Latinas Making An Impact in Technology!
By Gloria Romano-Barrera
Discovering exciting career paths and developing strategies to create change in their communities makes Andrea Andrea Navas Asturias, Inclusion Program Manager|Global Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact at Intel Corporation, and Valentina Leanos, Owner of VITAL WIZARD, unique. They share their pathways to pursuing, enduring and succeeding in technology.
Andrea Navas Asturias
Inclusion Program Manager|Global Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact
“My father helped me realize that my skills and natural talents were very well aligned with Engineering,” shares Andrea Navas Asturias, Inclusion Program Manager|Global Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact at Intel Corporation of her engineering journey. “I initially wanted to study Environmental Engineering. My dad suggested that I do research on Industrial Engineering because our neighbor Laura was a very successful one. He told me to go talk to her as well. I also talked to the director of our church’s Employment Services Center, he showed me the statistics, and for every 10 employed Industrial Engineer, one Environmental Engineer had a job.
For Navas Asturias, this helped her make the final decision because, as the oldest sibling of nine, she wanted to find a good and well-paid job to help support her family. As soon as she read the description of what an Industrial Engineer could do, she fell in love with it.
“I think it is the happiest career on Earth,” she shares. “It is very versatile, and you can apply it everywhere.”
Born and raised in Costa Rica, her parents had a printing and design services family business. She feels she owes her work ethic and ability to be a true team player to her parents.
“Our motto was that our family was a team, and we did everything together. We worked hard together, and we played hard together,” she states. “In the family business, I learned how to budget, make quotes for our customers, inventory control, marketing, graphic design, and time management, to name a few. My parents were the first in our hometown to even have a computer, so the use of technology was second nature for me and my siblings.”
Navas Asturias recalls and shares that her venture at Intel started through a “student-worker” program at her university, allowing her to finish her degree and gain experience by working a few hours a week at the company. Today, she feels blessed to have obtained a job with Intel while she obtained her degree, gained experience, and financially contributed at home.
“As soon as I graduated with my bachelor’s degree Intel hired me full-time and now it’s going to be over a decade since that happened,” she shares. “I started my career in the research and development side of Intel. I was hired as a new product testing and development Industrial Engineer.”
Responsible for monitoring product health indicators and metrics that impacted the run rate of Intel’s test machines, her job was to ensure the team met the run rate goals during the engineering cycles and also that the process was ready for high-volume manufacturing. She relocated from Intel Costa Rica to Intel in Chandler, Arizona, with her husband and one-year-old daughter.
“I had so many technical development opportunities that helped me progress,” she shares. “But also outstanding managers that trusted me and sponsored my career at that time.”
Nava Asturias is an Inclusion Program Manager at Intel’s Global Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact organization. She is responsible for the Inclusion@Intel and Inclusive Leaders programs where she works with key stakeholders to influence the adoption of inclusion solutions & best practices to drive business results. Before this role, she spent over nine years in Technology Development as a Test Development Industrial Engineer. In this role, she has created and launched a program that helps people and businesses to embed inclusive best practices into daily activities. As a corporate program, it targets all of Intel’s population. Its web portal visitors are in at least 30 different countries and about 39 percent are managers and executives. This program was on the spotlight as part of Intel’s culture transformation efforts in 2020 and has been evolving continually to meet customers where they are at in their inclusion journey.
Navas Asturias has a Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering degree from the Technological Institute of Costa Rica and is certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She is passionate about empowering others, and her motto is to “Be the change you want to see in the world,” quoted from Mahatma Gandhi. She loves to spend time with her husband, Ron, and four little children Ariana (9), Ruben (6), Alejandro (4), and Abril (1).
“Growing up, I was always interested in technology and fascinated by the ways in which it could be used to solve complex problems and make people’s lives easier,” shares Valentina Leanos, owner, VITAL WIZARD. “I became fascinated by the business side of things and how technology could be used to drive growth and success. To pursue my passion, I studied Business Computer Information Systems and had the support of key mentors who encouraged me along the way.”
For Leanos, there wasn’t a specific moment that drove her to pursue a career in technology, but rather a series of experiences that led her to this path. She shares that a combination of personal interests, educational backgrounds, and supportive individuals led her to pursue a career in technology and business.
When it comes to her Latino heritage, she believes it has greatly influenced her professionally, as she was taught early in life the importance of hard work, resilience, determination, perseverance, and a deep-rooted sense of community and family.
“These values have shaped me into someone who always strives for excellence and never gives up,” she shares. I learned to chase my dreams relentlessly, even when they seemed impossible. My roots instilled in me a belief in myself and my abilities. Overall, my Latino upbringing has instilled in me the confidence to pursue my aspirations without self-doubt and the belief that anything is achievable with hard work and dedication.”
Today the entrepreneurial Latina is proud to run two successful businesses at the age of 32. She owns VITAL WIZARD, an IT consulting company, and a health insurance Agency she owns with her husband called, The Insurance Guys.
At VITAL WIZARD, Leanos and her team help businesses succeed by providing various services. From web design and management to marketing material, ERP training and implementation, administrative support, project management, application development, social media management, travel and calendar management, and health insurance advice. Its mission is to help businesses of all sizes unlock their full potential through technology.
“I am thrilled to have achieved such success at a young age, and I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way,” she shares. “I hope to inspire others, especially young women, to pursue their dreams and take bold steps toward achieving their goals.”
While Leanos’ success has been driven by hard work, adaptability, determination, and a passion for learning, she gained experience in various tech roles before pursuing her degree. For her, education, combined with experience in the industry, allowed her to gain the respect of her colleagues and clients. Additionally, she sought out mentors and allies who supported and advocated for her, providing valuable guidance and mentorship.
“As I reflect on my own journey towards my career in technology and business, one message stands out above all others: never stop chasing your dreams,” she shares. “It can be easy to become discouraged or feel like giving up when faced with obstacles and challenges, but it is important to remember that anything worth having requires hard work and persistence.”