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IWD 2024: The lessons I’ve learned from a life on the move
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

Living in a small town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and, as the mother of two fearless little girls who speak perfect Spanish, we frequently attract inquisitive glances from our fellow residents. I relish the opportunity to share our story, and a little of our culture, with our neighbours and friends. 

My story starts in Mexico. Motivated by a thirst for personal growth and with the unwavering support of my parents, I embarked on a journey to the US at the age of thirteen. Departing from the familiarities of family and friends in pursuit of self-discovery and personal development provided me with a solid foundation from a young age, fostering adaptability to new environments and resilience. 

I attained American citizenship as a minor through my parents’ efforts, and while I acknowledged its importance at the time, what truly struck me was a ceremony that emphasised the importance of diversity and of bringing our disparate experiences together for the betterment of the nation.

Forging a fresh path

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis meant getting a fulfilling job was tough. While applying for different Master’s degree programs and a series of job interviews, a colleague offered me a role in a startup in Australia. My curiosity was piqued, and I promptly booked my plane ticket to Sydney with only $2,000 in my pocket but ready to seize the opportunity. 

I was captivated by the Australian lifestyle and decided to pursue an online MBA program. During this time, I explored various marketing roles, eventually discovering my passion for marketing automation.

Becoming Australian

By that time, I had realised that my love affair with this country and its people was likely to be an enduring one, and I went through my second citizenship ceremony in 2015. 

Once again, participants were encouraged to retain their languages, values and cultures and to bring them to bear for the benefit of their new country.  I’ve taken this advice to heart on both the home and work fronts. 

Making diversity and inclusion work at work

I strive to instigate that same sense of inclusion at Extreme Networks as Marketing Systems and Operations Manager, where I collaborate on global campaigns and programs. 

Over the past decade, while advancing my career as a woman in tech at Extreme Networks and previously at Google Cloud, I have had the privilege of learning from colleagues and mentors with a diverse tapestry of backgrounds and experiences who support and inspire me. 

Today, at Extreme Networks, I’m an active member of a number of Employee Resource Groups, including La Raza, which celebrates Latino and Hispanic culture, and the Women in Networking (WIN) Alliance group. It’s incredibly important to be part of a group that shares similar backgrounds and experiences and can provide support, but equally important to take that united voice to the broader Extreme audience. These groups empower the development and advancement of women in our company, encourage participation and support a thriving learning community. 

Ongoing work in progress

It’s well documented that the ICT industry is male dominated. Women hold just 31% of the jobs in the Australian IT sector, according to the Australian Computer Society’s 2022 Digital Pulse report.  Our representation is thinner again in the senior and executive ranks.

The gender imbalance may pose challenges for individuals to assert themselves and be heard, but I strongly advocate for each of us to discover our voices – and to champion individuals from various backgrounds to do likewise. Ultimately, it is our distinctive talents and viewpoints that enrich the company's worth.

If there is one thing that my migratory experiences have taught me, it’s that our commonalities will always be greater than our differences. I’m conscious of creating a workplace that is diverse, inclusive, and equal for all, where every voice is heard, every perspective valued, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive. 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, I’m reminded that we are better when we enrich our conversations – and business strategies - with new ideas and perspectives. Diversity and inclusion make teams smarter and ultimately, makes an organisation more successful, whatever its goals.