Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Berkley Life Sciences’ Angie Rodriguez
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked Angelica “Angie” Rodriguez, Berkley Life Sciences’ Life Science Specialist, if she would share her experiences about her Hispanic culture, traditions, role models, diversity, and what this month means to her. She proudly accepted.
Angie, can you share any cultural traditions or customs that you practice or are significant to you or your family?
FOOD! Everything is surrounded by food. If you are sick, there is a dish for that. If there is a celebration, there is a dish for that. For postpartum, there is a soup. For a hangover, there is soup. Food is our shared experience. Our cuisine sets us apart but binds us together. My husband is Dominican, and our food is similar. It is Caribbean-influenced with nuanced differences. My grandmother raised me and was always cooking. I guess it is how we show our love.
How has being Hispanic shaped your perspective on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and do you have any suggestions for promoting a more inclusive environment for all employees?
We bridge the gap between the two cultures since many Hispanics in America come from South America and the Caribbean. So many of us reside in the United States. We are ingrained in and are the American culture. In my past insurance position, my customer base included many Hispanic customers. It demonstrates that we are a large part of the demographic, and having representation in your organization for that demographic sets you apart.
Do you have any Hispanic figures, leaders, or role models who influenced your life or career path? What lessons have you learned from them?
My Grandmother. She moved to the United States with two small children and worked in a factory assembling calculators. My grandmother was taught to keep her head down and not to draw attention to herself. But she became friends with a woman who owned an insurance agency. My grandmother asked if she could visit the agency on weekends and learn about the business. She did, and ten years later, she bought the agency. She is 77 years old today and remains an independent agent in Florida. She made her opportunity and sacrificed. She taught me the value of hard work.
So, do I need to ask why you picked the insurance industry as a career path?
Insurance obviously picked me.
What advice would you give individuals and organizations looking to better understand and appreciate Hispanic culture and heritage during National Hispanic Heritage Month and throughout the year?
Hispanic culture is American culture and representation matters. Our music, food, and traditions are being celebrated throughout the world! We celebrate our uniqueness. But most importantly, we also see how much alike we really are.