What is your personal and professional identity? How do you view yourself?
I’m Candace Nevarez, and I am a Talent Partner at Artium. I’m also a mother and an active member of my community. I’ve been in the talent space for 15 years. I started this journey because I love people; people are my passion. I love learning about what someone wants from their life and career, what drives them, and how I can be a part of their growth.
I started my career in hospitality. I learned so much about serving people and how to take care of them. I shifted into the nonprofit space to give back to my community in a meaningful way. I worked with autistic children and also supported adults with disabilities. Through all of this, I came to understand that what I valued most was humanity. This value was what brought me to Artium. In my role, I can be an advocate for women in tech.
Tell us about the first time you became aware of your gender in the work environment.
I became aware of my gender in the workplace once I became a mother. As a mom, you are the caregiver. I still wanted to help people through my work, but I had a new commitment at home; this was jarring at first. I remember commuting home one day and expressing to a coworker how hard doing both was. She said, “It’s not fair for a woman, but now you have to work hard to find balance.” That day I decided I was going to be an advocate for mothers. Working in people operations and talent, I can do that.
What are the ways you have had to change your movement throughout your career based on how your actions will be received?
The main thing was the balance between being a mom and my career. Either you’re going to burn yourself out, or you’re going to find a way to make it work and be happy. It worked out for me, and I’m very thankful it did, but those decisions are really tough.
Women are naturally the caregivers; we take on that responsibility. There are some things like nursing that we have to do. Luckily, Artium has been amazing with this, our kids are celebrated when they show up on a Zoom, but I still struggle with it. I am lucky; I have a fulfilling career and get to be a part of my kids’ lives. A lot of women still don’t have that.
What are some actions, big or small, that you believe empower women and impact the existing disparity?
Having comprehensive maternity and paternity leave is something that can make a huge difference. With FMLA, you have 12 weeks before you have to go back to work. A 12-week baby is still so small and young to be leaving. I remember the first day I left my son. It was painful and almost traumatic to leave your baby with a caregiver.
The other valuable thing is having your job be a supportive community. When I had my second child, I was new to my job at the time. I reported to the CFO and was nervous to tell him I was pregnant. When I did, he was so supportive. My wish is that all leaders can celebrate and support their employees in times like that and understand that life will pause. They can be a community to help support their people to be happy in their lives, both personally and professionally.
What is something that you want to leave people with?
As a Talent Partner and someone who has worked in People Operations, if I can help someone, I’m going to do it—especially moms and women in general. At the end of the day, that’s why I do what I do. The best part about my job are the moments when I have an impact on someone’s life. If you take care of your people, you are taking care of your company; they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The companies that get that right are the ones that win.