The start of UPS Crecer –
Crecer, the Hispanic/Latino Business Resource Group (BRG) at UPS, started in 2012 as a people-led effort to grow careers, develop customer relationships and make global connections (UPS). The first corporate chapter in Atlanta was inaugurated after a group of legacy members including Gabe Vaca and Felipe Ramirez attend for the first time the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) conference.
According to Maribel Barron, the current Community Connections Chair at Crecer, “this was the very first opportunity that our team was able to hear and understand the value of what a Business Resource Group was and bring that back to UPS.”
Once they got the approval and commitment from the UPS HR team, executive leadership, and counter parts the first corporate chapter was formed. Crecer’s first chair person was John Hernandez and executive sponsor was Juan Perez played a vital role in establishing early successes.
Where are they now?
After celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2022, Crecer currently has 24 diverse nationalities across 20 active global chapters, 1,200 active global members and including chapters in Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico.
The longstanding relationship between UPS and the LAA –
UPS has been one of the strongest supporters of the Latin American Association (LAA) for more than 30 years. Crecer originally got involved with the LAA through their first executive sponsor and at-the-time LAA board member Juan Perez.
Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, UPS played an indispensable role in supporting the LAA’s fight against food insecurity in the Buford Highway Corridor. In June 2021 the LAA distributed nearly 14,000 pounds of shelf-stable food and fresh produce to 461 families. This was the first time Maribel had done volunteer work with the LAA and although she says “every event impacts you differently” up until this day, this is one of her favorite volunteer initiatives she’s supported. In December 2021, Crecer also led their fellow UPSers in supporting the LAA during #GivingTuesday.
Another community initiative the LAA hosts in collaboration with UPS is the Back to School Bash, an event that looks to provide the necessary school supplies to low-income Latino families. This event holds a special place in Sarah Matos’s heart. Sarah is Crecer’s LAA ambassador. In this role, she’s had the opportunity to support Maribel and the rest of the UPSers at the majority of the volunteer opportunities at LAA events like the Back to School Bash.
Luis Andino, the Director of Youth Services at the LAA and the lead staff for the Back to School Bash, says “when their staff showed up to the Back to School Bash, it was a wonderful experience to see them so invested in the next generation of young Latinos and Latinas.”
Crecer UPSers led a huge effort of the collection of school supplies and funds for the Back to School Bash in 2022. They dedicated two days to support the packing and distributions of supply-filled backpacks last July and August – allowing the LAA to serve over 800 school children across metro Atlanta and Northwest Georgia. This year Crecer plans to lead volunteer efforts around the Back to School Bash again and has already supported the LAA in attending the Latina Empowerment Conference.
Volunteering, volunteering, volunteering. Why is that?
Sarah and Maribel expressed that volunteerism is a big part of Crecer’s goal and overall mission. The values, mission and objectives of the LAA are very much aligned with the way UPS invests its time in the community.
“As a company, UPS has a lot of resources available to us and being able to hone into those resources and be able to give back to our community is super important.” – Sarah Matos
Maribel sees volunteerism as a way of giving back and paying it forward. She says, “Crecer is made up of members from all walks of life and different cultural backgrounds (…) we are all immigrants and we all had our own struggles to get to where we are.” Partnering with all the different organizations UPS supports, touches each Crecer member’s heart in a certain way depending on what they had to go through to get to where they are.
Also, education is a big emphasis not only for UPS but also for Maribel and Sarah. Therefore, partnering with organizations like the LAA that offers support to young Latino students so that they can continue their education is crucial.
Being able to create awareness of what resources the LAA can offer to Latino families in Georgia aligns strongly with UPS and Crecer’s mission.
How do UPSers get involved with Crecer?
Sarah Matos is a first-generation college student and the daughter to Mexican and Venezuelan immigrants. She started at UPS as an intern and has been climbing the corporate ladder since. As an intern, she reached out to some of the Crecer team because she was looking for opportunities to stay engaged with the Latino community and other individuals that looked like her and had similar background as her.
She says, “while in college I was a part of various student organizations tailored around Latino students and I felt like being a part of Crecer allowed me to tap into an extension of my passions. Community service and community engagement is a passion of mine and being a part of Crecer allowed me to lean into that.”
On the other end, Maribel Barron saw BRGs as a way to get involved and meet new people as she navigated the corporate world for the first time. She expressed, “it was interesting to see how much involvement they (BRG members) had in the corporate office and volunteerism.” So, after becoming a super volunteer, she’s taken several leadership roles with Crecer.
What does the future look like for Crecer?
The future of Crecer is definitely leaders like Sarah, Maribel says. UPS has been around for 115 years, but seeing the new generation of leaders come into the corporate office is exciting and refreshing for longtime leaders like Maribel.
Crecer members take pride in the leadership chosen every two years. Every leadership group leaves an impact.
“Like a tree (our logo), we (Crecer) change our leaves with an inflow of new tactics & talent and fresh ideas, while keeping our strong roots with the commitment, principles and values system that ignite us to elevate the Hispanic community.” – Carlos Cueto, Corporate Chapter Chair
That is the future of Crecer to continue to grow continue to make an impact in our community and keep pushing it forward.
We hope you’ll join the LAA in honoring Crecer as the Volunteer of the Year at their 34th Annual Compañeros Awards Luncheon.
The LAA offers volunteer opportunities for BRG and ERG groups year-round. If you are interested in volunteering with the LAA, please contact Catherine Warren at email@example.com