Culture Profiles

Celebrating Our Hispanic & Latino Colleagues

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 – October 15, is a month-long celebration that traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. This period of time highlights the rich histories of the descendants from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. We are proud to celebrate heritage rooted in all countries, and we wish our Hispanic and Latino associates a happy Hispanic Heritage Month.

Learn About & Join VIDA

This year for National Hispanic Heritage Month, VIDA, our Hispanic and Latino employee resource group (ERG), partnered with Rise by Bozzuto to host school supply drives across our regions for students and teachers in underserved communities. Members of VIDA strive to promote awareness and understanding of the Hispanic and Latino culture for the purpose of innovation and community stewardship.

Similar to other Bozzuto ERGs, VIDA offers employees of similar backgrounds a chance to connect and build a community that extends beyond their usual work team, while also offering opportunities for education, professional development, engagement, empowerment and charity.

If you are interested in joining VIDA or another ERG, please visit Teleskope to join and get notified of ERG happenings and events.

Read Our Employee Perspectives

Elizabeth Martinez, Property Manager, 5250 Park at Downtown Doral

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents and raised in Puerto Rico since I was 7 years old. I am the oldest of eight.

How do you feel your family or background has shaped the person you are today?

The music, food, the loving people and the holiday traditions I grew up with have never been forgotten. I raised my two boys embracing them and they now enjoy being a part of them. grew up in a big family between two cultures and languages, which enriched my life in many ways.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them?

When I moved back to the U.S., I had some challenges with not being confident in interviews and speaking English. I will never forget the advice from my good friendwho also faced the same challenge as me when she moved to the U.S. She told me, Never be afraid of what they would think when you speak with an accent, just prove that you are confident, skilled and that knowing two languages is a privilege not a barrier.

I was hired that week as a leasing consultant with only being in the U.S. for two months. Three months later, I was promoted to assistant manager and my career in property management skyrocketed in a short time. Being able to have such success allowed me to bring my seven siblings, mother and grandmother to the U.S. to help give them a better life. Now, 22 years later, they are all professionals, some have even served this country.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a special opportunity to celebrate and share these unique experiences and perspectives with the next generations.

Douglas Larios, Chief Engineer, Coda and The Chase at Bryant Street

Tell us about yourself.

I am from El Salvador and I grew up in the DMV area since I was 15 years old. I am married to my high school sweetheart. We have been married for almost 14 years and have two amazing kidsone is a girl in second grade, and one is a boy who just turned three years old. I also have a troublemaker Doberman named Rocky. I have enjoyed working with Bozzuto for 10 years. My hobbies include playing soccer and watching football. You can also always count me in for a happy hour.

How do you feel your family or background has shaped the person you are today?

My mother is my biggest inspiration. She inspired me to never give up and keep pushing forward even when it was tough. Always stay positive and keep a smile on our face.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them?

One challenge that I had to overcome was the language barrier from Spanish to English. I built up my confidence to speak up and not be shy. Don’t worry about what other people think about you and keep pushing through.

What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition?

As an El Salvadorian, I enjoy eating our famous dish pupusas.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Be humble, help others and treat others how you would like to be treated.

Elsa Escobar, Development Associate, Bozzuto Development Company

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Playas de Rosarito, México. I got my bachelor’s degree in international relations and started my professional career in Tijuana.  

On my 24th birthday, I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a job opportunity. I was hired as a business development and marketing manager for a local firm involved in high-rise, mixed-use projects. That’s how I found my passion in real estate. 

I joined Bozzuto Development Company as an operations executive in 2015 and went back to school for a master’s degree in real estate. I graduated in December 2019 and started as a full-time developer in 2020. I moved to Miami, Florida in April 2021. In my spare time, I like to solve puzzles, go on weekend trips and do outdoor activities with my family.

How do you feel your family or background has shaped the person you are today?

I describe myself as someone who is welltraveled and understands cultural behavior. I am grateful and proud of having a good home education which I think is my top value. That helped me to go through the difficult times in my life and look at the positive side of things.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them?

I have not experienced any challenges in this context and I never felt otherwise. In my opinion, it’s all about what you believe in. This world is full of opportunities no matter what your background is. I have been educated to believe that we are all capable of reaching our goals. For some of us, this may be harder than it is for others. It is a matter of being persistent.

What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition?

Playing “Maratón” on Christmas Eve. It’s a board game with general questions on culture, economy, history, geography, etc. Questions are too hard, but it’s a challenge.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

You don’t need a title to be a leader.

Mateus Montezzo Coelho, Project Engineer, Bozzuto Construction Company

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Mateus Montezzo Coelho. I am 26 years old and was born in Brasília, Brazil. My life consisted of moving around a lot. At the age of 3, I moved with my family to Uruguay, where I lived for 11 years. I was immersed in a different culture and became fluent in Spanish. At age 14, my family and I moved to the Bethesda area in Maryland. I had to learn English, adapt to a different culture and manage my way through high school and college. I studied civil engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Go Terps! Prior to joining Bozzuto, I worked for a drywall and masonry subcontractor for three years. In 2020, I was fortunate to land a job position here at Bozzuto Construction Company.

How do you feel your family or background has shaped the person you are today

Both my family and background are major factors that influence the person that I am today. I have been tested most of my life to be able to adapt to new environments, cultures and people by moving around different countries. It is no easy task but at one point, ended up getting used to it all. My family was my backbone and support through all the changes I went through at an early age, so I am very thankful for having them. The values and principles that I carry with me today are a reflection of all the life lessons and situations I have had the opportunity to live through so far.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them?

I believe one of the biggest challenges I faced was finding a job after college, not being an American citizen. At the time, I had a student visa and had interned for two consecutive summers at a large general contractor in the DMV area. Unfortunately, they decided not to offer me a fulltime position unless I managed to change my visa status to permanent residency. Although it is totally within their right to decide what to do, it was unfortunate for me and made me question whether I would be able to land a job at the time. Life has its ups and downs, however, and here I am working for Bozzuto.

What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition

I love anything that brings me closer to my origins. Although I did not grow up in Brazil, I have always considered it my home and the language spoken in my home growing up was always Portuguese. That being said, Brazilian music (ex: samba, pagode, sertanejo), food (ex: pão de queijo, brigadeiro, feijoada) and soccer are my favorite cultural traditions.

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