Embracing Individuality at Embraer

Maggie Laureano invites women to bring their authentic selves to the workplace

Hispanic Executive By the Airplane_1

“One of our company mottos is “our people are what make us fly.” What differentiates Embraer’s company culture is our employee-centered and collaborative focus. We’re interested in maintaining a workplace where employees won’t want to hit the snooze button five times before getting out of bed for work. We want them to enjoy the atmosphere and their colleagues. We all report to someone, and that person can be anything from inspiring and empowering to dreadful.

At Embraer, empowerment is linked to our culture, and we make it a focus to continuously nurture those values. Empowering employees means equipping them with the tools, resources, and knowledge to grow professionally.

As a woman, I am a mother, an executive, and a leader. These qualities are not mutually exclusive. I have seen women who compartmentalize their lives, in many instances because they’ve felt their work environments were not accepting of some of these qualities. At Embraer, we don’t want women to emulate male executives. We value our female employees for the unique perspectives they can bring to the table.

The advice I give to other women is to simply be genuine. It’s more than OK to be a wife and a mother; you shouldn’t have to leave those aspects of yourself at the door when you enter the office. I am a strong advocate for bringing your entire self to your organization. We want women to be allowed to excel at being exactly who they are.

Although I fell into human resources by accident, I couldn’t be happier. To young women interested in entering this field, I would say that what they learn in school isn’t what their day-to-day will be like. You have to be prepared to think on your feet. The field is also changing; you now need to be familiar with the business and financial side of companies. You must speak the language of business in order to communicate with executives. Without these skills, you will be unable to establish credibility, develop trust, and add value.

Conjointly, networking is critically important. You must make connections and nurture those relationships. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. My advice to women is to seek out successful female mentors, and always remember that you’re not defined by your circumstances. Find mentors who see something in you, are willing to help you envision the future you want, and will push to help you get there.”