Diana Robledo

Guatemala

Program Manager at Google

My name is Diana Robledo.

I am a program manager at Google. I work on channel strategy for Cloud,designing programs that allow Google to scale their business. My job is to think through policies and processes for how we can engage, onboardand incent partnershipsto help us expand the reach ofour products across the globe.

I was born in Guatemala and came to the USwhen I was nine years old. My parents arrived a few years earlier, fleeingcivil unrest,andsought asylum in the US. Guatemala was going through a civil war and the US government granted Guatemalan immigrants asylum at the time. My brothers and I joined them three years later. We settled inSan Francisco in 1996, where I grewup. My parents became US citizens in2000.

My brothers and I went to public school in San Francisco. After finishing high school, I went on to San Francisco State. My parents weren’t familiar with the US school system, much less higher education, so I had to figure things out as I went. Thankfully, while working and going to school full time, I was able to find mentors tohelp me navigate higher-ed and encourage me tostart thinking about grad school.

I went to grad school in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington University and pursued an MBA. After completing grad school, I transitioned into a career in technology. I’ve alwayshad a passion for it, especially forhow it makespeoples’lives more productive. I worked as a technology consultant, implementing a platform that would house Obamacare policies for the local government in Washington D.C. After about a year in this role,I went on to Microsoft to focus on technology sales operations for the Latin American market. This was a really excitingmove. Inmy grad school application I had actually written about wantingto work for Microsoft in the Latin American market.Before leaving Microsoft, I wasa program lead for a team of nineindividuals spread acrossthe globe.

If my parents applied for asylum today,they would not have gotten it. I think it’s very unfortunate. I feel a personal connection to all of the people seeking asylum and being rejected. I have friends who are Dreamers, or who have a Dreamer within their immediate circle. I’mexposed to theenormous anxiety.

There are a lot of misconceptions about immigrants coming into this country. I’ve heard things like we’re just living off public benefits or public funding. Based on my experience, I don’t believe that’s true. My parents were so against any form of public support. I think they were fearful of being perceived as taking advantage of what this country had provided, which wasnot at all who they were.

My parents are extremely hardworking. They’ve always planned for a better future, focused onhow tosave money. Growing up, wenever splurged or had a nice car, my parents were more focused on being able to provide for us, secure a home, and a future source of income that would be more reliable. My mom worked in a hotel for many years. My dad workedmultiple jobs and went to school. When we first arrived as kids, he worked at a construction materials storeand inthe eveningwentto school to become a technician for heating and air conditioning. Once he got his license, he started his own business. Initiallyhe had limited clientele, so he had to keep his day job and run his businessat night. Later when I went to college,my parents opened up their own restaurant.

I think a lot of hatred comes from the fear of the unknown. There havedefinitely been instances where I have been the only brown or non-white person in the room. I mostexperienced that when I moved away from California to the East Coast. It scared me at first, but withmore opportunities to be in thoseenvironments, the morecomfortable I’ve become. I’vebeen able to form bonds with people that I would not have otherwise connected with. I don’t shy away from the tensions

My fianceand I talk a lot about this. He was born in America, served in the US Air Force, went to school in the Midwestandhe’s from an Indian family. The best we can do is try to be involved and not shy away from racist comments, we try to confront them. We make an effort to have a dialogue with people who have opposing views, so we can understand each other.

I know the world is never going to be perfect, and neither is the U.S. I am hopeful that people will recognize how toxic fake news and neglecting facts arefor our country. I’m hopeful that people will question things, rather than taking commentsof those in power at face value. It scares me that people read Donald Trump’stweets and comments as truth. We need to question our president as much as we question liberaland conservative news. We need to question these things so we can understand each other better.