Nuestra Gente: RJ Estrada on Translating Financial Literacy as a First Generation Hispanic American

Adelante Nasdaq! — our Employee Resource Group (ERG) which explores Hispanic, Latino, and Indigenous cultures — is a driving force behind our Hispanic heritage and Latinx efforts at Nasdaq. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting our members to better understand what being Latinx means to them and the role financial literacy plays in their community.

We spoke with RJ Estrada, Director of Paid Social Media, who believes the biggest challenges facing Latinx communities are financial literacy, access to quality health care, and language barriers.

Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Nasdaq.

I work with Nasdaq listed clients and internal Nasdaq marketing teams to coordinate, create, execute and optimize full funnel digital marketing campaigns. We currently oversee advertising on eight different platforms.

How did you find out about Adelante? What do you hope to take away and bring to the Latinx community?

I discovered Adelante when I first joined Nasdaq. A member of my team was one of the co-leads, and she told me all about the wonderful things the group stands for and does. Adelante serves to foster a sense of community for Nasdaq’s diverse network of Latino employees, as well as a pathway of education, highlighting many of the challenges facing the Latino community.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of Adelante?

Adelante is an organization that celebrates the rich and diverse cultures embraced by the vast Hispanic community, both in the United States and abroad. The group also serves as an educational vehicle, highlighting everything from customs to cuisines of different Hispanic cultures. I only recently joined Adelante, but look forward to attending in-person events and sponsoring career workshops with college and high school students.

How does Adelante encourage inclusivity and how can groups outside the Adelante network be allies of the Latinx community?

Adelante encourages inclusivity by bringing together a diverse mix of Latinos from different cultures and backgrounds. Groups outside of Adelante can be allies in understanding that the Latino community is far from a monolith. More than 20 Spanish-speaking countries span the world, each with their own unique histories, cultures, colloquialisms, cuisines and dialects. Therefore, although we share the same language, we are aware of the differences between backgrounds when referring to the wider “Latino” community.

What does being Latinx mean to you?

For me, being Latino means being part of a diverse community that spans continents, cultures, dialects and more.

What is the biggest challenge facing the Latinx community today, or something that you think is often overlooked for the Latinx community?

I believe the biggest challenges are financial literacy, access to quality health care, and the language barrier. Financial literacy and quality health care only become more elusive for those who don’t speak the language.

What is your favorite Hispanic tradition or personal cultural experience/history that you would like to share?

Growing up, my favorite tradition was to visit my families in their respective countries. My father is Nicaraguan and my mother Venezuelan, both emigrated here in their early twenties. My favorite memories involve visiting my family for entire summers at a time, spending time with my cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents, eating amazing food, and visiting cultural and historical sites. As a first-generation American, these trips connected me to my culture and allowed me to understand the worlds my family came from.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Geraldine L. Melton