Shifting Community Narratives toward Inclusion

By Karla Amador

As Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at NBCUniversal, Salvador Mendoza develops tools to improve the company’s diverse and inclusive environment. He manages partnerships with about 100 organizations throughout the country, including the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, American Association for People with Disabilities, and the Point Foundation among many others to provide increased community engagement.

“I was born in Honduras and immigrated to the South side of Chicago in 1982. I was fourteen-years-old. Coming from 80-degree weather to 30-degree weather and snow on the ground, and add learning a new language to the mix, began my passion for diversity and inclusion, because I was the person from the outside,” he says.

Living on the South side of Chicago, Mendoza adjusted to a new environment with people from all walks of life. He describes adjusting to a new culture as a difficult and formative experience because it fostered his desire for bridging the divide between people on the “outside” and the “inside.”

Mendoza expresses that media and entertainment companies have a great responsibility to tell accurate stories about the community, focusing more on positive narratives.

“We’re responsible [for] how we portray the diverse communities that we serve,” Mendoza says.

Another of Mendoza’s roles at NBCUniversal is investing in community partnerships and in brand equity. His goal is for the organizations he partners with to get to know NBCUniversal as a Media and Entertainment company that hires, promotes, and supports a diverse staff.

Mendoza works hard to establish an environment where diversity is respected and NBCUniversal’s staff ensures its employees feel included and respected in their roles.

Mendoza believes anyone can start leveraging change in their roles, and that being a leader is not necessarily based on title or rank. In the age of technology, the internet is a great tool to access information on advocacy and civic engagement.

“There’s no excuse for anyone not to be a positive influence for change. I always believed anyone can be a leader when you’re adjusting to a new culture or environment. You have to learn to be comfortable when you’re uncomfortable.”