@Pamela T. Lujan is a Director and Corporate Legal Counsel at Oportun and our very own Board Member & Secretary at Latinas in Tech. Recently she was named as a “Top 40 Under 40″ honoree by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. At Oportun, Pamela has been a true leader and an integral part of some of the company’s most important milestones, such as its successful IPO and its application for a national bank charter. Pamela has also demonstrated a solid commitment to creating a diverse workforce and is the Co-Chair of Oportun’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Council as well as a co-founder of the Latino/a ERG.
We had the opportunity to ask her some questions to get a close look at her fantastic work.
What is the one piece of advice you can give to Latinas to help navigate the corporate world using their bicultural background as an advantage?
Be curious don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and opinions. Bringing different perspectives to the table helps open up the conversation and encourage others to consider different points of view. This ultimately helps companies and teams make better decisions.
You mentioned before that you are proud of launching ERG and other inclusion and belonging initiatives at Oportun. Can you tell us from your perspective why these initiatives are crucial to support Latina’s growth?
Yes. I started the Latino/a ERG at my company. What really triggered the founding of the ERG was the pandemic and the time we spent at home. In addition, the events during the summer of 2020 really motivated me to think about what I could do to help advance inclusion and diversity in my company and in my personal life so I decided that 2020 was a good year to start this initiative. I also joined the company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Council. I now serve as the Co-Chair of the DEIB Council and it has been an amazing experience. I am proud to continue to work to advance DEIB internally and externally.
I believe that having a support system to rely on is key for any professional, especially for Latinas given that our culture deeply values community. Having mentors, sponsors, role models and access to a network and support system can really make a difference in the professional lives of Latinas. ERGs help serve as those communities for employees.
Do you think it is important that Women Latinas get exposure in wining nominations like the 40 Under 40 award? How can this help your career?
I would love to see more Latinas and more women win awards such as the “Silicon Valley 40 under 40 award.” I think that seeing other women who look like you be recognized for their work and their involvement in important initiatives helps motivate future generations of women and Latinas in technology, Latinas working for technology companies and Latinas working in STEM to continue to get involved in their communities and in their professions, elevating and advancing others on their way up.
What benefits do you find in being part of a community like Latinas in Tech?
It definitely “takes a village” to make a difference in the industry and elevate the community, especially when it comes to those groups that have been previously underrepresented or just not highlighted enough. Organizations like LiT help foster that sense of community that is so important to build the professional and personal networks we all need to continue to mentor, sponsor, and learn from each other.