Profiles in Leadership: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we highlight six of our Hispanic leaders who discuss their career journeys, personal manifestos, and thoughts on diversity and inclusion. Read their perspectives below.
If you could go back in time, which leader would you most like to meet and why? What would you ask them?
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz –
I find it fascinating that a woman, born out of wedlock in the 17th century in Mexico, and raised in a Latin machista culture, defied convention and educated herself to become a renowned scholar, one of the era’s most acclaimed authors, and, in the process, a fierce advocate of women’s rights.
Question: “How did you find the courage to fulfill your destiny against such challenges? If you had been born in more modern times, and had more options, would you still have chosen to become a nun?
What are you most proud of/what is your most significant achievement?
Does it have to be just one thing??
Having been with the company for over 20 years, my first role being an intern, I have been privileged to work on many significant initiatives with extremely talented people. During my early years, I was inspired by how caring and supportive people were in my own development journey. Today still, I have many who invest in me. Therefore, I have tried to pay that forward and am proud of my efforts to grow my teams and my community around me.
With the world evolving so quickly, we are expected to respond faster and enable new capabilities. I am proud to be part of this evolution. My peers, my teams, and I, challenge the typical norms through fostering a culture of growth and doing things differently. This includes building strong teams that develop differently, leveraging a federated model, and respecting each other while also holding each other accountable. On my team, we don’t just talk about our people-first culture; we monitor our health monthly with dashboards and strive for continual improvement. A large part of fostering culture is growing and supporting my team’s career growth to ensure the next round of highly-talented people are ready for opportunity, as well as, and to propel the industry forward.
Additionally, being from Hispanic origin, I am proud to sponsor and be a founding member of one of our culture diversity teams, called the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Committee. Also, having three wonderful daughters, I understand the importance of STEM being part of our children’s world. Therefore, I support bringing technology to our youth in a fun way with FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
Again, it has been my efforts to support a growth mindset, develop differently, and help our youth embrace technology that I am most proud of.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have family and friends who are culturally diverse and who have taught me many lessons, including the true meaning of love. The best advice I have ever received was from my sweet 90 year-old mom! She told me to have a kind heart and to live life to the fullest, love with great passion and always try to see the humor in every situation. My fondest memories are the ones where you laugh so much that your belly hurts. Simply stated, my motto is to…live, love and laugh; and, to laugh again, and again.
What are the benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion?
In its simplest form, inclusion is about welcoming others and ensuring that a warm welcoming environment exists at FedEx so our global teammates can thrive and perform at their best. I believe that’s who we are at FedEx; being purple is about People First…all people.
FedEx is as diverse as the world we serve. Diversity and inclusion are essential elements of our continued success in today’s global marketplace. The world of FedEx is all about connecting the global economy. When we connect people and possibilities—businesses prosper, communities flourish and lives are improved – everyone benefits.
Who or what has inspired you, professionally or personally?
My parents are two of the most inspirational people I have ever met. They immigrated to the U.S. at a young age with a common destiny, to reach dreams they never even imagined. Their stories play a critical role in my story. They taught me the importance of being a self-starter and getting an education, which they never received. How having a strong work ethic and never giving up plays a critical role in success. My father worked his way up from a dishwasher, to a cook and finally owner of a prominent coffee shop in Santa Monica, CA. My mother, a wife and mom of three, did an amazing job of running the day-to-day tasks of a household and family business. Last but not least, they led by example and never lost sight of their faith. These characteristics have brought me much success and have shaped me both personally and professionally.
What motivates you?
After moving to the US, living in Los Angeles, CA and then in Memphis, TN, I found myself eager to be a more active contributor to society, so I began volunteering for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a Spanish-English interpreter. My thought approach was: “I am volunteering. I am giving. I am interpreting for these families. I am helping!” I never thought that the roles would reverse. The truth is that I was the one receiving! The courage of these families going through these life-changing ordeals. The courage of these kids with a terminal illness. All these experiences truly changed my approach and my view of what it truly means “to give”. Some of these kids even comforted me when I was disheartened because of their condition.
Giving is not sharing whatever you have in excess; giving is offering the best of you to those in need. Giving is making your best inner-self available to others. By doing this, you are already making this a better world.