Living Cultural Pride

We highlight our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion through our employee profile series and recently spoke with Ruben Esqueda, Astellas Oncology executive representative and a vice chair of our Hispanic Employee Impact Group. Ruben shares his Latino cultural pride through his Astellas work and in his home community of El Paso, Texas.

How does your Latino heritage help you in your role as an Oncology executive representative?

I help educate and provide access to Astellas’ Acute Myeloid Leukemia product across a large geographic territory that includes New Mexico, Las Vegas and west Texas.

Sharing the Spanish language, cultural beliefs and values with the people I meet with goes a long way. Being based in El Paso is also a key differentiator. My strong understanding of the local culture informs my communications with patients and healthcare professionals – our strong sense of community and culture brings people together in a way that it would not if I was from outside the area.

October is Hispanic Heritage Month. Tell us how this time and your active involvement in the Hispanic Employee Impact Group helps you live your cultural pride.

I’m very proud of my personal heritage and my membership in the Hispanic Employee Impact Group (HEIG). I work on the recruiting stream, which strives to increase Latino representation at Astellas. We also work to create career paths for our Latino colleagues, whether it be through lateral moves or promotions.

Most don’t realize it, but the HEIG is very diverse with members representing many Spanish-speaking countries, not just Mexico. The Hispanic Heritage Month activities aim to raise awareness of the many regions of the world where Spanish is the dominant language – places like Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

How has the recent tragedy in El Paso affected your community?

The loss of 22 of our neighbors and friends is unthinkable. But those of us who are from El Paso have a renewed sense of pride. It’s hard not to when you think about how we responded and continue to support each other. People waited in 100+ degree weather to donate blood, people stood in a two-mile-long line to pay respect to a victim who had no family, and we remain focused on helping those who need support. This is the true color of the community that I belong to, the one where good prevails over evil.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like others to know?

Most people don’t realize that 1.2 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are Hispanic or Latino. Like my father and uncles, I served in the Navy. Carrying on the tradition, my oldest son will graduate from the Naval Academy in Annapolis next year and my twin boys are planning on joining the Navy’s officer corps when they finish their bachelor’s degrees.

While I was raised to be very proud of my heritage (especially the food my mom made), I was also raised to be American first. I love this country. I’m proud to have served our country and I’m proud of my sons choosing this route as well.

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