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Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month Spotlight

Week 1: David P. (he/him/his)

National Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, is dedicated to showcasing the brilliant Hispanic/Latin culture. These grand celebrations include art exhibitions, music performances, parades, street fairs and more!

The observation started on September 15, 1968 as a weeklong celebration and expanded in 1988 to a monthlong commemoration. But why September 15? This date is the anniversary of the independence days shared by Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, also falling close to Mexico and Chile’s independence days on September 16 and September 18.

To honor this momentous month, we’re spotlighting members of the Hispanic/Latin community and their inspiring career and life journeys.

David, manager of global operations, has been with Yum! Brands since 1989... you could say he has seen it all. David currently leads the implementation of critical operations projects and programs that facilitate the growth of Taco Bell around the world. However, he first got his start with chicken, not tacos!

“Born in Mexico, I first moved to United States as a toddler, but returned home six years later to complete elementary and middle school in my native country. I relocated to the U.S. again at age 15 where I joined KFC the following year as a cook, hand-breading and frying the Original Recipe chicken.”

Over the next couple of years, David held a series of roles including cashier, shift lead, assistant manager and restaurant GM at KFC. He then transferred to the Taco Bell Restaurant Support Center in 1999, supporting the service desk and working in data and project management, which led him to his current position. It wasn’t long before Taco Bell became a second home to him.

“For many long-term employees like me, working at Taco Bell can become a part of our identity. We often develop a sense of pride and loyalty toward the company due to the experiences, skills, and friendships we have gained over time,” said David.

Alongside building close relationships and embracing the fiery spirit of Taco Bell, David has seen an upward career trajectory amongst peers and his own journey.

“Taco Bell offers various opportunities for career growth and skill development. Some employees start from entry-level positions and work their way up the ladder, eventually becoming managers or even franchise owners.”

He’s been a proud part of the growth process, but it’s not come short of some obstacles.

“As a Hispanic/Latin individual, I have faced stereotypes and challenges, but focusing on my own strengths, accomplishments, and expertise to challenge these preconceptions has helped me overcome them.”

These instances have made David’s connection to his heritage even stronger. To him, Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultural diversity, contributions, and achievements of Hispanic and Latin Americans. Amongst the vibrant events, gatherings and affairs, Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month serves as a valuable time for reflection and appreciation of the culture and its notable impact on various aspects of society. Over the years, David has seen this awareness come to life through Taco Bell’s involvement within the community.

“Taco Bell’s initiatives of highlighting our community and culture has taken a bigger stage than before. I am very excited and honored to share that I’m a founding member of Live Más LUCHA, Taco Bell’s first-ever Hispanic Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) which launched in 2020. At Taco Bell Corp., L.U.C.H.A. stands for Latinx United through Community, Heritage and Achievement. The group strives to create a community for Hispanic/Latin employees and allies to continue amplifying equity, inclusion and belonging for ALL. From celebrating Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month, to incorporating Latino music in brand updates and even partnering with the OC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Taco Bell has, and continues to support initiatives that aim to uplift and empower this community.”

But this is just the beginning. When he looks to the future of Taco Bell’s engagement with the Hispanic/Latin community, he feels it can be done by developing initiatives focused on hiring, retaining, and promoting Hispanic/Latin employees, continuing the creation of culturally relevant campaigns, and collaborating with Hispanic/Latin owned businesses to promote economic development within the community. It is no doubt that David has accumulated a lot of knowledge about the professional world. So, here’s his take on how future generations can navigate their careers:

  • Embrace your heritage and cultural identity: “Your Hispanic/Latin background is an asset that can contribute to your success and foster unique perspectives. Being proud of your roots will set you apart and make you more valuable as you navigate your career.”

  • Seek mentorship: “Mentors can provide guidance and help you navigate opportunities. Having a mentor who understands the specific challenges faced by Hispanic/Latin professionals can be especially valuable.”

  • Be proactive in your professional development: “Take charge of your career by seeking growth opportunities. Whether it is through pursuing higher education or attending conferences, demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.”

As part of his legacy, David hopes to continue sharing these wisdoms with everyone.

“I want to continue to break down barriers by accomplishing significant achievements despite the challenges and systemic obstacles faced by the Hispanic/Latin community. More importantly, I want to encourage individuals from underrepresented communities to pursue their dreams, education, and personal growth, by serving as a role model and mentor.”

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