Karla Calzadias was a Digital Experience intern at Blue Yonder this summer and is a senior at Arizona State University. The lead for the Hispanic Business Students Association (HBSA) on campus, Karla talks about how she’s kept club members connected while at home, the value of action and the importance of diversity and inclusion to her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a senior at Arizona State University where I study marketing with a concentration in digital and integrated marketing communications, a minor in digital audiences, and a certificate in international business. I was the Digital Experience intern where I worked closely with Christina Luna, senior digital experience director. I had a well-rounded internship experience, dipping my toes into multiple projects and connecting with a variety of Blue Yonder leaders. The team and I worked on a few improvements to the Success Portal, including newly added gamification features, content and guided site navigation. While working on the Success Portal, I also learned more about Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and found new ways to promote the benefits of SIGs with the help of Wayland Fox, senior product director product management operations.

How did you hear about Blue Yonder?

I heard about Blue Yonder through the Hispanic Business Students Association (HBSA) at Arizona State University. I lead the organization on campus and Blue Yonder is one of our official corporate sponsors. Last spring, I reached out to Devyn Sanchez, an HBSA alumna and now project management specialist at Blue Yonder. I connected with her to invite her to one of HBSA’s general meetings so we could learn more about the company and opportunities available to our members. As we exchanged emails, Devyn kindly recommended I apply for the Digital Experience intern position.

How has being involved in an underrepresented minority (URM) club on campus impacted your college experience?

Being involved in HBSA has introduced me to students with backgrounds similar to my own who can relate to my struggles. Going into college, I experienced culture shock for the first time in my life and I found it very difficult to make friends quickly. As soon as I was introduced to HBSA, campus suddenly felt like home because I knew that there were other students who looked like me, spoke the same languages as me and had similar values.

How have the views of people from other cultures enhanced your educational, professional and personal experiences?

I feel lucky to have been exposed to different cultures during my life. I was raised in a Mexican household, I’ve done most of my schooling in the United States, and I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain. My identity has been shaped by the cultural differences I’ve experienced. I’ve learned to take the positive things about each culture and practice them in my life. These experiences have allowed me to relate and understand people from different backgrounds whether at school, work or in my personal life.

What type of exposure have you gained while being in HBSA that you don’t think you would have received otherwise?

HBSA introduced me to some of the most inspiring leaders in our world right now. Leaders like David Adame, past HBSA President and now President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, have motivated me to use my voice to stand up for underrepresented minority groups and help develop future leaders in our communities.

What do diversity and inclusion mean to you, both personally and professionally?

For me, diversity and inclusion mean being aware of each other’s differences whether that be age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education or national originality. Those differences are what make up our identity and should be accepted, celebrated and respected in our personal life and at our workplace. Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging in any organization they are involved in, which is why I continue to work on making that a reality within my relationships and the organization I lead.

What more can companies do to partner with URM student clubs?

Companies can begin by creating resource groups within their organizations for minority groups. Once those are developed, representatives from those specific resource groups can help identify URM student clubs to align with. Today, members of URM student clubs are actively looking for inclusive companies where they see themselves being represented and supported. A company interested in partnering with URM student clubs needs to know student members value their actions more than their words.

How do you keep your club members connected and included while away from campus?

Leading an organization during these unprecedented times has been one of my biggest challenges. However, this unique experience has fostered our creativity and opened doors that we had never knocked on before. Currently, our leadership team is working non-stop to plan an engaging and valuable upcoming semester for our returning and new members. We are working on a podcast that will go live soon and we are planning a virtual orientation for our incoming Hispanic freshmen to help them transition into college and make them aware of the support group they have as they enter this new chapter in their lives.