Celebrating National Hispanic American Heritage Month: Mario Valdes
Mario Valdes is the Product Communications Specialist at Treasury Prime. Mario is responsible for ensuring that Treasury Prime’s highly technical product information is communicated in a clear and concise manner in the Changelog that all stakeholders can understand. Previously, he worked as the director of operations at digital staffing platform Adia. Born and raised in Mexico City, Mario was a team member of Mexico’s national gymnastics team.
You were born and raised in Mexico. What was your upbringing like?
I was born in Mexico City, but I’ve lived all over Mexico. It's a very big country, and each region is very different, from customs, to food, to the way people speak. There are different ways of thinking in each region. Even within Mexico, not a lot of people know this.
That’s what I value the most about Hispanic culture – the different layers of it. And now I can cook probably like 20 different dishes from every state in the country – that's a very cool party trick, by the way.
I moved to the U.S. for job opportunities, but what I miss the most about Mexico is, number one, food and, of course, my family. I also definitely miss the warmth of the people over there. No matter where you go, if you knock on the door, anyone will make you feel like family.
That’s a part of my culture I try to bring here, to make everybody feel like family.
You were a team member of Mexico’s national gymnastics team. What was that experience like?
I was born and raised in Mexico. When I was around five, my mom realized that I was a menace in the house. I was a little ball of energy. So we tested several sports. I was decent at most of them, but gymnastics was different because it had a level of complexity and attention to detail that worked well with my brain. I did it for around 20 years. When I was around 15, I joined the national team, which was really cool because I got to travel the world doing what I love.
How do you think the skills you learned from gymnastics have translated to your work?
You have to be both very creative and very precise. You have to know yourself very well, and you have to be very aware.
Right now, my job is to document our product for external consumption. Essentially, I have to explain, as simply as possible, a complex product. So I think that's where the similarity lies, where the job is to make something very complex look very easy. That takes a lot of repetition, a lot of training, and, in this case, a lot of understanding of how people work, how people in different positions think and do things differently.
You said that you learned how to make many different types of regional Mexican dishes – are there any favorites that you like to pull out?
Yes! In Ensenada, which is like a surfer town, they're famous for their fish and shrimp tacos. The secret here is in the batter – the secret ingredient is beer, which helps make it super crispy. It tastes so good.
And from my birth city, Mexico City. I make really, really good chilaquiles. It's very simple, but the way you make the salsa is what makes it specific to the city. With Mexico City salsa, it doesn't matter what ingredients you use, but you’ve got to grill them first with a lot of salt. Also, when you blend the sauce, it has to be at a certain speed because you want it to have a certain chunk to it – not too chunky, but it can’t be liquid either.
What do you want others to understand about Hispanic Heritage Month?
We actually like our culture being celebrated. I would just encourage people to dig more into it, learn more about Mexican culture. Like I said before, there are many layers to it. Each region is different, so there's definitely a lot to think about.
Not everyone will understand the details of every culture, especially if it isn’t your own, but if you respect it and research it, you will find a lot of richness.
Between the U.S. and Mexico, I think we're more similar than different. When it comes to traditions and food, we may differ, but I think in general, people want to do good by others, enjoy their lives, and be happy.
How do you think that Treasury Prime has celebrated your heritage?
Treasury Prime has resources like public channels dedicated to Hispanic culture, blogs, and informational resources so we can find more about the cultures of other team members. I find it super cool that I can have conversations or just a casual chat in Spanish with a lot of people at Treasury Prime.
I also enjoy learning about other cultures through Treasury Prime – it’s not just Hispanic heritage. There's a few team members that I didn't know belonged to a particular culture, so that opened the doors for me to naturally ask them questions, get to know them better, and form those connections. As a remote company, that really does make us feel closer.
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