Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight: Franco Gallardo
In the third installment of our Kings.com series for Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight, we sat down with Franco Gallardo as he discussed his heritage, inspiration, and journey.
How would you describe your role with the Sacramento Kings?
I am the Special Assistant to the Executive Board. I am the bridge between our executives and our ownership. I work on a variety of things such as planning events, scheduling meetings and relaying all communication pertinent to the organization.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
What I enjoy the most is the environment. Not many people can say their office is an arena full of 17,000 fans. Getting to be a part of every game and big events such as All-Star Weekend is such a unique and exciting experience.
In what ways do you celebrate your Latinx heritage?
I celebrate my Latinx heritage through music and cooking. There are so many bold flavors in Mexican food that translate so well into other dishes. It's great to fuse my culture with others to bring out something new. Music in Spanish is a part of my every day. I listen to it while I cook, run and I most definitely blast my cumbias on my Sabados de limpieza.
How would you characterize your journey to where you are today?
I would describe my journey as a challenge and a blessing. A challenge because as a first generation American I faced a lot of unknown that I had to overcome. I am the first in my family to graduate high school and college. Entering a white-collar setting was difficult because I had to learn a new culture and while most had someone who had taught them to be business-savvy, I had to learn things on my own or find resources to help me figure things out.
It is a blessing because every experience I have had has truly shaped me and led me to where I am at today. My roots have truly humbled my experience and made me extremely grateful for every opportunity I have had. Being the first of many things in my family has really paved the way for my nieces and nephews to feel like they can strive for more.
Who have been your biggest role models?
My biggest role models are my parents. Both emigrated to the United Stated to escape extreme poverty. As teenagers, they came to a country not knowing the language and with no money to their name. They were able to meet one another, start a family and eventually accomplish their dream of being homeowners. They taught me what it is to work hard and not let any obstacles stop you from achieving your goals. It is humbling to see their journey and it makes me proud to call them my parents.
What challenges do you think confront Latinx in the United States today?
Unfair working conditions and wages for fieldworkers. During these troubling times, it is immigrants who are predominately Latinx that are leaving their homes, risking illness and working under extreme conditions solely to provide the country with food. These people are some of the most essential workers in the country, but they do not receive any recognition, pay or benefits for putting their lives and those of their families at risk.
What advice would you offer fellow Latinx who are striving to succeed in the sports and entertainment industry?
Be confident and be a trailblazer. Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are not many people who look like us succeeding in this industry. We are often the first or one of the few Latinx on staff. Work hard and never shy away from an opportunity simply because no one else who is Latinx has done it. It is up to us to be the representation for the next generation.
Why is it important for members of the Latinx community to vote in the upcoming election?
It is important because our community is not being represented properly. Many of us are first generation Americans whose parents/friends/family do not have the right to vote due to immigration status. A Latinx vote isn’t just a vote for you, it is a vote for your family and your community. Be that voice for them.