Hispanic Heritage Part II of V
Century Link does plenty to boost its image among the communities it services. When it comes to its internal organization SOMOS, however, the company keeps the Employee Resource Group (ERG) very much within the walls of its organization.
In this second chapter of La Voz’s Hispanic Heritage series, we at La Vida Latina, are focusing on the employee resource group at SOMOS.
“We have been a thriving employee resource group for 40 years,” said Connie Gutierrez, Global Chair of SOMOS at Century Link. “Our mission for SOMOS is to commit and empower support and develop Hispanic representation within Century Link.”
She added that the effort among members of SOMOS (Success Oriented Members Offering Support) is very much community driven.
“We strive to be a valuable resource to bring cultural awareness and enrichment within our Century Link brand and through our community service,” she said. “This is not only in the Denver Metro area, but also in any footprint where the Century Link resides”
She added that much of the community involvement is done within the company.
“We create a monthly newsletter to our employee base,” she said. “When we have events we reach out through social media to get our word out. As far as the community outreach, we support that by having a network in place.”
That network is responsible for the multiple book drives, turkey drives and backpack drives - amongst others - that Century Link has helmed or been of part of over the years.
“We do tons of things like that as well,” Gutierrez said.
One of the most renowned areas of involvement for SOMOS, however, is the scholarship program it’s had in place now for decades.
“We have provided over $1.5 million dollars in scholarships out to those in need within the Denver Metro area,” she said. “We just celebrated our 40th [scholarship awards ceremony] back in May and that was at the Grand Hyatt downtown.”
According to Gutierrez four recipients are rewarded annually at the ceremony, however, with 2019 being a 40th anniversary six scholars received an award.
“We gave out six awards to kids who are go through a vigorous scholarship process,” she said.
Gutierrez added that the awards dinner is mandatory, so all recipients must be in attendance to receive their award. The 40th anniversary celebration also included a keynote speech from Fox 31 news anchor Vicente Arenas.
As for the “vigorous process” she referenced, Gutierrez said that there are multiple requirements for the local scholarship program. The most basic among them is, being local.
“Our requirements to be an applicant are you have to live in the state of Colorado; they need to be sponsored by a current SOMOS member; they must be accepted to a credible college, university or vocational school; they must have a 3.0 GPA; fulfillment of 10 hours of community service during the year of funding; attend the scholarship dinner to accept the award; and they can get up to four scholarships from us within their school education.”
It is that last note that separates the recipient of a SOMOS scholarship from many other scholarships available.
“The dollar amount varies from $1,000 to $1,500 for most recipients,” Gutierrez said, adding that most of the recipients choose to attend schools outside of Colorado upon receiving their award.
The biggest caveat, however, is the fact that recipients must be sponsored by a SOMOS member.
“This is geared more for Century Link employees,” she said. “The employees of Century Link, if they are a SOMOS member and they know of a student who is in need and is either re-entering a university or college or is a first year student, and that student meets these criteria, that SOMOS member will sponsor that student and will forward the application to that student for them to go through the scholarship process.”