CARLSBAD, N.M. – Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), EM’s primary contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), collaborated with New Mexico State University-Carlsbad to mark Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting a panel spotlighting key Latinx people who have advanced their careers and inspired early career professionals within their community.
Watch a video of the Hispanic Heritage Panel discussion, held at the university campus, here.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends Oct. 15, is celebrated annually to recognize the rich history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities.
Guest speakers on the panel ranged in career and level of expertise, with each having an inspiring story and advice for people listening in person or virtually. They included Ed Garza, EM Carlsbad Field Office assistant manager for the Office of WIPP; Yolanda Navarrete, NWP manager of employee concerns; Rocio Espinoza and Raymond Dominguez, representatives with New Mexico State University-Carlsbad; and Nancy Bradford with CNB Bank.
The panelists discussed the key role Hispanic heritage played in their careers and the significance of an inclusive workforce.
“I probably had the privilege of not having to run into barriers because of my parents,” Garza said. “My father was very involved in the Lubbock (Texas) area with different things in the Latino community, so the barriers I probably would have run into, he and his friends knocked down.”
The panelists also talked about the importance of mentorship in career advancement.
“None of us are perfect. We can all learn something from everyone we work with,” Garza said. “I tell my staff that you can mentor in all directions, both up and down. Having a mentor to help you grow as a leader is very important, especially in young leaders.”
Navarrete also reflected on her past mentorships.
“I’ve had many mentors over the years, and I have completely appreciated and learned from each and every one of them.”
Garza’s last bit of advice to young Latinx individuals who are now joining the workforce was quite simple: Do your job.
“If you are given the opportunity to get into a career, if you want to stand out, don’t stand out in a bad way,” he said. “If you do your job, you will stand out in a good way. You will separate yourself, and you will be noticed. This is going to open up doors and opportunities, and when those opportunities come along, don’t be afraid.”
In her final remarks, Navarrete emphasized the importance of education, culture, and most importantly, staying true to yourself.
“I encourage you to be true to yourself, get your education, and follow your dreams and your goals,” she said. “And best wishes to you.”
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