A Journey to Intentional Inclusion

To be an ally, two parties must work together for mutual benefit. Even today, it feels normal in the heavy construction and mining industry to be surrounded by a large number of men; however, at Caterpillar, we know that when we bring a diverse and talented team together we enable our customers’ success. Men play such an important role in diversity and inclusion, and I was honored to be named Caterpillar Women’s Initiatives Network Male Ally of the Year.

I am very proud of this achievement, but it also humbles me because of the expectations and responsibility that are placed on my shoulders. This award recognizes not just me, but also what we have done at Caterpillar and in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico for the advancement of women in the workplace.  Our facility has become a reference of an organizational progressive culture not only at a local level but for the manufacturing industry as well as for global Caterpillar.

In a time where diversity and inclusion are considered core for innovation, competitiveness and great work environment that produces excellent business results, Caterpillar Nuevo Laredo has been focused in creating an organizational gender balance at all levels as part of our strategic imperatives to create a winning culture.

I have walked this journey with my female colleagues, and in 2016, when I was named LPSD Nuevo Laredo Operations Manager, I had a clear vision to further expand the legacy by promoting Women in Leadership development and gender equality as my personal commitment.

With this objective in mind we have executed the following actions to intentionally develop women in leadership:

  • Sponsorship – when introducing a cultural change, strong support from the top is a must. This is a combination of a communication strategy and upper management of the facility visibly endorsing this initiative.
  • Launch Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) Employee Resource Group at all Nuevo Laredo facilities to focus on developmental needs of our female talent.
    • Leadership,
    • Work / life balance, and
    • Business acumen.
  • Succession planning with “Women in Leadership” as a specific criterion – we intentionally identified female talent that can be developed to compete for key leadership job roles.
  • Flexible work schedule – we are evaluating and benchmarking policies that relate to flexible and values-based schedules that will help our talent to manage work /life balance challenges.
  • Continuous communication and re-enforcement of policies that are conducive to a better work climate.

As the WIN chapter’s Sponsor and Operations leader, the focus has been to support women to develop their leadership skills, challenge organizational bias for equal participation and internal development of women in leadership and technical roles. Regionally, WIN Nuevo Laredo chapter has been recognized for the progressive approach taken in gender equality practices and inspired other business units in Mexico to take action.

As an extension of the passion and commitment that the Nuevo Laredo organization has for this initiative, and that we are very proud of, is the community recognition for promoting STEM careers in local high schools and technical universities. Investing annually since 2016 in the organization of the Congress “Educating Girls to Change the World,” more than 300 young women have attended. In addition, we support local Caterpillar female talent in their participation in the Congress and other activities in local schools.

The vision for Nuevo Laredo is to continue expanding the presence of women in technical and leadership positions, maintain a balanced pipeline, foster an inclusive work environment that will encourage capable men and women with the willingness and perseverance to lead, fulfill their potential, and leave their legacy.

Luis Hernandez Garcia
Operations Manager