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Hector Mujica Helps Find Opportunities for Those Who Need It Most

Hector Mujica Helps Find Opportunities for Those Who Need It Most

Hector Mujica

As head of economic opportunity at Google’s philanthropic arm,, Hector Mujica supports a $100 million grantmaking portfolio that supports interventions that aim to provide pathways to digital economy jobs for those who have multiple barriers to employment. Mujica has spent over a decade advancing social justice through philanthropy and public policy. The executive also currently serves as cochair of the Latino Digital Success Task Force at the Aspen Institute and serves on the board of directors of Hispanics in Philanthropy, the Hispanic Federation, and numerous advisory boards including WorkingNation and Inicio Ventures.

Mujica shares the importance of building community that fosters belonging, how he’s leaned into his Latinidad, and how he’s paying it forward to the next generation of Latino leaders.

What do you do today?

I’ve spent the last decade advancing social justice through philanthropy and public policy. Today, I lead economic opportunity efforts at—Google’s philanthropy—across the Americas. Within this role, I look after a $100-plus million grantmaking portfolio that supports interventions, which aim to provide pathways to digital economy jobs for individuals with multiple barriers to employment. I also serve on Google’s Latino Leadership Council, where I help to steward Google’s social impact engagement with the Latino community.

What was your biggest professional accomplishment over the past year?

I built, designed, and executed’s single largest initiative to date: the $100 million Google Career Certificate Fund. The fund was covered by the New York Times, and announced by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai alongside Secretary Gina Raimondo. This milestone marks Google’s boldest investment to validate an innovative financing approach that can help create more sustainable delivery mechanisms for workforce development, enabling over $1 billion in wage gains for underserved, over twenty thousand nontraditional job seekers across the United States. More importantly, because of his leadership, this work has the opportunity to systematically impact the way financing is provided for short-term credentials in the United States.

This effort has been recognized as one of the boldest and most celebrated contributions from by the economic opportunity ecosystem (reference: Federal Reserve Podcast). This work aims to not just create new pathways for nontraditional talent into digital economy jobs but also validate the role of innovative financing vehicles, like outcomes-based loans and the blending of capital (philanthropy and balance sheet capital) as a way to shift the system on how we both train the next generation of a diverse tech workforce and how we fund it.

How has your identity and your connection to your culture evolved as your career has progressed?

Growing up in a majority minority community of South Florida, I wasn’t fully conscious of the Latino community given that the spaces I occupied in grade school and undergrad were disproportionately Latino. It wasn’t until I left for Northern California and broke into that tech sector that I quickly realized that people that look like me, sound like me, and come from a similar background as mine tend to have a very different journey.

In my early days at Google, I became acutely aware of the need to build community to foster belonging. This invited me into a journey to more closely lean into my Latinidad and that of my peers at Google, which resulted in my participation as one of the early builders of HOLA, Google’s Latino employee resource group.

Since then, I’ve played an active role in the ways Google engages with the Latino community, internally and beyond our walls. I am currently the highest-ranking Latino at and remain a fierce advocate and champion for minority communities. As of 2020, I’m also serving on Google’s Latino Leadership Council, where I help to steward Google’s social impact endeavors with the Latino community.

What community involvement is important for you outside of your role? How have you seen your own community change during your career?

I serve on the board of directors as an executive committee member of Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), where I help advance the agenda of Latino inclusion in philanthropy. Currently, less than 2 percent of philanthropic dollars go to support Latino-led, Latino-serving organizations, which has been a driver for my engagement in this organization.

This underinvestment holds true for venture capital as well, which is why I helped launch Incio Ventures, HIP’s venture fund, which writes equity checks to early stage Latino founders across industries. Through this effort, they are aiming to not only rewrite the playbook on what makes a funder worthy of investment by looking at unique indicators in the Latino community but also help to diversify the potential long-term funding sources for HIP.

I also serve on the executive committee of the Hispanic Federation Board of Directors. Most recently, I took on the role of the Chair of the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Latino Digital Success, where I have helped shape critical initiatives that help enhance the workforce development ecosystem in key geographies like South Florida.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen the Latino community grow in sophistication on how we tackle complex issues, but also how we collaborate and pursue goals collectively. I’m optimistic we’re heading in a direction where we’ll see greater collective success.

The theme of this year’s Leadership Summit is Conexión: a reminder of the cultural connection that bonds Latinos and a call to embrace the exponential power we wield when we move as one. What does conexión mean to you and how has it helped you in your life and career?

Connection to my identity and community as a Latino has been instrumental to my career journey and personal development. I grew up in Miami in an immigrant household (from Venezuela!) and had to build a life alongside my family in a new context, from scratch.

One of the attributions I give to my career trajectory has been the power of my Latino community. The simple act of feeling like I belong, and the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of other pioneers who have forged a path before me has been instrumental to my development. I am the product of committed parents, a caring community of mentors and advocates, and a strong network of peers who lift each other up.

This is what conexión means to me. And I am bullish about the future strength of our Latino community by leaning into this principle (I wrote an entire chapter about it in the book If We Want to Win: A Latine Vision for a New American Democracy). I also believe this principle extends beyond any single racial community, which is why I’ve also been working on efforts that seek to promote a shared agenda between the Latino, African American, and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) communities in the United States to help advance advocacy for greater philanthropic and venture resources.

This is the first generation of Latinos who have the potential to see people that look like them in virtually every kind of role and leadership position. Many of us, and those who came before us, had to make our own way and find mentors who may not have shared our experiences. What does mentorship mean to you and how are you passing your own experiences forward?

If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. And even if you can see it, you still need the stepping stones to get there. That’s the role mentors have played in my life. They’ve provided me with the advocacy and guidance to open doors, to help me approach problems through a new lens, and to make room for me in tables where I would otherwise not have access. Some of these acts have changed the trajectory of my career, which is why I am a firm believer in paying it forward.

Today, I am adamant about making time for others and serving in the role and capacity that many others have served for me.