Cyntia Navarro is Breaking Down Barriers for Others
Cyntia Navarro is a Senior DSP Strategist and a global co-lead of Oath's Latinos in Tech (LIT) employee resource group (ERG). In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, she sat down with us to talk about her history and the great work she's done to break down barriers for others.
You've been with Oath (through Yahoo) for quite a while. What do you do?
I manage video and display campaigns on our DSP for US Hispanic accounts and ensure they're all as optimized as possible. It may sound complicated, but it all comes down to meeting our client's expectations, whether that's defining the right targeting or developing the correct tactics to run.
I didn't start with the U.S. Hispanic team. I began on a general market team. They needed someone who understood the culture of Hispanics, and because my first language is Spanish I took it on. That said, it's not just about the language. You also have to consider what type of content they consume day to day, their mindset, how they may react, and what's the best inventory available. I put myself in these users' shoes and imagine what they're going to engage with. I have an advantage in that way because I'm basically the target audience.
How did you get involved with LIT?
A few years ago I wondered if there was an ERG for Latinos, and I found it. At that time, Yahoo's was called ERES. The person running it needed help ramping up the whole group, and I was super eager and motivated to help out. I started the New York chapter, and after he left I kept going.
And it kept growing. A new person took over the Sunnyvale operations, and we've been a team ever since. Strategically, it's great to have her on the west coast since I'm in the East.
Going deeper, I got involved because of my background. I'm originally from Peru, and when I came to the U.S. it was a different system and lifestyle in a lot of ways. Adjusting to it was a bit of a challenge, but it was also very gratifying. I wanted to find other people in my same situation, who maybe shared similar backgrounds or beliefs. I also wanted to use the group to share our culture.
Why is diversity so important in the tech space?
We want to reflect what's happening outside of our office walls. Having diverse talent on our teams provides a better perspective into what our communities are really like. It's very important because it allows us to truly rely on our perspectives.
That's how the world should work: Seek to understand others challenges, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, and respect them. If you aren't exposed to other cultures, it's harder to embrace other people's perspectives.
How do you feel about Oath's work towards diversity?
I think we have been doing a great job. There is a strong commitment to diversity. In every company, you encounter challenges following a roadmap, but that's to be expected. Nothing is perfect.
In general, Oath's been transparent and honest in our commitment and progress. I particularly enjoy working for a company that values diversity.
Where can we do better?
I would like to see our hiring process be more open to underserved communities. There's a lot of people who want to get trained in our field, but because of their backgrounds or economic challenges, they're not given the opportunity.
Recruiting a diverse pool of employees is crucial. In general, I think Oath is doing the right thing. The presence of a focused diversity team to promote intersectionality between different offices and groups of people is amazing. It makes me feel comfortable. We're all wearing our Oath logos because we feel like this is our second home.
I've heard LIT has taken action on helping diverse recruits. Tell me more.
At the beginning of this year, LIT put together a technical training program specifically tailored to Hispanics and Latinos. That was due to the nature of ERG, but it could be replicated for others. The idea was to give recent graduates from CUNY in New York a chance to learn more about the DSP and our other platforms.
Courtesy of LIT
It was a six-week training program in partnership with COOP, an employment non-profit organization. There were 72 students that went through the program, and they were all so happy and grateful to get the training and skills. They inspired us as well, because sometimes we take our positions for granted.
Courtesy of LIT
If you don't have a network that would allow you to find these opportunities, it's difficult to break in. That's not uniformly the case, but it was a common denominator in their feedback. I think it was successful in that we were able to help them build a new part of their network in tech.
Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Oath.