Today's guest blog comes from Evelyn Gil, a finance analyst at Lilly.
Walking into headquarters on my first day of work, I read Colonel Eli Lilly’s quote, “Take what you find here and make it better and better.” These words have stayed with me, as they reminded me of my own family’s story.
My parents migrated to the United States from Mexico with the goal of creating better opportunities for my sister and me. Although we did not live in Mexico, my culture and history have always been present in my life. I grew up speaking Spanish and English, learned about both Pearl Harbor and La Batalla de Puebla, ate tortas more often than sandwiches and learned to accommodate formal handshakes as well as the preferred Latino greeting, a hug and kiss on the cheek.
When I joined Lilly, I entered a new environment with its own unique culture. As I had done many times before, I needed to learn and adapt quickly, so I connected with my coworkers and learned about SAP (software) and 1:1s (face time with teammates). I also became involved with the Organization of Latinos at Lilly (OLA) and developed a group of OLA friends with whom to watch the Mundial (World Cup) at our on-campus eatery.
We just finished celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and both OLA and non-OLA peers played soccer during our Celebrating Familia event and sampled food from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and other Latin American countries during our annual cultural exhibit.
Although I enjoy sharing my culture with our Lilly community, the true value of my cross-cultural experiences is reflected in everyday workplace situations. The obvious moments happen, such as assisting a coworker in need of a bilingual resource. More complex situations present themselves, too, as when I help a new hire find her voice and maneuver difficult conversations.
When I joined Lilly, I brought my skills and experiences, my Latino trademarks that include talking with my hands. Most important, I brought my parents’ courage and ability to view challenges as opportunities instead of risks—the same opportunities Colonel Lilly encouraged all of us to seek to move our company forward.