After gaining experience in hematology research in the U.S., Marinello was
given the opportunity to help build an oncology research group at Merck. When
she arrived, there were only seven employees. Since then, the department
has grown to over 150 employees, many of them Latinos. She is most proud
of the way that Merck has changed the way cancer is treated, especially in
Among her victories at Merck, she includes the FDA approval of Keytruda,
which has had great success in treating Hodgkin Lymphoma by boosting the
immune response against cancer cells.
“Cancer is such a difficult disease,” she shares. “But everyday with quality of
life that a patient gains with their family and loved ones, for me that’s a victory.”
In building her hematology team, Marinello drew on her Latino roots to build
a strong, supportive team. Creating a team in which everybody knows and trusts
each other has allowed them to provide feedback without offense,
increasing productivity and functionality.
“As Latinos, we become family with the people we work with,” she says. “So,
a friendly and inclusive environment is important.”
Vice President, NA, Personal Care Innovation
Procter & Gamble
Isabel Pimentel found out early in life that sometimes knowing what you don’t
want to do can help you figure out what you do. She always knew she would
pursue a career in STEM; she just wasn’t sure which path to take. All that
changed when her cousin, a doctor, invited her to shadow him while he was
on-call. After about two hours following him around the hospital, she knew that
she was not meant for a career in medicine. That experience helped her
narrow her options and eventually chose to pursue Industrial Engineering.
Her career path led her to Procter & Gamble, where she serves as Vice
President of Personal Care Innovation. In this role, she focuses on shaping the
future for the personal care category at P&G.
“I love how broad in scope my role is and the ability to partner with
our scientists to truly understand what drives consumer delight and
together design and develop the products that will make their lives better,” she
shares. “They do the magic on the chemistry, and we do the magic on the
naming, the way we talk about the benefit, the marketing strategy, all of that.”
She emphasizes that it takes a team to understand their customers and
working with the Research & Development group as well as the Analytics and
Insights team help meet their wants and needs.
Like most Latinas, Pimentel’s roots have helped shape the professional
she has become. A positive and grateful attitude coupled with being
hard-working and reliable have earned her the trust of her team. She also
emphasizes a family environment.
“We spend so many hours at the office, if we don’t find a way to have fun
and work together as if your team were your family, it just becomes really hard,”
She considers her direct reports as her own children, and like any good
mom, Pimentel lets them know that she will always have their back.
Her values also influence her professional staples. She lists servant
leadership at the top of the list of qualities that make her a good leader.
Maria Elena Cardwell
Manager, Aeronautics Business Unit
The importance of education and critical thinking was emphasized to Maria
Elena Cardwell from the time she was a child. Her parents did their best to
expose her to higher-level thinking by watching the Discovery Channel with
her and taking her to airshows where she was able to crawl around the aircraft
and see it up close. When she was a sophomore in high school, she was accepted
into a program at the Colorado School of Mines, where she was able to complete
courses and work on engineering projects, and this experience was the catalyst for
her entry into a career in engineering.
After spending 14 years in the aviation industry, Cardwell “made the cut” to
be among the few who work at Skunk Works, the advanced development arm of
Lockheed Martin. Though she is an aerospace leader, Cardwell says the best part
of her job isn’t working with the machines; it’s working with people.
“As exciting as our air vehicles may be, the people that make the magic
happen are the best part of my day,” she shares. “I love sitting down and
explaining concepts that once felt complicated and feel familiar.”
Working alongside the brightest minds in the field is exciting and
has allowed her to “discover a deep new world where I could expand my
Diversity in the workplace is an important topic to Cardwell. She encourages
diversity of thought, questioning the status quo, and values team members of all
races, abilities and gender expressions. “I have personally witnessed how diverse
teams help bring new perspectives and potential issues to the forefront, and always
strive to keep conversations within my team open and candid,” she shares.
She also believes employees should be recruited in multiple places and that
community should be made bigger by finding similarities instead of focusing on
LATINAStyle V ol. 27, No. 3, 2021 www.latinastyle.com 23