By Andrea Grimaldo
For the fifth year, Vanguard has partnered with the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute to fund Comunicadores for the Future, a paid internship program that supports the next generation of Latinx communicators. Andrea Grimaldo is one of the program’s 2021 interns.
As a woman of color and first-generation college student emerging in the professional world, I recognize the importance of my complex identity as well as my unique perspective when contributing to a workplace. This summer, I was able to support an organization I care about as a public relations intern at Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital (GSCNC) through the Comunicadores for the Future internship program.
While many think Girl Scouts solely consists of cookies, badges and camp, I can attest to it being much more. GSCNC is a nonprofit organization that prepares youth to create change in the world. As an intern, I read some of the most impressive Gold Award-winning projects — Girl Scouts’ highest distinction — covering real-world issues ranging from the stigma of mental health to global human trafficking. While drafting a press release on this year’s Gold Award-winning Girl Scouts, I was fascinated by the girls’ passion and resilience as they continued to push their initiatives forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
My work at GSCNC also centered around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as GSCNC has pledged a sincere commitment to empowering all girls. DEI initiatives have become increasingly common within large organizations, and although they are meant to create a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, their approach can sometimes fall flat.
As I researched DEI strategies, I realized these issues go beyond representation; we’re meant to understand and celebrate everyone’s differences in a genuine manner to create the most productive and welcoming environment — exactly what GSCNC actively works toward.
Reflecting on the importance of gender identity, I provided suggestions for making GSCNC an even more inclusive space — such as offering resources that address the complexity of the topic and normalizing the use of pronouns.
Although this is a small step toward a larger goal, I am glad to have had the opportunity to contribute to DEI efforts at GSCNC. It is crucial to recognize that DEI is not a one-size-fits-all solution. To create the most impactful change, it is important to listen, reflect and implement action.
A commitment to DEI is a commitment to growth, and I am excited to apply what I have learned through this internship to every space I walk into — because DEI is a central part of every space and necessary to amplify all voices to empower and inspire all girls.