HISPANIC NETWORK MAGAZINE www.hnmagazine.com
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
for the challenges it brought. When she received her law degree and found her way climbing the corporate ladder, new challenges pre- sented themselves. Navarro was faced with unconscious bias, systemic racism and culturally unaware corporate environments. But the same person who fought hard for what she wanted was the same person in the board- room, and Navarro doesnt know how to back down. Navarro leaned in as an advocate, leading DE&I initiatives, empowering others to own their stories and cultural identity and becoming a voice for women, Latinas and underrepresented groups in the C-suite. But its not easy. Navarro has been keenly aware that her story and identity has created additional obstacles for her. Not everyone is ready for a powerful, educated Latina running the ship. Unconscious bias has led to moments of conflict that required her to be patient, but also stern, in decisions or behavior with colleagues. Demanding respect is key and performing your best is crucial. As a fierce, fearless and fiery Latina, Navarro has experienced moments where she was condemned or judged for her passionate, emotional response compared to white colleagues who have behaved worse and were able to walk away with barely a slap on the wrist. Navarro knows that the game is unequal and unfair, and the double standard exists, which is why she works to intentionally navigate it.
Setting a path
But despite how she got to the C-suite, Navarro is more than her past and sees opportunities for her and future executives with stories like hers. She finds it important for people of diverse backgrounds to embrace who they are, accept the lens they have and acknowledge the skills they bring to the corporate world. She encourages those who are grow- ing in their career to respectfully call out unequal treatment of col- leagues and be the change. Simultaneously, being ones own advocate is crucial and can be the only way for one to progress in their career, whether for pay equality, fairness, respect of decision making and resources. Overall, Navarro says we need to be our own advocates, and stay positive. She encourages others with diverse backgrounds, whether culturally or economically, to use it as their super power and help those around them embrace theirs. In her role as Chief People Officer, she led by example and became a part of large-scale change such as increas- ing diversity in the team she led, mentoring others in their career and setting the tone for change management. While it sounds like a whole second job, and does require time and commitment, participating in systemic change starts with us. In any role, whether its listening to people, raising awareness, creating mentorship programs for all lev- els of employees and growth tracts, workplace culture doesnt change unless we participate in that effort. But we cant do it all, and Navarro has learned that, sometimes, you just need to know when to walk. Know the difference, but also know whose granddaughter or grand- child you are. Know your story, and go back to your identity. Use it to your advantage, because after all, its what makes you, you.
In any role, whether it's listening to people, raising awareness, creating mentorship programs for all levels of employees and growth tracts, workplace culture doesn't change unless we participate in that effort."
-Kelly NavarroPrevious Page