“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s said that helping others can improve your health and is good for your soul. By offering a few hours of time each week, many people see a significant difference in their attitudes, motivation levels and enthusiasm in the work place and life. When you contribute to something that is larger than yourself and see the significance that your work has on others lives, it can be truly life changing.
Impact Consulting had the great pleasure of sponsoring and attending the Hispanic Federation Latina Philanthropy Council’s Summer Soiree: Latinas Leading Change & Giving Back event hosted by Macy’s early this month. The event brought together Latina leaders from across industries to network, make connections and discuss the importance of philanthropy in the community. Our collective parts, no matter how small or large, create a great force and bring support to those individuals and communities that need it most.
*Pictured Right: Maria Delgado; the first recipient of the Latina Philanthropy Council Scholarship
After the event, we were able to connect with Dineen Garcia, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion Strategies for Macy’s to discuss the importance of giving back to your community and the initiatives Macy’s and Dineen are taking to do just that. Keep reading to see what Dineen had to say!
Q: What diversity and community initiatives does Macy’s currently support?
A: Macy’s has 5 main pillars for Diversity & Inclusion initiatives including Education, Women’s Issues, HIV AIDS Awareness and Research, Arts & Culture, and Sustainability. As an example, some of Macy’s initiatives for Education include scholarships, after school programs, partnering with Dress for the Success and personal branding programs for young people of color ages 14-24. Specifically, Macy’s launched a program called The Workshop at Macy’s that identifies minority and/or women designers looking to elevate their business. It is a one-week intensive workshop that covers a range of topics arming the designers with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. Over the past 6 years, 91 designers have attended The Workshop at Macy’s and Macy’s currently has relationships and contracts with 10 of those designers!
Q: How important is community engagement to you as a professional woman leader?
A: Community engagement is becoming more and more important as I get older. I honestly didn’t think about it much when I was younger but as I became more mature and had kids of my own, I saw the need in my community for people to give back, take initiative and get involved. Giving back is crucial and it’s now engrained in my DNA. I think giving back to the community is so much more than giving monetarily. There is so much significance in giving your time and connecting with people. I also believe that community engagement provides women leaders in general with the courage to speak up earlier and take action in all parts of their lives. If we truly want to drive change, we have to do more than just show up. We have to manage our managers, careers, network, philanthropy initiatives, etc. Community engagement gives women leaders that extra push and the permission to be brave, to add value, to give more of themselves, and to generate change.
Q: What are you currently doing to give back and drive change? Why?
A: In addition to my professional role, I also give back in different ways on a personal level. I currently mentor young men and women, speak on panels and sit on the National Board for the Girl Scouts. Mentoring the younger generation and speaking about my experience is so important to me because I grew up in an environment that was not always supportive of girls succeeding against the odds. There was always this second class citizenship for women and even though we are making progress, it’s still present today. A prime example is at the Rio Olympics when the commentary for women athletes focuses on their personal life or their family instead of their achievements at the games. On the other hand, commentary around male athletes focuses on how they prepared for the games and the story behind winning their medal. Women have to work a lot harder than men to get recognition for their successes and I want to know I’ve done my part with letting young women know that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Q: What advice do you have for professional women leaders who want to make a difference and drive change?
A: I think if women leaders want to drive change, we have to change our mindset first. We are the leaders in our own home so when we’re out there trying to drive change in our communities and companies, we need to be a little more bold in a very diplomatic way. We need to manage relationships, give ourselves permission to be brave and have confidence in our own success.
How has giving back to your community impacted you?
Macy's Vice President Diversity Strategies, Girl Scouts USA Board Member