A Conversation with Angelica Erazo

Angelica joined us for our sixth Changemaker chat hosted by Frog in the historic Scarborough building in downtown Austin. She told us about the importance of having a strong “why” and how seeing her mother work hard to provide for them as a housekeeper in Honduras inspires her to do the work she does today in her role as Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at Oracle.

Highlights:

If you see something, say something 
Angelica was very clear – diversity and inclusion don’t happen unless we’re intentional about it. If someone at your company is making others feel uncomfortable, bring it up to HR so it can be addressed. That’s the only way things will get better.

Diversity affects the business bottom line
Not only is diversity the “right” thing to do, but not being mindful of diversity and inclusion can hurt a business’ bottom line. Angelica advised that if diversity needs to be “sold” to top executives, a case can easily be made purely from a business sense. She shared specific stories where clients refused to work with their team until they had more women or people of color in the room.

Change starts from the top – get execs to care about it to get it done
Buy-in for diversity and inclusion has to start at the top. Find some common ground with the executive first. Do they have a daughter? An LGBTQ sister? Write a statement for them and get them to start speaking and giving money where they’re comfortable. The more they do it, the more of it they’ll want to do.

If you’re a minority, don’t be afraid to speak up
Don’t be afraid to ask the company you’re working for to give you opportunities to build up your leadership and other skills. It benefits you, and it will benefit them for you to move up in the organization. Be proactive. If there is a learning opportunity you’re interested in, let your manager, or another manager at the company know, so they can help allocate funds to help you.

If you have privilege, use it to build others up 
Angelica encouraged those with privilege to use it to help others whether it was to mentor, sponsor or nominate a qualified person. If you are a hiring manager, use your position to insist that HR help you find a candidate with the right skills, who would also add diversity to the team. They are out there! We just have to find them.