In November 2022, we interviewed Diana Luis-Contreras (she/her), 2022 Emerging Leader who worked as an HR Intern at NW Natural, and a first-generation Latina student at Washington State University-Vancouver.
ELI: What are you passionate about, professionally or personally?
Diana: I am passionate about volunteering, helping people in need and leading projects and events.
ELI: What attracted you to ELI, and how have you grown from the experience?
Diana: I went to ELI because I knew they could help me get an internship, but I then learned that they specify in helping students of color; help you network, get an opportunity to speak to professionals ,and provide leadership opportunities. I was drawn even more to ELI because of this, and I wanted to get more involved.
I have grown by being more comfortable with allowing myself into these new spaces. This opportunity helped me to see all these cool and different opportunities that I would have never learned about if I had not been involved with ELI.
“I have grown by being more comfortable with allowing myself into these new spaces.”
ELI: What comes to mind when you think of your Host Company’s workplace culture?
Diana: I think of how welcoming and nice everyone was. I was taught so much about the workplace, but also about life, and I learned so much about Portland. I was also able to volunteer and be a part of company events, which was fun.
ELI: What was your biggest challenge or obstacle, and how did you overcome it?
Diana: My biggest obstacle was asking for help and questions during my internship. I like to try to figure things out on my own, but I needed to let myself ask questions because I know the people in my internship had gone through similar experiences, and I knew they could be a huge help to me. Once I started to feel more comfortable, I was asking a ton of questions, and I always got really great advice.
ELI: What’s your biggest ELI takeaway?
Diana: My biggest takeaway is learning that I can work in a corporate setting and [feel] accepted.
“I was taught so much about the workplace, but also about life.”