|Inspiring Glober Stories
This article is part of our series of Inspiring Glober Stories. These are stories of people, who with passion, courage and creativity overcame obstacles, made their dreams come true, or helped change the world. We hope you enjoy it and find it inspiring!
My name is Sebastian Riaza Alvarez, I work as a Quality Control Analyst at Globant in Medellín, Colombia, and despite my condition, my “disability”, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a Glober. I feel like nothing can stop me from achieving all my goals.
Today I want to tell you my story because for me being a Glober is like touching the sky, and I would like to inspire people who have a “disability” to dare to dream, to be ambitious and not let their limitations stop them. Also, I would like to tell companies not to be afraid to hire people with my condition because we have a lot to contribute. My condition always pushed me to give my best.
Sebastian Riaza Alvarez
A medical malpractice, a “human” error, caused me to be born with cerebral palsy 26 years ago. The doctors warned my mom that I would be like a “vegetable,” but she was determined to have me anyway, and I was determined to prove the diagnosis wrong.
At the age of four and a half I was able to walk for the first time and at the age of five, thanks to a series of treatments and with great difficulty, I said my first words! Walking and talking may seem normal to everyone else, but for my family and me it meant the world. At my own pace, I was making progress.
After going through all the schools in my city, my mom managed to get me accepted into a “normal” school. We were really happy, but how would I get around in that huge school with endless yards and high stairs? Thankfully, my classmates were always there to help me: some carried my backpack and others helped me go up and down the stairs. So I kept going.
When I was a teenager, a cousin of mine who is a systems engineer introduced me to the world of technology and taught me what software development was. With technology, it was love at first sight. I was passionate about programming and I started getting involved in the subject until I entered Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín to study systems engineering. Math was complicated, but nothing compared to how hard it was for me to learn English. It was already difficult for me to speak my mother tongue, so another language was definitely a real challenge!
One day, in the context of a University program that aims to introduce students to technology companies, we visited Globant. I was fascinated with the company: the way they work, their values, their offices. From that day on, I set myself a new goal: “I want to work here”.
A few years later, in May 2020, while looking for my first internship, I gave my resume to Carlos Mauricio Duque, a great friend of mine, and told him I wanted to be a trainee at Globant. I was called in for a couple of interviews and, once again, my biggest obstacle was English. When the round of interviews was over, I waited anxiously. My mom told me not to get my hopes up, but I am a positive person, and I had the feeling that I was going to get the job.
Finally, on June 9, 2020, the most awaited day of my life arrived: I got the call from Globant’s recruiting team telling me “Welcome, Sebastián”. I burst out crying with happiness. I usually find it hard to move but at that moment I could not stay still, I hugged my mom and we cried together.
Globant gave me the opportunity to enter a Quality Control Bootcamp, a course where you train and become acquainted with the latest technologies. That first experience at Globant was amazing, and I had excellent feedback from my trainers. My mentors constantly looked out for me and supported me the whole time. Carolina Sandoval, my leader, made it possible for me to move forward and today, I am formally assigned to a project for the Quality Engineering Studio.
Then something even more wonderful happened. A year away from graduating as an engineer, I was in serious financial trouble and I was unable to pay for university. So, I decided to ask for support on LinkedIn. My post was shared by several Globers who supported me, it went viral and reached the top management at Globant. The company got in touch with me, told me they were proud of me and my work, and helped me pay for the last part of my course of studies. All this solidarity and the messages of support from Globers moved me and filled me with happiness.
My workday is like that of any other Glober. I am working on a project that consists in developing an app for iOS devices that is similar to the Pokemon GO game. I also work with JIRA to report bugs or defects in the apps. In my work team they value me, they have never discriminated against me because of my condition. On the contrary, they always include me, they learn from me and I learn from them.
At a professional level, I would like to grow and overcome the obstacles that come my way. My “disability” never prevented me from achieving my goals, it rather gave me the strength to fight for them. And at the academic level, I dream of the moment when I get my diploma. I owe that moment to myself, my mother and all the people who have always supported me.
Cerebral palsy encompasses a group of chronic disorders due to an injury or defect in neuromotor development. The injury may be due to prenatal, perinatal or postnatal factors. It refers to a weakness or problem in the use of muscles, which manifests with alterations in the control of movement, muscle tone and posture (trauma, infections, etc.). In addition to movement limitations, other associated symptoms may be present, so they may or may not occur in different areas and with varying degrees of difficulty.