Latinas in STEM
Inspiring Leaders &Role Models
By Christine Bolaños
Gone are the days when Latinas pursuing careers in Science-Technology-Math-Engineering (STEM) elds
were discouraged from reaching their dreams. That’s not to say they still don’t have to overcome obstacles during
their professional careers, due in great part, to being a woman and/or Latina. However, they now have
resources, tools, condence and role models to forge their paths and break barriers their predecessors could
only dream about in earlier generations. Today, Latinas such as Cindy Healy at Microsoft, Lidia Santos at UPS, Elizabeth
Agosto at BNY Mellon and Miriam Hernandez-Kakol at KPMG, are helping their companies reach new horizons while
creating the greatest impact as role models for generations of Latinas aspiring to follow in their footsteps.
Growing up within a humble Mexican-
American family, Cindy Healy was
groomed to become a wife from a
young age. Her mastery of cooking was
more important than her stellar grades.
Healy ended up attending a local community
college where it was uncommon for students
to transition into a four-year university. She
took a part-time job at an amusement park
where a short conversation with a supervisor
would change the course of her life.
Director, Skills, Capabilities
and Insights, Worldwide Learning
The supervisor told Healy her math skills
resulted in her frequent shifts at the change
booth --- a coveted role at the park.
“I asked her, ‘How hard is it to count?” And
she said, ‘You’d be surprised,’” Healy recalls.
“That’s when I learned that maybe I had a skill
that maybe no one else had. She gave me
direct advice and said, ‘You should go to a
university and major in computer science.’”
The supervisor said her starting pay was
$25,000 in the field and that there were
always job openings. That was enough to
solidify Healy’s destiny.
Today, Healy has more than 25 years of
experience in technology and leadership. For
the past 13 years, she has taken on numerous
roles at Microsoft, including as Director of
Microsoft Business Operations, and her
newest role as Director of Skills, Capabilities
and Insights at Worldwide Learning at Microsoft.
“I manage a small team of people and
we are building tools that help people
22 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 2, 2018