Latino Employees Celebrate Differences

Giovanni Arana’s parents, who came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1966, taught him an important lesson: No matter what you’re trying to do, be curious and seek different perspectives. It’s a lesson that has helped him throughout his life and career. And it’s a philosophy he sees among his colleagues at Lilly.

"Different perspectives make a real difference to our business as an innovation company," said Arana (pictured, left), who leads Lilly’s Latino employee resource group.

That mindset has special meaning during Hispanic Heritage Month, from mid-September to mid-October every year.

"Being Latino is not just one thing," he said. "Latinos are a mosaic of different cultures, from different countries. We speak different languages. Some of us are immigrants, or our parents or grandparents were immigrants. Many of us were born in the U.S."

Lilly embraces those differences – among Latino cultures and across all of the cultures, ethnicities and other dimensions of diversity reflected in our workforce.

As the company marks Hispanic Heritage Month, people from many backgrounds are participating in discussions and forging new connections. And recently, Latinos and African Americans teamed up to sponsor Lilly’s largest career- and team-building event of the year. "It was a day of learning and celebrating cultural differences – and our many similarities," said Prentice Stovall (pictured right), who leads Lilly’s African American Network. "It was an enriching experience."

A native of Colombia, Lizeth Hernandez Morales refers to her immigrant experience as her "superpower."

"I come from a family that took risks to start over in a new country seeking a better life," she said. "How can I not be positive and optimistic?"

She continued: "I’m so grateful to have the opportunities I’ve been given. If I don’t step up and seize those opportunities, I’m not honoring those who went before me."

As to what people can do to mark Hispanic Heritage Month, Arana said: "Be intentional. Don’t rely on media stereotypes; make the effort to seek new perspectives by talking to a Latino colleague. We are open to sharing – and we want to hear about your culture too."