In August 2021, we interviewed Ana Lozano (she/her), a current Human Resources and Management & Leadership student at Portland State University, and 2021 Emerging Leader interning at Viewpoint, A Trimble Company.
Emerging Leaders Team: Where are you interning this summer?
Ana: I’m interning at Viewpoint, A Trimble Company as their HR intern. I love my company, and everyone has been incredibly welcoming and understanding. The people who work there truly are the reason I’m so grateful and happy to be interning there. They’ve also recently extended my internship to December, which is wonderful news!
I really appreciate ELI and Viewpoint for giving me this opportunity and helping me grow professionally. It’s programs like these that give students of color the confidence and skills to strive in the professional world.
EL: What do you do in your ELI intern role?
Ana: As the HR intern, I do a lot of HR tasks. I mentioned to my manager that I’d really enjoy getting the full idea of the HR world, and I’m thankful she was willing to let me take on different tasks in hopes that I find something I truly enjoy doing. I typically handle scheduling interviews with Viewpoint, Trimble, and SketchUp. I have presented in a Trimble DEI workshop for people leaders recently with my mentor. I also helped with recruiting college students to our internship program for this fall.
EL: What has 2021 taught you so far?
Ana: 2020 was a year I felt imposter syndrome deep in my soul, but 2021 was a year of reflection, self love, and self worth. It’s currently a slow process, but it led me to be here with Emerging Leaders. 2020 me would have never considered applying to Emerging Leaders. I would have looked at the process and said, “Nope, this is too much. I’m not worthy or confident enough to be in this program.” So looking at where I was back then and where I am now, I truly am so proud of myself.
2021 has taught me self worth, and now that I’m going through the process of growing professionally and personally, I know I’m capable of great things, and the career possibilities are endless!
EL: How have misconceptions of your identities impacted your lived experience and/or how you think about yourself or your community? How has it impacted your work style/professionalism?
Ana: As someone who is Afro-Mexican, I learned at a young age that in order for me to be taken seriously, I needed to work harder than the average person. I noticed that when you’re a person of color, messing up is not an option. There is too much to lose, whether it’s because you’re a first generation college student, or because you don’t want to be seen as incapable—messing up can not be an option.
During one of our (ELI Intern cohort) breakout sessions, someone had mentioned that many Emerging Leaders interns kept getting “perfectionist” in their personality test. This really made me think about these misconceptions that have impacted Black and Brown communities. Often we are underestimated when it comes to what we are capable of achieving. We are not seen as intelligent or as professional. When we do gain this reputation, we might quickly lose it if a mistake is made. It makes sense that many Emerging Leaders of color strive to be perfectionists. Why wouldn’t we, when we’re trying to disprove these misconceptions?
Personally, misconceptions like these have impacted the way I viewed the professional world. I saw it as a cut-throat world, and this greatly terrified me, and led me down a path where I wasn’t comfortable enough to seek out career and internship opportunities in fear of failure and making mistakes. The perfectionist in me did not know how to handle mistakes. I’m currently working through these fears of failure. I’m starting to realize that these misconceptions are untrue, and in order for someone to succeed, they need to accept that mistakes can happen, and it doesn’t dictate someone’s intelligence and capability.
Ana and fellow Emerging Leaders engaging in a service project writing letters to residents at West Hills Village Senior Residence. Ana supported ELI 2021 cohort engagement activities as a member of the intern planning committee.
EL: If you could rewrite the narrative/story of your community/culture, what would you write?
Ana: There is so much beauty in being Latinx and I’m very proud to be Afro-Mexican. With that being said, I’d rewrite my community’s need to assimilate. When I was younger, I struggled with internalized racism and I often tried to fit in, whether it was by never speaking Spanish or by denying my identity as Afro-Latinx. I’ve heard similar stories from friends who also struggled with this especially in neighborhoods where they were the only person of color. I wish to rewrite that part of our culture—to make sure Latinx students do not experience imposter syndrome and are not ashamed of their culture but instead take pride in it.
During one of Tiffanie’s breakout sessions, she asked us to write a poem about ourselves, and I wrote:
“I am Afro-Mexicana.
will tell you secrets of my history,
of my past,
and my future.
My name is Ana.
My family and culture empowers me to continue living.
I will take the resources my parents gave me to carve out a future I’ll take pride in.”