The need for inclusion came from my first-hand experiences as an Iranian-born, French-raised and educated immigrant who became an American citizen right after 9/11. I got the amazing opportunity to successfully climb the corporate ladder and thrive through the tough world of C-Suite executive leadership, thanks to my differences and not despite them.
But my journey has been full of obstacles that brought about key learnings & breakthroughs which shaped not only who I am as a person, but also how I operate today as a certified Cultural Transformation and Diversity & Inclusion expert and consultant.
The need for “fitting in” started very early in my U.S. professional career. One of my first moves was to change my foreign-sounding first name -Mehrnaz- to one that sounded more “native” to help me land a corporate job in line with my post-master graduate degree I had proudly obtained from one of the most reputable business universities in France. That’s when I became Mona and started having a dual identity. My social identity was based on my original name that everyone in my family and close friends who had known me since birth knew me as. And my professional identity became related to the name I was known as amongst my colleagues, within my work environment and industry. This move definitely helped me get a foot in the corporate door. However, it was the massive efforts to continuously learn broadly, perform better, work more and achieve higher goals that helped me become more visible and advance in my career.
Through this process, I also had an epiphany: my differences could also be my biggest assets. My multilingualism and multi-culturalism provided me an extraordinary advantage and a natural talent in the international business world. As such, I spent half of my career successfully building and launching global brands & product lines as well as opening and expanding markets across the globe, from Asia, to Europe to Latin and North Americas.
Shortly after, two huge realizations shifted my perspective and enabled me to take my career to the next level. First, it became clear to me that I had been fortunate to work for leaders who hired me not just to be a “diversity element” part of team but most importantly, they gave me a role that provided me full ability to play in the field and be part of “the game”. The second, more profound but equally important was that, relatedness, connection, and compassion are foundational values that unite people who are different and build and fuel trust & empowerment. These created a key turning point in influencing me to become an Inclusive leader. As such, in several C-Suite executive roles over the past 12 years, I was able to sustainably turn around multi-million dollar private and public companies through Culture, Leadership and Business Transformation. I also received several global industry and national recognitions that acknowledged not only my professional achievements as a woman but also celebrated me as a champion of Diversity & Inclusion.
In parallel, like many women, I also struggled throughout the years to not threaten my hard-obtained growing career with my strong and longing desire of becoming a mother. After having abandoned the idea of ever becoming parents naturally and to my husband’s and my delight and surprise, when we found out I am pregnant and gave birth a month shy of my 46th birthday, at the height of my career, a new chapter started for me as a woman, a professional and a new mother. The year after my daughter was born, as the glass ceiling, diversity “wall”, life priorities, and new responsibilities all converged together simultaneously, I realized that I had now a new sense of purpose and could add value in a different way than before from a career perspective.
By using my first-hand experiences in truly transforming companies through inclusive, authentic and thriving cultures paired with financial and business turn arounds, I now partner with organizations to create sustainably thriving businesses that provide a true sense of belonging to all their participants and stakeholders and consistently achieve the triple bottom line.
"I got the amazing opportunity to successfully climb the corporate ladder and thrive through the tough world of C-Suite executive leadership, thanks to my differences and not despite them."
Graciela has 16 years of success spearheading Strategic Business Development in Beauty, Jewelry & Health & Wellness. As a bicultural and bilingual Executive, she applies coveted knowledge in helping organizations create inclusive strategies to drive increased market share from both Corporate and Consumer perspectives.
Balmori comes from a successful 40+ year family legacy of LatAm Entrepreneurs. She has a global acumen in Sales, Marketing and Business Strategies with a proven track record in Full Potential Leadership Development and has a demonstrated ability to increase sales by identifying & aligning desired cultural values and key business drivers.
Balmori was the first in her family to graduate from college, she is a mother to 7 children, and is a highly skilled multi-faceted Partner that leads with purpose, passion, humility, and global awareness.
As a Latina Executive who has held a seat at the table, she now lives her life by paying it forward. She has helped 100s of women feel inspired to dream bigger by tapping in to their cultural assets and what they are innately capable of accomplishing to gain more socioeconomic capital and decision making power.
She served as Director of Sales for Belcorp USA, where she spent 4 years and contributed to a sales growth of 114%. Most recently consulted for Optavia/Medifast, where she helped attract consumers and develop successful Latino Business Entrepreneurs which helped contribute to its current 250%+ growth.
Graciela is a graduate from U.C. Berkeley, CA with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications.
Senior Fellow Graduate from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley
Recently featured on trendylatina.com and motherhood.com