During Hispanic Heritage Month, HECFAA, the Employee Organization for the Department’s Hispanic community features members who make the Department and world a better place. Today, three colleagues tell what it is means to be unified, or “unidos!”
Anthony D. Musa, Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Sanctions Policy and Implementation
I celebrate my Mexican heritage at the Department of State because it is important to show our foreign partners the diversity of our great nation. As an employee of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, we work to create jobs opportunities here in the United States, boost opportunities abroad, and secure our financial system. Latino entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of new small business owners and unlocking economic opportunities via international trade is fundamentally important to the success of fellow Latinos in the United States. Hispanic heritage month reminds me of my familial history, and the continuing success of Latinos throughout the United States and in our foreign and civil service.
Natalia Molano, Press Officer, U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo
Being United/Unidos is the source of strength for any organization, nation, and social movement. Employee organizations have a special role in celebrating our diversity and advocating for inclusion. These efforts help us build a sense of belonging as employees so that we can come together United/Unidos to strengthen the Department of State. Serving in an inclusive workplace helps me feel secure expressing my identity as a Hispanic American and speaking up about equity issues. An inclusive Department of State also allows me to leverage my heritage and unique life experiences to gain access and connect with local interlocutors and partners overseas to advance U.S. foreign policy.
Vanessa Vidal Castellanos, Communications Advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen
Unidos means that together we can offer opportunities to others, in the U.S. and abroad, and share what we represent: inclusivity. I am a second-generation immigrant and inner-city Latina, who in most countries would have had a bleak future. The Pickering Fellowship enabled me to serve and represent my country. Now, I am the Communications Advisor to the Special Envoy for Yemen appointed by the President.
Unidos. My male Caucasian supervisor and I represented U.S. diversity to visa applicants in Switzerland. After I denied a visa, an applicant asked to speak to the “true” consul. My supervisor came to the window and said, “She is a consul. Her decision is final.”
Unidos. By chairing the interagency cybersecurity working group in Saudi Arabia, I showed that women are valued equally with men and demonstrated that women can lead.
About the Author: Moises Mendoza serves as Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies’ (HECFAA) Vice President for Foreign Service and a Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center.