The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 17, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 10.
Next is Chief Diversity Officer finalist in the Private & Public Company category Laila Salguero, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at Peraton. Here, she talks career turning points, career advice, primary focus areas going forward and more.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
When I first started my career, I didn’t know the corporate world. When I secured a job at Booz Allen as an EA, I found a group of people who took me under my wing and helped me navigate the business. I didn’t know they were mentors at the time but, looking back, I realize their guidance shaped the way I navigated my career.
One of her seniors allowed her to own certain projects to further her experience in the industry. I kept taking risks and pursuing opportunities that weren’t always vertical moves but put me in positions to hone my skillset. The inflection point was knowing I wanted more and pushing myself to do it whether I was confident or not.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
If someone takes you under their wing, let them teach you. You don’t know what you don’t know.
What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
As we enter 2023, my team and I are focused on a few key areas:
- Increasing inclusion by delivering relevant, inclusion-forward activities and programs that remove roadblocks to performance, increase accessibility, and reflect the diversity of our world-class workforce.
- Driving engagement by enhancing our internal employee support, through our ERGs, to drive employee engagement, retention, and professional development activities.
- Attracting and developing top talent by innovating and growing in untapped areas through collaboration with internal groups, strategic external partnerships, and universities aligned with our Peraton mission and vision to recruit top talent.
These initiatives help Peraton make a dent in filling the 700,000+ open cybersecurity jobs across the United States and ensuring we are creating a diverse pipeline of skilled talent that reflects the current and future state of our nation.
By investing in our strategic partnerships, we maintain the level of expertise necessary for Peraton to support customer missions that keep America and its allies safe and secure well into the future.