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That is some advice that she gives the younger generations entering the
“Don’t let disappointments set you back,” she shares. “Use those experiences
to gain energy and push harder. And if things don’t go your way, learn from that
experience and try again.”
Integrated Team Lead, Payload Electronics
Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Vice President of Electronic Warfare Systems
Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Not many can say their career in engineering was inspired by a real-life
movie character, but Cynthia Beltran can. After being ridiculed for not
speaking English well in elementary school, Beltran turned to math. She
realized that she could focus on math and get good grades because she didn’t
have to know words, she just had to know numbers. This gave her courage and
confidence in herself. When she reached high school, one of her teachers was
Jaime Escalante, whose story was the basis for the movie “Stand and Deliver.” He
and Mr. Angelo Villaviciencio, another teacher, encouraged her with the message
of “Ganas desire, that’s all you need.”
Another source of inspiration for Beltran is her father, who never had the
opportunity to earn an education in his home of Sinaloa, Mexico. When she was
young, her parents crossed the border into the U.S. along with their children “in
search of a better life and the promise of opportunity.” Beltran remembers her
father coming from his job as a bricklayer, where he earned less than minimum
wage, doing his best to provide for his family. She has applied his work ethic to her
life to lead her down the path of success.
“My parents’ love, sacrifice, and strength have shaped me into who I am today
- strong, motivated, and independent,” she shares.
Beltran believes that her current position is the culmination of the time and
experience at each of the positions she filled before this one.
“What I try to balance for myself and for those I mentor is looking ahead to the
next challenge while excelling at the current challenge,” she shares.
Beltran credits her managers with encouraging her to try new things and
taking note of her ease in dealing with positions when solving challenging problems.
Her mindset is focused on finishing one challenge and applying what was learned
to the next.
Because Beltran’s position and program are brand new, she and her team
face the unknown on a daily basis. “We don’t know what we don’t know,” she says.
“Our biggest challenge is the unknown.”
This challenges them to help one another figure out solutions to problems they
didn’t know existed. She acknowledges the hard work that her team puts in day in
and day out.
“We work hard and coming from different backgrounds,” she shares. “We all
have something to offer.”
When Annabel Flores was growing up in Eagle Pass, TX, she announced
to anyone who would listen that she was going to be an ingeniera. She
vividly remembers being told by many that her goal was impossible
because there was no such thing. Engineers were men, so the Spanish equivalent
for a female engineer did not exist. Fortunately for her, she didn’t listen. After
earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a dual master’s degree
in mechanical engineering and business administration from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Flores now serves as Vice President of Electronic
Warfare Systems for Raytheon Intelligence & Space, where she oversees the
overall strategic direction and operation of a diverse portfolio of electronic
As the daughter of migrant workers who crossed the border from Mexico into
Texas, Flores learned early the value of hard work from her parents. They came to
the U.S. and sacrificed everything for a better life and instilled in her the mindset of
“If you’re going to do something you’d better work hard because this is your
opportunity.” she explains, “So that, I think, has laid the foundation of everything I
do. I approach everything with ‘I am going to work hard.’ It comes from generations
of family and seeing them do what’s best to keep the family advancing.”
They also emphasized the importance of being courteous to others and
treating people with respect, which is a big part of Latino culture.
These values, instilled in her from a very early age, are practiced every day
through her interactions with her team and co-workers at Raytheon. Flores believes
that treating everyone with respect, regardless of title, is essential to a healthy
work environment because every person matters and contributes to the overall
success of the organization. It is the people that make working at Raytheon
enjoyable and fulfilling.
The day-to-day interaction and working together to solve problems, the
collaboration that helps people grow and succeed is the best part of her job.
Flores started at Raytheon as an intern and has held 15 different positions in
her 23 years with the company. Early on, she set a goal to work her way into a VP
position and has spent many years developing and improving her skill set to bring
that goal to fruition.
“Flex and evolve who you are,” she shares. Other words of wisdom she gives
those wishing to follow in her footsteps include, “Have a strong support group of
other Latinas, and keep your connections strong.”
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Disclaimer: the printed version of LATINA Style incorrectly features Cynthia Beltran
as Brenda Lopez. Photos are corrected and updated at www.latinastyle.com
26 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle V ol. 27, No. 3, 2021