to pursue my goals has encouraged me to take risks and seize new opportunities, such as moving to the U.S. one year ago. Though it wasn’t easy to make such a transformative life decision, the values instilled in me by my Hispanic heritage have helped me quickly adapt to a new environment with resilience and determination.

Ally Jimenez Klopsch

Director, Healthcare & Government Sector


How has Hispanic culture impacted your career?

When I was 15 years old, I was introduced to the art of ballet folklórico, a style of Mexican folk dance, by a high school teacher. I had seen the dances performed at community events celebrated in my hometown, such as Cinco de Mayo. I enrolled in the class and soon discovered it was intense, emphasizing technique, control, strength, and style. I quickly learned that performing this form of dance required structure, consistency, discipline and the willingness to work hard.


What does hard work mean to you?

The most transferable skill from dance to business is hard work: Showing up, being prepared, having a positive attitude, and putting forth the effort. Consistent hard work applied to any discipline should be a given if you want to succeed. Ballet folklórico helped me to understand that challenges and setbacks will be plentiful but help pave the road to success. Commitment to the objective and deliberate practice will make the execution easier when the moment comes. 

Alex Madrigal

Vice President, Global Strategic Alliances


What values did Hispanic culture instill in you?

The first gift I ever received as a newborn was a pair of soccer cleats, presented by my grandfather, a former professional soccer player. Growing up, soccer — or should we say “football” — was a focal point for my family and friends. I’ve lived in four distinct countries — Costa Rica, the U.S., Mexico and Venezuela — which granted me the remarkable opportunity to forge connections and immerse myself in diverse Hispanic cultures. However, doing so required me to make new connections quickly to fit in. Thanks to mutual passions such as football, many of these relationships were cultivated.


How has Hispanic culture impacted your career?

Cultivating personal connections is something Hispanic cultures have taught me. This has resonated with me throughout my life and is a principle I regularly incorporate into my professional endeavors. Effectively establishing rapport with individuals, ascertaining their preferences, concerns and sources of motivation, and identifying common ground are pivotal in building trust and rapport. This practice, when applied in business, has the power to elevate people like me in sales from mere vendors to esteemed advisors. 

Ana Reis

Senior Lead, Program Manager — Career Pathways Team


What values has Hispanic culture instilled in you?

I was born in Ica, Peru. My father worked for the UN, and this meant frequently moving to different countries. It was hard to move so often, but each place I’ve lived taught me multiple lessons. Guatemala taught me how to be proud of my Hispanic heritage, Brazil taught me the values of trust and love, and some places even taught me the same thing but with a different point of view. Experiencing different cultures helped me comprehend the value of being flexible and accepting change. Changes can be hard, but they teach you resilience and to see the glass as half full.


How have these lessons impacted your career?

These lessons prepared me for the work environment that we have today, where change is normal. I was ready to adapt and have loved the fact that I am always learning. They have helped me understand the value of diversity and how different cultures can bring so many unique perspectives and additional creativity to our daily work. 

Clara Restrepo

Director, Connectivity Services Sr Global Delivery Partner


How has Hispanic culture impacted your career?

My school life, my friends, my family, my upbringing in Colombia shaped who I am today and how I have navigated my professional career. I immigrated from Medellin, Colombia, to the U.S. to pursue an advanced degree after completing an engineering degree in Colombia. Being bilingual in Spanish and English and understanding other cultures has enabled me to work on a global scale to achieve amazing results.


What is your best piece of business advice?

Stick to the same basic rules learned as a child and use your differences to complement each other. I realize that all the lessons I learned in school when I was a kid in Colombia still help me as an adult working with global teams. Sharing and knowing how to collaborate with others, playing fair, valuing honesty and continuing to be curious and creative are some examples.


Also, our differences make us stronger. Because I did not learn the language until I was an adult, I speak accented English. I used to be self-conscious about it until someone helped me realize that because of my accent, people pay more attention to me when I speak to be able to understand what I am saying. What makes us unique makes us stronger both individually and as a team.