In the world of tech and business, Alteryx SparkED’s Jay Garcia has made remarkable strides. His journey from humble beginnings to spearheading innovative programs at Alteryx is a testament to his unwavering commitment to success. In this blog post, we’ll explore Jay’s background, how he got to where he is today, and the valuable insights he’s gained from his Hispanic heritage.
Leading Alteryx’s Innovation in Data Analytics and Education
Jay currently serves as the leader of Alteryx’s SparkED Education Program for the US-West & LATAM regions and oversees the Alteryx SparkED for the Military Program. Alteryx (NYSE: AYX) powers analytics for all by providing our leading Analytics Automation Platform. Alteryx delivers easy end-to-end automation of data engineering, analytics, reporting, machine learning, and data science processes, enabling enterprises everywhere to democratize data analytics across their organizations for a broad range of use cases. More than 8,000 customers globally rely on Alteryx to deliver high-impact business outcomes.
In addition to his role at Alteryx, Jay is an esteemed member of the Advisory Committee for the College of Professional & Continuing Education (CPaCE) at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). He is recognized as a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a two-time LinkedIn Top Voice, and a distinguished George W. Bush Institute Scholar. Jay is also acknowledged as one of San Diego Business Journal’s Top 50 Influential Veteran Business Leaders and has assumed various board member positions in nonprofit organizations.
Before joining Alteryx, Jay demonstrated exceptional leadership in the cybersecurity industry. He led Fortinet’s Global Veterans Program, Network Security Academy Program, and Education Outreach & Community Engagement Program. His contributions in this field were marked by the development of award-winning talent creation and upskilling initiatives. These programs harnessed a versatile combination of skills in human resources, marketing, sales, training, technical expertise, and business development, and leveraged the intangible attributes honed during his distinguished 20-year military career.
From a Humble Village to Tech Success: Jay’s Inspiring Journey
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jay’s life took a unique turn when, at the age of 3, he relocated with his parents to Mexico. Raised in a village devoid of basic amenities like running water, paved roads, and electricity, Jay learned early on not to take things for granted and to seize every opportunity that came his way. Upon returning to the US and witnessing the Los Angeles Riots in 1992, Jay’s parents decided to move him and his three siblings to Washington state. It was there that he completed his high school education and eventually enlisted in the U.S. Marines. This pivotal decision would equip him with both tangible and intangible skills that would later become highly sought-after in the tech industry.
Jay earned a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in social and criminal justice. He holds various continuing education certificates and has delivered presentations and keynotes at numerous tech conferences, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and military installations across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and LATAM.
Breaking Barriers and Fostering Inclusivity in the Workplace
“The underrepresentation of Hispanics in leadership roles can be disheartening,” says Jay. In response, Jay actively pursues mentors, sponsors, and professional networks that offer guidance and pathways for career progression. Additionally, Jay has conquered language barriers through dedicated education, consistent practice, and immersive language experiences. Today, he leverages his bilingual proficiency as a valuable asset in the global business arena.
Creating a supportive atmosphere of mutual understanding and collaboration among individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those with Hispanic heritage, is essential for cultivating a thriving and inclusive workplace. Companies can nurture this environment by establishing employee resource groups, promoting cross-cultural understanding, celebrating cultural heritage months, and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.
Embracing & Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
While cultural influences can be a factor, an individual’s approach to business, the military, and the tech industry is also shaped by personal choices, educational background, and unique life experiences. Jay credits his achievements to his family’s strong work ethic and emphasis on family values. His journey has been marked by various challenges and hardships, from the necessity of learning English as a high school student to enduring austere living conditions alongside his parents and siblings. Moreover, his 20-year service in the U.S. Marines cultivated qualities like resilience, courage, composure, and self-confidence, among others. These intangible attributes hold significant value in both business and military environments, where individuals must navigate shifting circumstances and conquer formidable obstacles.
When it comes to diversity and inclusivity in the world of business, Jay says “Let’s celebrate our Hispanic heritage, familia…as individuals of Hispanic heritage in the tech industry, we bring distinct perspectives and life experiences, which enrich the field with diverse viewpoints and innovative ideas. And these contributions are always a boon for business.”
Many individuals of Hispanic heritage, such as Jay, prioritize strong connections with their families and communities. This deep sense of community and support often leads to a collaborative work approach, where teamwork and mutual assistance are highly valued. In the tech industry, these collaborative skills are often critical for achieving success in complex projects. Jay actively engages with higher education institutions, community organizations, and upskilling initiatives, reflecting his commitment to contributing to social causes and giving back to his community.
Nurturing Success: Key Tips for Aspiring Professionals
Whether you’re a student, a recent graduate, or someone aspiring to follow a career path similar to Jay’s, here are some insightful tips to keep in mind: “Embrace Diversity: Don’t confine yourself to a single area; explore a wide range of topics and fields of interest. Invest in Learning: Enroll in courses, pursue degrees, or engage with online learning platforms and certifications that align with your passions. This will help you establish a robust foundation in your chosen fields. Build Your Professional Brand: Remember that your professional brand matters. It’s not just about who you know; it’s also about who knows you. Make a concerted effort to establish and promote your professional identity and expertise.”
Jay would like to leave Chapman University and Argyros School students with this: “Sí se pudo y sí se puede! During Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s celebrate the achievements of our community and remember that with determination and unity, we can overcome any challenge and achieve our dreams. ¡Viva nuestra herencia hispana! (Long live our Hispanic heritage!)”