Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month: Introducing First Dollaritos

Get to know the members of First Dollaritos

Earlier this year, four team members proposed and founded First Dollaritos, an employee resource group (ERG) that aims to support Latinos at First Dollar by creating a place where members can bring their authentic selves to work. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I sat down with the group’s members to learn a little about why they formed the ERG and what they’ve been up to.

Meet the group

The original four members form today’s group, but anyone is always welcome to join.

Gianira "Gigi" Canova

It’s been a huge privilege to work alongside such wonderful people to create First Dollaritos. In such a short time, we’ve been able to create an empowering and supportive space. I’m excited to see what we’ll accomplish as we continue to grow together.

Gianira Canova
Senior Customer Success Associate and First Dollaritos co-chair
Izamar Loredo

It’s been one of the biggest privileges of my career to be a founding member of First Dollar’s first ERG! My favorite part of being in First Dollaritos has been sharing the fun and the hard parts of being Latinos in the United States. We’ve held light events like margarita nights and thought-provoking panel discussions on being Latinos in tech- we’re not afraid to have the hard conversations and invite everyone to come learn and have that conversation with us.

Izamar Loredo
Director of Product and sponsor of First Dollaritos
Natalie Molina

I joined First Dollaritios to connect with others who have a shared lived experience.

Natalie Molina
Customer Success Associate and First Dollaritos co-chair
Rudy Portillo

First Dollaritos has been so empowering for me. I enjoy connecting with a group of like-minded individuals, who share similar experiences. At the end of the day, it’s rewarding to know I have a group of people I can connect with

Rudy Portillo
Enterprise Sales Executive and First Dollaritos founding member

Why First Dollaritos? 

First, the name is a spanglish word play on First Dollar. Second, we created this group to promote a sense of belonging and support inclusivity within the workplace. Our goal with First Dollaritos is to create and foster:

  • Community
  • Meaningful connections
  • Mentorship
  • Leadership

What have you been up to?

We’ve been busy! To help promote community and to share company-wide, educational content about our heritage and community concerns. And honestly, have a good time! Since we formed in May, we’ve:

  • Hosted Margarita Night and Cafecito with First Dollaritos. 
  • Kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting important Latino figures throughout the week of September 25-29
  • For the upcoming company wide retreat, we’re hosting a salsa-making challenge for First Dollar teams.
First Dollaritos' banner announcing Hispanic Heritage Month at First Dollar.

What advice would you share with younger Latinos looking to enter the tech space?

"Remember your why. My “why” is to make sure I make my mom proud. She sacrificed so much for me to be where I’m at, so whenever I need a little push to keep going, I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing."
- Gianira Canova
"It’s important to be you. Focus on what you know to be true about your talent and skills and run with it as far as you can and don’t look back. While it can be tempting to focus on the odds stacked against you, no one can ever bring to the table what only you possess. Also, make connections whenever possible and find a mentor. Oh, and don’t forget to be a mentor too!"
- Natalie Molina
"Ponte las pilas! Don’t be afraid to make waves. Our families have made tremendous sacrifices to give us the opportunity to be here, to get an education, and take up space. Take up every inch of that space. You deserve to be here, just like everyone else.”
- Izamar Loredo
"You belong. You are important. You have earned the right to make your voice heard. Don’t be scared to speak your mind - it’s scary at first, but so empowering. If you can, try and find a mentor that will guide you as you begin your professional journey. And if you can’t find one, I’m always here to connect!"
- Rudy Portillo
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Josh Hostetler

Josh leads content for First Dollar, a fintech company that builds infrastructure for health spending benefits. Before First Dollar, Josh led course creation at Aceable, taught First Grade, waited tables at Olive Garden, and wore many other hats. He misses the breadsticks.