Courtesy Vanessa Alvarez

Vanessa Alvarez, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, is the daughter of immigrants and the first college graduate in her family. She has firsthand experience with the challenges of blossoming out of poverty, working herself through school and leveraging the support of numerous mentors to reach her current situation. In her professional role she helps companies understand the value of cloud computing and leverage innovative technology to increase business value.  She was named one of the Top Women in Cloud Computing two consecutive years and one of Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts in Huffington Post.

She is also a conscious role model for girls and young women, particularly Latinas, who struggle with the circumstances of their upbringing and have a limited view of their possibilities. She works with Latino activists in low income neighborhoods in her childhood home of Rhode Island, striving to raise the profile of technology as a viable pursuit for girls. She is also a member of CloudNOW, an organization that promotes women in technology and collaborates with other organizations encouraging girls to enter the world of STEM.

Pivotal momentum of reinvention

The moment I realized I needed to build a brand in order to establish a career in the tech field. Realizing that your brand is important and represents who you are is a big moment. I started as a junior analyst at The Yankee Group, where I worked with extremely talented analysts who were shaping the future of the technology industry. I wanted to be a part of that. I also observed that many of the star analysts were brands on their own, and I realized how important it was to establish yourself in a space, a niche, and own it. It’s the difference between a job and a career, doing something you love.

 Moonshot Goal

I want to help move the needle on Latinos being represented in the technology industry. It’s critical that Latinos be a part of the future, and that’s technology. I partner with several Latino activist groups to drive more interest for Latinos in technology. I also mentor many young adults who are not aware of their opportunities, or of the exciting world of technology.

Morning Routine

I wake up at 5 am, remind myself of what I’m grateful for, fuel up with coffee, turn on CNBC for market news, and read about what’s going on in my industry. I may squeeze in a workout or run.

Unplugging

Unplugging is hard, the tech industry is moving so fast, and I want to move with it! I need to know what’s going on all the time, but when I do unplug, it’ll be for a few hours to spend with family.


This post originally published at Forbes