DE&I Ambassador Highlight—Meet Bianca
Outside of her role as a Senior Manager on our Human Resources team, Bianca is a Co-Lead for Nestlé Purina’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Ambassador Program. This initiative quickly became her favorite, especially because it’s created an inclusive group of individuals who champion programming and events that highlight the many DE&I dimensions here at Nestlé Purina.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in the Hispanic/Latin culture my whole life. Up to the age of 4, during the day, I was taken care of by my grandmother. Spanish was my first language, and all I spoke up until I went to Pre-K and quickly assimilated to the American/English culture. My parents finished high school but never completed college, so it was always their goal for me to go to college. They sacrificed many things to fund private education for me from Pre-K –12th grade. I had a different lifestyle than other family members because there was a lot of focus and dedication to me as the only child; but even within my own extended family, there was always a slight feeling that I wasn’t “truly” Hispanic because I was raised in American society. I would say I became a bit “American-ized.” It wasn’t until after college at Louisiana State University that I started to understand this, and then I had an “ah-ha” moment that I can’t lose that part of myself just because of my upbringing, and I started to gain interest in the culture again. Even having lived in America my whole life, there is still a strong pull for me to honor my roots. My experience didn’t dissuade me from acknowledging that I am Hispanic and I am Latina. It has kept me grounded, and I’m so excited that my husband and his family have embraced my culture and that I’m able to share it with my kids.
After college, I lived in Baton Rouge for a year until I received an offer from Nestlé Purina and moved to St. Louis where I met my now husband.
We celebrate 24 dimensions of diversity at Nestlé Purina. How have they shown up in your life?
The 24 dimensions impact my life every day. The dimensions show up from the time that you wake up, to the time you go to sleep. It’s embedded in our morning routines, it’s embedded in the relationships and conversations we have during the day, and it’s present when we come home and wrap-up our evening to go to bed.
How does Nestlé Purina recognize Hispanic Heritage Month?
Year after year, our DE&I team plans HHM programming that provides a space for associates to share their unique lived experience and traditions that they honor within their heritage. It’s a great way for us all to get together and develop an appreciation of the diversity of traditions within the Hispanic/Latino culture.
We also continue to plan engaging events for our associates to celebrate HHM. It could be a guest chef from a local restaurant in St. Louis creating an exclusive tapas menu experience while sharing their personal culinary influences stemming from their Puerto Rican roots. Or a Hispanic Leaders Panel we host, comprised of employees and special guests sharing their unique journeys celebrating HHM and Nestlé Purina and beyond.
My favorite HHM event was our Coffee Battle--and yes, Cuban coffee won! I also look forward to hearing from our associates about their personal experiences with the Hispanic/Latin culture. Personal stories are the best—you learn so much!
What does DE&I mean to you?
To me, DE&I means respect. Respect for others is key, because whether you agree or disagree with them, there is no inclusion without respect.
Are there any resources (books, podcasts, etc.) you’d recommend for someone hoping to learn more about DE&I?
Honestly, the best advice I’ve been given to learn more about people, not just DE&I, is to listen to all types of resources. Don’t just stick to your comfort zone and listen to people that you have similar alignment with. I feel like I learn more and connect with people more when I listen to sources that may not necessarily fully align with my mindset or thought process. It just gives you different perspectives—you don’t have to agree with them, but you can listen to them and respect them.