Today, countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. This day not only recognizes the achievements made by women, but also to bring awareness to the obstacles that will stand in their way. At Efficient Happiness, we recognize, value diversity, and aim to include all team members. This day we honor all women, starting with our families our moms, our sister, our wives, and our daughters. When we are working, we bring our families, our partners, our loved ones with us, our success and failures are enjoyed and suffered by them, so we thank them for their love and support. We also want to uplift our female colleagues for their contribution to our success. The theme for International Woman’s Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge: We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. As the CEO and Founder of Efficient Happiness, I want to onboard our new Country Manager USA to the team and allow her to tell us a bit about her story. Welcome aboard Vero!
Antonio and Team EH
I am totally elated to join the Efficient Happiness family. What a ride! After 24 years of active-duty in the United States Navy, I transition to the corporate world. I would say that climbing the highest enlisted ranks had its good and bad experiences. I am familiar with diversity equity, inclusion, and gender inequities, not only in scholar setting, but as an experiencer of those issues within our social construct. Growing up in Dominican Republic as an adopted child of a farmer and goat herder, I never imagined that I would end up in the United States, serving the world’s greatest Navy. Those experiences there sparked my interest in Justice, Diversity Equity & Inclusion. Becoming the first Latina “Reserve Forces Equal Opportunity Advisor” for 177 units and 63,000+ personnel was a heavy burden. After that experience moving into the field of Command Climate and Culture and understanding organizational change as a Special Assistant to the Naval Inspector General was an amazing challenge as well. Culminating my military service and joining the corporate world in the Human Capital arena has been a great privilege. If there is one thing that every Navy Sailor, every federal or civilian employee have in common is their humanity first and their social identity second.
Our values, our socialization may vary, but our humanity unite us. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I urge you to look to your left and to your right and lock arms with your teams to ensure that we fight for inclusive environments, where we do all we can to eliminate gender bias, and inequality of any kind. Let us look at our Recruitment, Selection and Hiring & Disciplinary practices to ensure that they are fair and equitable. Let us think of those who are not like us, with loving hearts and empathy. The advice I got right before I got out of the military was to never let my hair down, always look “well put together”. Put some make up on and wear a smile constantly, most importantly no matter what happens, I should never, ever cry at work or let others see me have a bad day, because as a woman I did not have the luxury of having a bad day. As innocuous as that advice sounded it contributes to the women stereotypes in the workplace. It perpetuates the stereotype that we are different and as such we must be treated different.
No wonder why our workforce does not feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work! Although I understand the need to look professional and I am certainly not advocating that I should walk around wailing, if I am having a bad day, what I am saying is that if organizations want to put their money where they mouth is when it comes to women equity, then they must ensure their employees feel empower to be themselves in the workplace. This is the reason why I am part of team EH, because we believe that people make the organization, not the other way around! We are a family of professionals that believe that workplace happiness is achieved by listening to the people and bringing empathy and humanity to the workplace. This is not a sales pitch is an “I believe” Speech.
Like Antonio and the EH team, I believe that if organizations, companies, and leaders get good at “people’s work” they will have to do less paperwork! I believe in leading with the heart, love those we serve and serve those we love! Women and men are created equal, their experiences should be similar while climbing the career latter and while working together. Women do not need to justify their experience or their rights to equality. I used to be asked frequently, what the recipe for gender inclusion is, there isn’t one, why? Because Inclusion begins with “I”. If we want to create a world of gender equality, let us start by being self-aware and looking for the areas that we need to work on to become a more inclusive individually and collectively. Let us set the example we want to see in the world! Then as leaders, let us ensure that we practice inclusion in all we do. Today we recognize all the contributions of women in all nations! My mom used to say charity starts at home. So, the first person I am going to uplift is my daughter! Alexa, thank you for all you do, you make my ordinary life extraordinary, my phenomenal woman!