Maricruz De La Herràn on How Athena Empowers Women’s Leadership

 

Last year we began a partnership with Athena, a San Diego-based women’s advocacy organization that fast tracks women in STEM through leadership development. Through this partnership, we offered membership to 15 dedicated and motivated women at Tandem, providing Athena benefits, including access to 50+ annual events which are designed to educate participants, bolster business networks, and instill a sense of empowerment that drives leadership development and job performance.

We caught up with Maricruz De La Herrán to learn more about her experience since joining Tandem and becoming a member of Athena.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been working in Supply Chain since 2002. I started working in the electronics industry, then I moved to aerospace, also in Supply Chain, but supporting a lot of project management and planning roles. After the economic crash of 2008, I decided to work for the medical and biotech fields as these sectors tend to be recession-proof. Since then, I’ve worked mainly for companies dedicated to improving people’s lives, from hospital equipment and disposables to diabetes CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and now, with Tandem.

I started working for Tandem in April 2020 as a Supply Chain Manager, based in San Diego, but working remotely due to the pandemic. Working remotely was hard at first, but the job needs to be done, and we’ve been able to adapt well.

How would you describe Athena and what inspired you to join?

Athena is a premier women’s advocacy organization supporting women in STEM through leadership development. When Tandem offered employees the opportunity to join Athena, I was immediately interested for many reasons:

  • I want to meet and hear the experiences from women in leadership positions in biotech and other industries, hear their stories and advice firsthand, and learn what has made them successful in industries that are still heavily managed by men.
  • Athena also makes it possible for many women starting in leadership roles, like myself, to be mentored by extremely successful female leaders— their advice and experiences are priceless.

What are some things that you’ve learned from your time in Athena?

I’ve learned that many of our female leaders go through the same struggles as any other woman when it comes to family, kids, and personal challenges, but the difference is how they overcome those challenges. They do not let the day-to-day discourage them from keeping going and working hard.

I learned that the importance of honest communication and integrity is fundamental for success.

I learned that many of our female leaders struggle with networking, but still push themselves to continue doing it because it is essential to meet people with different ideas, with more knowledge in areas we can learn from.

I learned that we must be humble to ask for help, take note of the experiences from people we admire, learn from others as much as we can, and help others succeed, especially from women to women.

What events have you attended, and which was your favorite?

So far, I have attended 3 events:

  • Networking In The Midst Of A Global Pandemic
  • Oktober MentorFest
  • Recognizing and Interrupting Microaggressions

It is hard to say which one is my favorite because each one of these events has been unique, providing incredible information and advice from the mentors and presenters.

From the few events I have had the opportunity to participate in, I have learned unique and extremely valuable lessons. It gives me a sense of security to know that these successful brave women are just like me, and they inspire me to keep improving, keep educating myself, and always learn from my mistakes while still staying moving.

What advice would you give to someone who might be on the fence about joining Athena?

I would say that I regret not joining Athena before. I wish I could go back in time 10-20 years and join Athena right after graduating college.

The content and mentorship shared during Athena’s events cannot be learned from schools or books — it has the human aspect attached to it, from the school of life and from the reality of years of cultural progress and change.

What are you hoping to get out of your membership this year?

I’m planning to join as many events as possible! The only way I will keep learning and getting inspired by all these mentors is by attending the events. It’s important to be curious, open minded, and humble enough to admit we all need help and that we can all learn from each other.

Is there anything that you’d like to leave us with?

The last thing I want to mention is that Athena is doing a phenomenal job on bridging the gap during these difficult times, when we can be so divided. Athena is promoting women from all backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and education levels to work together and support each other, to be positive to one another. Many of us feel alone and working almost in a defensive mode to be able to survive, not so much to succeed, but just to be relevant or share our ideas.

Athena is a safe place where we are not competing against each other.

 

Tandem is continuing our involvement with Athena throughout the year, including our sponsorship of the Lifting While Climbing Summit and Pinnacle Awards in June 2021. We look forward to sharing additional insights from our employees who are members of Athena, just like Maricruz. So stay tuned for more!

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