Norma Padron, founder and CEO of EmpiricaLab, has lived in various cities and countries over the past ten years. Throughout the time she spent in different locations and cultures, one thing has remained constant: her ability to connect with fellow Latinos and grow the communities she’s lived in. At EmpiricaLab, she has been able to create a more inclusive culture as the company transforms how healthcare teams collaborate, train, and work.
Padron shares those efforts and more with The Alumni Society, including the importance of community involvement, mentorship and belonging.
What do you do today?
I am the founder and CEO of EmpiricaLab. We are transforming how healthcare teams collaborate, train, and work.
What was your biggest professional accomplishment over the past year?
In the last twelve months, my team and I launched our first MVP (summer 2022), secured our first pilot, completed Techstars’ accelerator program, and were selected to the Mount Sinai Innovation Partners incubation program. Without a doubt, my most significant accomplishment was launching my company as a solo founder.
How has your identity and your connection to your culture evolved as your career has progressed?
Over the last decade, I’ve had the tremendous opportunity of living in twelve cities in four different countries. In every place I’ve been to, I have connected with fellow Latinos and built and grew the community. In workforce development in healthcare, it is essential to ensure that we foster an inclusive culture—my team and I work together to accomplish this.
What community involvement is important for you outside of your role? How have you seen your own community change during your career?
I’ve remained engaged through alumni associations from UTRGV (University of Texas Rio Grand Valley), Duke, and Yale, as well as local and community-based organizations. I’ve seen that on the professional and personal levels, building and strengthening my sense of belonging (to a city or a professional space) has been crucial in helping me feel confident when facing challenges.
The theme of this year’s Leadership Summit is Conexión: a reminder of the cultural connection that bonds Latinos and a call to embrace the exponential power we wield when we move as one. What does conexión mean to you and how has it helped you in your life and career?
Conexión is the power we bring as Latinos when we support each other. I’ve felt supported, embraced, and cheered on by my fellow Latinos and Latinas.
This is the first generation of Latinos who have the potential to see people that look like them in virtually every kind of role and leadership position. Many of us, and those who came before us, had to make our own way and find mentors who may not have shared our experiences. What does mentorship mean to you and how are you passing your own experiences forward?
I’ve written about this very issue. I believe that mentors within Latino communities can be powerful drivers of economic mobility. Helping us dare to do the things that we might not feel we can do—our mentors can help us believe in ourselves.