Agnes: Oh well, Ixchelle. It was really hard. OK, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, right, my entire life. When I moved, I already had north of 20 years or so in the industry. So I was an adult, a very mature adult, when I moved from our tropical island into Massachusetts. OK, so for starters, it was a thermal shock.
Ixchelle: For sure.
Agnes: And that was that was 15 years ago. So it was indeed a thermal shock, but also culturally, very, very different. Look, the day I discovered that hugging people wasn’t a universal way of saying good morning, was another shock. As a fellow Puerto Rican, you know what I’m talking about, and probably for people listening to us from different cultures. And please don’t take me wrong, I greatly appreciate it. I enjoyed the diversity and but it was important for me to pause and learn about that difference so that I could come across, right. I came, I joined AstraZeneca at that time, back in, 15 years ago as a senior director role. So I needed to come, be able to come through, be able to connect the right way with members of my team. And if hugging was going to be a problem, of course, I needed to adapt. So it was different, but it was something that made me grow tremendously, that allowed me to value and appreciate the circumstances. They were extremely patient with me. So the other thing, Ixchelle, that was very different. You know, working for pharma industry and medical, in medical healthcare industry, for as I said, 20 years in Puerto Rico, business was conducted in English. So I didn’t have any problems to write a very formal memo or a technical report, or even to communicate in a presentation in a very effective way. But when I started to speak from the heart, I stumble with words, because my, my native language and when I speak from the heart, it comes across in Spanish. So that was another area that I had to adapt, that I had to learn. And look, I am very grateful about the people that were around me, because the patience that they displayed, made a whole difference. So that’s why I think we owe that to others, right.
Ixchelle: Thank you, thank you so much. And I feel, I feel somehow connected with you, in that sense, you know, as soon to be also a full time, a full timer at Abbott. Now, I’ll be moving to mainland United States too, so I definitely feel connected, you know. As a born and raised, Puerto Rican, just like you, one of the most important things for me is my culture. And that includes my Spanish, of course. And, you know, moving away from one’s community can be really scary, a little bit scary. So do you have any advice for me, and for those who find themselves or soon will be in that same path?
Agnes: I do, Ixchelle. And, as I said, I owe that as part of my journey to our colleagues and people around us. Look, the first thing to acknowledge is, it is a very personal journey. Everyone is very individual, is going to be very specific. Some people are going to have some challenges and others are going to have different challenges. But I will gladly and humbly share what I think was the key for my success. And it wasn’t easy at the beginning. But the key for my success was to truly genuinely embrace my uniqueness. Accept that it is OK to be different. Don’t be afraid to talk with an accent. I do have an accent. You don’t have an accent, Ixchelle. I don’t know, where do you learn your English? I do have an accent. And if you were to speak with my children, they didn’t, right, because it’s generational. But I embraced it. And once I reconciled that in my mind and in my heart, it freed me to be myself. It allowed me to truly contribute. Because I did brought a wealth of knowledge, technically speaking, and I couldn’t, I couldn’t permit these differences to be a blocker, an inhibitor, for me to, to bring the best of me every day, to put myself out there, to learn. So again, my advice to everybody, no matter your differences, no matter your color, even if you’re from – you, look, look, the United States as a vast differences between territories. We’re different from the South, the North, the West, East, right. Embrace that difference, that uniqueness. Actually see the beauty of that diversity, because that’s the way we work at Abbott. That’s who we are at Abbott. That is a true reflection of who we are globally. We have, I have, members of my team, Ixchelle, that are based in India, which I appreciate tremendously in Latin America, in many parts of Europe, you know. So, we are a composition of very different people from different cultures, from different geographies, from different backgrounds, from different mindsets and technical knowledge. So once you embrace that, it’s, it’s really the, in my opinion, my humble opinion, the key to success.
Ixchelle: Thank you. I’ll definitely take that advice with me, for, I think, the rest of my career. Thank you so much, Agnes. So Agnes, I know that you have a background in science and many other professional experiences. Like you mentioned that you worked in AstraZeneca and now you’ve been working as divisional vice president of Global Compliance and Quality Operations for Abbott. Can you tell us about the professional qualification you’ve obtained and how it has helped you personally?