Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions and accomplishments of Department of Commerce employees in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15—October 15).
Guest blog post by Ana Valentin, Acting Chief, Enterprise Service Branch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
¡Bienvenidos! Celebremos el mes de la Herencia Hispana. Welcome! Let’s celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the Latino population’s contribution to strengthen United States Economic and National Security. As the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, the Latino population is a growing driver in reshaping our culture, population and economy and in supporting domestic and international businesses and technology trades.
As a professional Latina, I am very proud to be a public servant for the Department of Commerce. I serve as the Acting Chief of the Enterprise Service Branch for the Service Delivery Division under the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As an Enterprise Service Program Manager, I lead various diverse information technology projects that strengthen NOAA’s mission to improve communication of NOAA’s research, data, information and improve knowledge of NOAA's data throughout our nation’s businesses and communities and in people's lives.
In 2014, NOAA leadership provided me the opportunity to complete the Office of Personnel Management Leadership Certificate Program. During this program, I felt the need to create an employee resource group that would promote diversity of thoughts and inclusiveness of Hispanics within NOAA. As a result, I co-founded the Latinos@NOAA Employees Resource Group (ERG).
The Latinos@NOAA ERG serves as a resource body for the Commerce Department's Office of Civil Rights and is housed within the Office of Education and Workforce Management Office within NOAA. The ERG also supports Federal and Non-profit organizations with the development of professional development workshops and diversity and inclusion activities.
In NOAA, Latinos@NOAA ERG supports the promotion of diversity and inclusion through the implementation of the NOAA Hispanic Program, which is a one-year program that includes monthly Distinguished Lectures and Mentoring Sessions. The ERG also supports the planning and execution of Hispanic Heritage Month within NOAA. Externally, the ERG promotes educational and scholarship opportunities to minority students in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Washington National Zoo. In addition, the ERG works with Washington D.C. Sheppard Elementary School students in promoting the Hour of Code--a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science.
Latinos@NOAA ERG accomplishments have resonated among NOAA leadership, as the group has been invited to be part of the NOAA Diversity and Inclusion Management Advisory Council and Workforce Management Office Outreach and Retention Initiative. In both committees, Latinos@NOAA ERG provides counsel on strategies to improve diversity while increasing inclusiveness in the organization culture.
I was born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico. I joined the federal government in 2000. I possess a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Math Education, a Master in Public Health - Biostatistics, and a Master in Science in Information Security Management. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctorate degree in Cybersecurity. I truly believe that education is the key to success. One of my favorite quotes is from Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian Math Teacher: “One of the greatest things in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You’re the one who will decide what you want to be.”