Carlos Saldana Headshot

Carlos Saldaña, Senior Graphic Designer





What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month mean to you?

During this month I have a chance to reflect on the roots of my heritage, and the generations that came before me. Having kids also gives me more of an opportunity to share those stories and traditions with them. My mother is Colombian, and my father was Peruvian. All the events that go on during this timeframe help center me on where I came from and those who got me here to where I am today as a person. My Hispanic culture shapes a lot of who I am, and their traditions help shape my core values.

What unique perspective has your heritage/culture given you?

Being a first-generation immigrant, I was raised in a household that kept its homeland traditions but adopted some American traditions as well. I always tell people that I was raised on Peruvian food and Colombian soccer. Being that I am not just one nationality, I got a unique view of the amazing people and their resilience to progress where they could, with not always ideal situations.

My father came to the United States with $300 he made from selling all his personal belongings after making his mind up in a literal day without knowing any English. My mother came to the U.S. to study from Colombia not knowing the language or anyone here. Needless to say, they both stayed because they believed this country would give them the best opportunity they would have to meet their goals. I would also say that I may also be part of that reason, but that is another story.

Growing up with these folks raising me I was constantly reminded that if there was a will there was a way. So, it shaped me into always trying to find an answer that worked when I was presented with a challenge. It also instilled a work ethic that has helped me throughout my career. I come from two sets of people who were very prideful of their countries, one with a heavy European influence and another very indigenous. While I am versed in Salsa and Cumbia music, I can also hold my own in Cumbia Selva and Huayno.

What are some of the things you love most about your Hispanic heritage?

Food and music are the top two things I love most about my Hispanic heritage. Colombians have great coffee, but have you ever tried a pan de bono? Arepa de chocolo (not the arepas from Encanto)? Bandeja paisa? There is so much to offer, especially since the country has all the terrains, so the food varies by region.

Peruvian food has been trendy for the last few years but imagine growing up eating ceviche as your Tuesday dinner. In my household, it was the equivalent of what some would think of as their Tuesday meatloaf dinners. Peru is also a country that is diverse in its terrain, so the food varies by region but the unique influence there is the Asian influence. Peru was the first country to sign a treaty with Japan and because of that, you had some migrate and make their homes there. Well, they brought their food and infused it with Peruvian cuisine to reshape and innovate some dishes that are now national staples. Colombians are known for our Salsa and Cumbia music, but Peru also has Cumbia. Cumbia Selva, which translates to Jungle Cumbia originates in the jungles of Peru.

Once you select your music of choice sit back, enjoy, and pick your cocktail of choice. Now Colombians have Aguardiente which some may also know as Colombian fire water, and Peruvians have Pisco which some of you may have enjoyed a Pisco Sour or two. Either way, you decide there isn’t a horrible choice, and that is one of many things I love about my Hispanic heritage.

In what ways does your Hispanic heritage influence your work at Jabian?

One way that my heritage has influenced my work as mentioned in a previous answer is where there is a will there is a way. Looking for outside-of-the-box solutions is a nice phrase but watching people come to another land where they don’t know the language and have to find a way to succeed was always in front of me. My folks were not the smartest people, they weren’t the strongest, they didn’t make all the right decisions, and weren’t given many advantages, but their will to succeed and make it better for not just my brother and me, but their collective 22 brothers and sisters is a testament to my people.

We work hard, love hard, and treat everyone as people first. At least that is what I was raised to believe. Que viva Colombia, que viva Peru, and God bless America.

Mary Arfeli Headshot

Mary Arfeli, Senior Manager





What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month mean to you?

Besides being an opportunity to celebrate our culture, food, and traditions, I look forward to this month’s celebrations to hear all the media updates regarding the Hispanic American population growth statistics, economic impact, and consumer trends. For me, it is a moment to reflect on what is important to us as immigrants in the United States. To continue to embrace our culture, while at the same time genuinely adopting and thriving in the American one.

What unique perspective has your heritage/culture given you?

Due to my upbringing, I often perceive adversity as an opportunity to view a situation from a fresh perspective, new angle, and sometimes as an opportunity to prosper in a new beginning. I owe this ability to the mirrors in my life, my family and circle of influence.

On the other hand, due to the nature of my culture, I genuinely enjoy warming up a room before starting any conversation. I enjoy getting to know people’s backgrounds and learning about what drives them. I consider myself a connector and I am always looking for a way to introduce people to my community network. I thrive in a collaborative environment

Can you share some traditions that you grew up with/practice today? OR how do you celebrate your heritage?

One of the traditions that I recall enjoying as a child is called, Día de las Velitas (English: Day of the little candles). This event is one of the most observed traditional holidays of Colombia. It is celebrated on December 7th, on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, which is a public holiday in Colombia. This day is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the country.

On this day, people place candles and paper lanterns on their windows, balconies, porches, sidewalks, streets, parks, and, in short, everywhere they can be seen. I love this tradition as it is the one day all the houses are lit up with candles outside. Families gather, eat together, dance, and stay up until the late hours chatting and enjoying each other’s company.