Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Checking in with Adrian Escobedo

Adrian Escobedo has a gift for breaking down complex topics.

A self-proclaimed digital transformation evangelist, “Esco”, as he’s known by his peers, is one of the creators and senior strategists for Lenovo Data Center Group’s Field C-Suite team, which helps C-suite executive clients optimize their businesses for innovation.

But before he meets with customers to discuss future trends and transformation, Esco kicks off each day by breaking down the hot topics and current events at Lenovo to his colleagues every morning on his daily talk show.

Learn more about Esco below.

Where are you from?
Adrian Escobedo:
“Originally I’m from McAllen, TX, which is about 15 min from the border of Mexico.”

What is your role at Lenovo?
AE: “
I’m a founding member of Lenovo DCG’s Field C-Suite team. We sit in the office of the President of DCG North America and our charter is both customer-facing and internal operational-facing. Our job is to help our customers understand the strategic imperative of business innovation in today’s environment and take advantage of the technology transformation options that Lenovo offers.”

What does Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) mean to you?
AE: “
I think it gives us the opportunity to really embrace our culture and be comfortable talking about it.  Had you asked me 5 months ago, it would’ve be a little bit more uncomfortable to talk about your culture – and so having these types of opportunities like HHM gives us the comfort to be able to celebrate it or talk about it. I appreciate that. I’ve learned the employee resource groups (ERGs) we have here at Lenovo are very active and that the company culture embraces diversity, encouraging us to be comfortable celebrating our heritage every day, not just during certain times of the year.

The company’s “Courageous Conversations” back in June kind of kicked things off. I host a morning show every morning, and have since the pandemic began back in April, as kind of a way of keeping the community going, since we no longer have the opportunity to walk into the office and run into 15 people as we walk to our desk or to the cafeteria for lunch. We’re 110 episodes deep now; content obviously has to rotate to keep it interesting, and when DCG’s ACTNow1 committee really started taking off and bringing diversity and inclusion efforts to life, I was challenged to seek out the other ERGs that are prevalent here at Lenovo – like WILL (Women in Lenovo Leadership), BLAST (Black Leaders Achieving Success in Technology), REAL (Rising Employees at Lenovo), ABLE (A Better Lenovo for Everyone), and then the ACTNow efforts. As I’ve been exposed to these groups, I’m learning how active they are in presenting opportunities for networking and just being comfortable talking about who you are. I’ve also learned about the work going on within HR for diverse leadership planning over the next five years. Between the ERGs, ACTNow, and understanding that Lenovo’s taking an aggressive stance on making sure that future leadership talent looks diverse and inclusive, it’s a crazy-exciting time.

There was a company I was actually managed out of because I didn’t fit the mold, and growing up in South Texas, that’s not something you see growing up just because of my heritage and I was part of the larger group. But as I started to work in Corporate America and realized that there are really people out there that will manage Latin people out just because they can, it struck me as odd. Now I see the opposite taking place at Lenovo.”

Tell me more about the morning show…
AE: “
The number one channel in the Lenovo Microsoft Stream is “The Daily Check-in Show with Esco”. My team, the Field C-Suite, has expanded that and built out content that revolves around aligned topics. We’ve got about four different feeds that come from my team – some around sales strategies and talk tracks with customers, some more tactically-focused on the product side, and some around the engineering side of the business. “The Daily Check-in Show with Esco” is that morning cup of coffee, that 15 minutes of: Did you know we have ERGs? Supply chain is crazy-awesome? Did you know that we have rotational programs that give us some of the best talent we have here at Lenovo?”

In your words, why does diverse representation matter?
AE: “Growing up the way I grew up, or growing up where I did, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Neither did my parents. I’m in my 40s and still explaining to my dad what I do for a living and he doesn’t fully understand it. He just didn’t know this type of job existed. Which meant that, as I was growing up, he didn’t challenge me to know this kind of job existed or to set my sights in this direction professionally. So, making sure people who are brought up in families or situations where you don’t know this type of stuff exists and having an opportunity to learn about it is huge, in my opinion.

I set my sights on whatever I see, and when I was growing up, I didn’t see much. So now, sky’s the limit whereas before I just wanted a job that pays X amount of dollars per hour.”

How do orgs like HOLA support the goal for greater inclusivity in the workplace?
AE: “I think what you’re going to find by researching the ERGs we have here at Lenovo, is they’re about networking. They are about finding groups that you’re comfortable talking and interacting in. Then by introducing mentoring to the networking concept in a comfortable setting, you have a “no judgment zone” type of mentoring opportunity with somebody you may have never connected with.

I decided when HOLA announced their mentorship program that I was going to participate. I said, “I’m at a point in my career where I could use help understanding Lenovo from an executive perspective. I know the products, I understand how to talk to customers, I get that – I’ve been doing this for years, but I want to understand Lenovo’s strategy from an executive perspective. So it would be awesome if you could pair me with a mentor who would help me understand or speak ‘executive.’” I didn’t think HOLA could find me someone. I ended up being paired with Jose Luis Fernandez, VP and General Manager of Latin America Sales. That spawned a great relationship to be able to talk about and understand and he gently pushed me in directions and asked me question that challenged me and kind of pushed me to be a better me.

Had I not challenged HOLA and had HOLA not embraced my challenge, I wouldn’t have had some of those relationships and Jose Luis has been a great sponsor of mine as I’ve been working my way to visit with executives.  I’ve had a ton of leaders on the show, and to have a sponsor like Jose Luis vouch for me has been huge. I would’ve never met him had it not been for HOLA. It’s been huge for my brand here at Lenovo and I’m very appreciative of it.

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1 Lenovo DCG’s ACTNow initiative serves to drive meaningful change in how DCG leadership and employees achieve racial equality, starting with a focus on the Black community, with intention to address bias across the board. The initiative was founded following Lenovo’s Courageous Conversation series and “Show Up, Listen, Act” response to the death of George Floyd. Click to learn more.

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