Salvador Mendoza: Advocating for the People
By Monsurat Olugbode
As the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at NBCUniversal, Salvador Mendoza works closely with the talent management team, which includes the executive search team, the campus2career team, and the learning and development team, to create strategies for recruiting, retention, and development of employees.
Mendoza is a proud immigrant from Honduras who grew up in the South Side of Chicago. Growing up, Mendoza recalls a few years where he was undocumented and the challenges that can arise from that experience.
“I was undocumented, and it took a couple of years for my grandmother to fix our papers,” he said.
As someone who was undocumented, Mendoza understands the significance of accurately portraying someone’s story, so others don’t misconstrue it. A negative narrative about undocumented immigrants can reach to the heart of a community and influence the ways they are marginalized.
Mendoza shared that move to NBCUniversal was validated when at the height of the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the company implemented a major shift to stop using the term “illegal alien” in favor of “undocumented immigrants.” Shifting the narrative resonated throughout the entire network and enabled NBCUniversal’s stories to humanize the immigrant experience.
“When you are talking about [D&I] success, they must be incorporated into the core of the company culture – it has to be in the DNA of the company,” he said.
NBCUniversal funnels several resources into their D&I initiatives and programs to make them as strong and effective as possible.
“It’s what sets us apart – most of our business units have dedicated D&I personnel who are assigned to different departments, be it film, entertainment, cable, news, parks, etc,” Mendoza explained.
As Mendoza looks to the future of D&I within NBCUniversal, he isn’t chasing the latest program trends. In the same vein as Apple, Mendoza is looking to improve on pre-existing programs to make them more effective.
“We don’t need shinier, new programs. We need to find out what and why something didn’t work in our strategy and focus on how to make them successful. We need to make the fundamentals (recruiting, promotion, development) more effective,” he said.
In his role, Mendoza is motivated by advocacy – he strives to be the best advocate he can be, not only for his family, but for his community, colleagues and company as well. Mendoza personally defines success as how fulfilled he is in his life.
“I realized early on that my purpose in life was to be an advocate. Find your purpose, whatever that means to you, and make sure you fulfill that mission.”