Imagine Next: The Power Of Perspective
Committed To Diversity
Valuing diversity is as much a moral imperative as it is a strategic one, and diversity is not only a core value of ours but a key component of our employer brand, Imagine Next. With our six employee business resource groups, designed to promote and support diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce—as well as our diversity policies, training programs, goals, and commitment to hiring, retaining, and partnering with diverse talent from across the world—we’re imagining what’s next in technology, national security, infrastructure, and the global economy. And we’re imagining what’s next in giving a voice to diverse groups of people and building a culture that enables them to thrive.
Meet Astrid’s Team
HR Central is our HR team that supports employees in the areas of onboarding, offboarding, benefits, and day-to-day processes and tasks. What makes Astrid’s team, an all-female team making up half of the HR Central team, so special is that they’re diverse ethnically, politically, generationally, religiously—and, of course, each member brings her own unique talents, educational and professional background, skill set, and creativity.
Yanet Rodriguez, a senior project analyst, was born in Cuba and has a background in psychology. According to her, “All our team members have not only different educational backgrounds but work in different locations. We have a very rich and diverse skill set. We speak several languages, from Spanish to Japanese and Tagalog, and we represent different age groups in our team. We have working parents who also bring some diversity to the team, and I think all of that makes us special in the sense that we can provide our employees with better service.”
Astrid herself is Lebanese and Afro-Cuban and grew up in Mexico. She came to the United States when she was recruited by an Olympic coach to run track. She trained and ran professionally for many years, traveling the world. Eventually, she married and had children, and it wasn’t until after she took a four-year gap to be a stay-at-home mom that she remembered the positive experience she’d had back in college, as a part-time HR assistant. So she reentered the workforce as an HR assistant for an aerospace company, and soon after she was recruited by Parsons to work as part of our Talent Management Services Center.
With my athletic background, I’ve always been inspired by goal setting and the idea of continuous improvement—that’s just part of my DNA—and that’s what I’ve been given the opportunity to do at Parsons. I’ve been challenged to continue to innovate and create.” — Astrid
Now a leader, it’s important to Astrid to inspire her team the same way she’s been inspired, as well as to foster an environment of collaboration and trust, a place where every voice is heard and respected, so the team can continue to have a healthy, nurturing relationship with one another and so there are no limits when it comes to leveraging new technology and providing critical support to take care of our Parsons employee population—many of whom face serious challenges.
And her approach is working.
According to HR specialist Katelynn English, “The level of diversity we have on our team gives us the space to be exceptional. We’re constantly able to generate new high-quality ideas, solve problems faster, and stay on pace with or ahead of our industry.”
The Tough Get Going
Just like anything worth having, however, maintaining a diverse team isn’t without its challenges. Astrid shares a story of a generational clash. “I’ve had baby boomers and millennials collaborating on a task, and the challenge was their communication. The baby boomers communicated in a very confident, direct manner, and the millennials had a more lighthearted, instant-message approach. At first, they didn’t understand each other, but each was bringing something valuable to the conversation that we needed, so I explained to them the difference in communication style and the value in each approach, and they were ultimately very successful.”
The Difference Differentiator
Each one of the seven women on Astrid’s team has a specialized role, from delivering presentations, to performing administrative tasks, to providing support services. In May of 2022, we acquired Xator, a company with differentiated capabilities in critical infrastructure protection, specialized mission training, intelligence and cyber solutions, counter-unmanned aircraft systems (cUAS), biometrics, and global threat assessment and operations. By leveraging each person’s individual skill sets, Astrid’s team has been instrumental in making the onboarding process for Xator’s employees a success.
But most of all, working through those generational gaps, the language barriers, the personal differences, the cultural differences, and the educational differences with one another—and learning how to exploit those differences to their advantage as a team—is what’s enabled them to provide unmatched support to our employees throughout their employee life cycle.
“Our employees are our greatest asset. Everything we do with our employees, from onboarding to offboarding, has to be handled with a certain level of care and attention, and because of the strength of our own team, we’re able to provide high-quality service to them,” says Astrid.
Imagining Next With Diversity
Every day, HR Central, like our other departments companywide, will continue to evolve and leverage technologies and ideas that improve our processes and the quality of our services. We’ll continue to build diverse teams, employing people from five—yes, five—generations, offering the opportunity for continued learning and collaboration in many different and interesting ways.
But imagining what comes next is not just about predicting the future or planning for tomorrow. It’s about embracing our diversity as a company and recognizing the strength that comes from our differences. As a close-knit group, Astrid’s team empowers compassionate, supportive, inclusive relationships—and as a company we also share the power and responsibility to open our minds and hearts to everyone around us, becoming better caretakers of one another and lifting each other up to reach our full potential.
Katelynn says, “Never have I worked in a place like Parsons where individuals’ ideas and opinions are so highly valued and where I feel so safe and comfortable to grow. So when I imagine next, I’m thinking about my future with Parsons.”
By taking a lesson in empathy and understanding from HR Central, we can continue to celebrate diversity and all its benefits to be even better tomorrow than we are today.
All across Parsons, teams are imagining next to ensure that we’re both providing better solutions and a better workplace culture. Are you ready to imagine next? Apply Here!