Wanda Colón, a compliance administrator at Darden for three years, and Sasha Rodriguez, a paralegal at the company for six years, sat down to talk about the importance of Darden’s Hispanic Network, to which they both belong. The network at Darden’s Restaurant Support Center (RSC) in Orlando, FL, provides learning opportunities for professional and personal development and growth.
Sasha Rodriguez: How has your participation in Darden’s Hispanic Network helped you grow personally and professionally?
Wanda Colón: Through the network’s events and activities, I’ve created meaningful connections with many people, including team members whom I might not have gotten to know otherwise. Those connections extend way past Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October — they are visible all year through my interactions with people across the RSC.
Sasha: Those are certainly great benefits. The Hispanic Network helped me overcome some challenges. I’m shy, but my participation helped me come out of my shell and share my abilities. It was a privilege to be the go-to person for the breakfast that kicked off Darden’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration last month. I look forward to planning more events.
Wanda: Why is it important for Darden to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Sasha: It’s important for our company to celebrate different cultures and have team members who represent them. Darden does a tremendous job with that.
Wanda: I think it’s also important because Hispanics are essential to the success of Darden, not only as team members but also as guests and vendors. There are about 59 million Hispanics in the United States. When a company takes time to celebrate different groups in its organization, it serves as a reminder that those groups add value. It’s a relationship that should be nurtured.
Sasha: What are you most proud of?
Wanda: The sense of community I feel when participating in the Hispanic Network. I marvel at how our members take time to contribute to the success of our events. We are proud of our successes and our contributions are noted and celebrated. That feels good.
Sasha: I’m proud of our accomplishments, too, and I’m also proud to work for a Fortune 500 company and to represent Darden as a Puerto Rican member of the Hispanic Network. You don’t need to be a Hispanic to join the Hispanic Network, and that’s one more reason Darden is a great company.