Sonia Miranda Monroy | Director of People Services

Sonia Miranda Monroy

What was the toughest challenge you faced when you were starting out?

As a woman and a minority, I used to grapple with asserting myself and advocating for my ideas.

The pressure to conform to societal or gender norms of politeness and deference hindered my ability to assert my opinions, push back, or say no (to work assignments that were ineffective or unproductive), negotiate promotions and raises, or address workplace conflicts.

I found that when I started identifying my strengths and working on my weak areas, practicing assertive communication, challenging negative beliefs (that negative self-talk!), seeking feedback, and stepping out of my comfort zones, my self-confidence grew. Now I understand that I’m smart and deserve to be in the rooms I’m in.

Tell a story about a time in your career when you had to advocate for yourself:

As a seasoned HR professional, I’ve weathered a few storms, but I found myself facing a not-unique (to women) challenge—advocating for myself in a male-dominated industry. In my role, I’ve always provided support for my colleagues, yet I was faced with a toxic situation/employee undermining my ideas and position (publicly and privately).

The issue began when my efforts to implement diversity initiatives were met with resistance from a senior leader.

He had a dismissive attitude and constantly attempted to sabotage the projects.

Finally, I spoke the person in a private meeting (which took courage) and articulated the impact of his behavior on me, the team and company culture while emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and collaboration in achieving shared goals.

He was initially defensive and resisted but using examples of his actions and their effects seemed to appeal to his sense of professionalism.

He came around slowly and I was able to spearhead some training initiatives to foster a more inclusive culture. It taught me that advocating for myself is not only a personal responsibility, but one that can bring about progress and empowerment for other women.