Mariana Fagnilli grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina during one of the country’s most tumultuous times. Between 1975 and 1978, during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” it is estimated that 22,000 people “disappeared” or were killed, a fate that touched Fagnilli’s family personally. She became aware of the disparities and inequalities suffered in Latin American countries and felt a drive to follow a career where she could fight for human rights. She is now the associate director and Latin American policy lead for Janssen, the pharmaceuticals group of Johnson & Johnson.
“For a while, I felt like something was missing,” Fagnilli says. “I was interested in business, I was interested in law, but I also wanted to help people. I wanted to put all of these passions together. I found a great space at Johnson & Johnson. I am very fortunate to bring my knowledge and perspective of the region’s rapidly changing political and business environments to provide policy and intelligence support regarding our Latin American business and patients.”
Fagnilli feels especially strongly about her work with the Johnson & Johnson employee resource group Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement, also known as HOLA. In 2001, a group of Hispanic professionals at Johnson & Johnson formed this grassroots organization with the goal of bringing together Hispanic employees, realizing the importance of their growth both in the United States and at Johnson & Johnson. There are now more than 1,000 members nationwide.
As chair of HOLA’s senior leadership team, Fagnilli has been an advocate for HOLA members, helping implement strategies to impact their development, recognition, and growth in leadership opportunities. At the same time, HOLA is committed to working in the community to help drive business growth.
Through participation in the many activities HOLA supports, employees can acquire and develop leadership skills, meet, interact, and learn from senior leaders across different Johnson & Johnson companies, as well as take on leadership roles in initiatives such as health disparities and multicultural marketing.
In 2013, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named HOLA the Corporate Challenge winner. Fagnilli herself earned honorable mention recognition as Latina Executive of the Year.
Fagnilli credits HOLA’s success to the commitment of its members. “We have long been committed to the recruitment, development, retention, and advancement of diverse talent across our businesses,” Fagnilli says. “Winning in diversity and in the marketplace fundamentally requires a culture that develops and advances talent and enables new ideas to flourish in an open, diverse, and inclusive environment. HOLA serves as a vehicle to enable this important exchange.”
To round out our special issue on Hispanic employee resource groups, we present our lineup of most-valuable Latino ERGs at some of the nations largest companies—including highlights on our “Top 5,” selected by guest editor, Dr. Robert Rodriguez. View the ERG Roster here.