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Meet R/GA's Dani Herrera



Director, recruitment operations and ED&I at R/GA on striving for inclusivity and equity in everything she does

Meet R/GA's Dani Herrera

Dani Herrera (she/her/ella) is a recruitment, inclusion strategy, and people leader passionate about building cultures that attract and retain diverse talent, strategies that foster inclusivity and belonging; and processes that minimize biases.

Originally from Buenos Aires and now living in New York, she is the director, recruitment operations and ED&I at R/GA; a co-chair at R/GA's Latine Heritage ERG; and the awareness and advocacy founding partner at Allies in Recruiting. 

She has 15 years of overall Recruitment expertise, 10+ years of experience in Tech Recruitment and team leadership, and 5+ years of Intentional and Inclusive Recruitment experience. 

Dani’s purpose is to embed unbiased and inclusive practices into all talent attraction, interviewing, and hiring processes. She is a compassionate leader, with a dynamic, adaptable, data-driven, and detail-oriented style. Her bilingualism and fluency in English and Spanish allowed her to develop her experience in both LATAM and the US. 

She is an outspoken advocate for equality, equity, inclusion, and belonging and is known for identifying learning gaps and opportunities. 

Her background in talent attraction and retention, sourcing, recruitment strategies, tech recruitment, training and team, and people management - paired with deep knowledge and constant education in D&I- make her thrive on the intersection of inclusion + diversity + equity + recruitment + technology + advocacy + operations + strategy. 

Dani is a certified leader of diversity, equity, and inclusion (Northwestern University) and a certified diversity sourcing professional, among many other professional certifications.

She had the great privilege of speaking at various events, conferences, including “Lesbians Who Tech”; “Disrupt HR” and “Creative Week”.  Dani was also a featured mentor at SXSW. 

Dani grounded her advocacy efforts through learning and unlearning, mentoring underestimated talent, and sharing her knowledge with others, and is the proud creator of R/GA’s “Intentional and Inclusive Sourcing, Recruiting, and Networking Resources”, an internal database with 300+ sourcing, recruitment and talent resources for recruiters and hiring managers to utilise when engaging in a new talent attraction strategy.

In her spare time, you can find Dani reading sci-fi and fantasy books, cuddling with her cat, walking her dog, geeking out about words and language, or browsing numerous websites in search of her next floral midi dress.

Q> Tell me about your career. How did you end up where you are today?

Dani> I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Growing up, my family didn’t have much but they always insisted that I applied myself at school and made numerous sacrifices so I could take English classes and have access to better opportunities. The fact that I could speak a second language in a Spanish-speaking country, even without a college degree, gave me the privilege and opportunity to apply for roles that eventually led to my amazing career at R/GA.

By the time I stumbled upon my first recruiting role, back in 2006, I had already worked as a teacher of English, a bilingual Internet technical support specialist, and an executive assistant. 

In 2011, and after having worked for companies like Hewlett Packard and IBM, I joined R/GA Buenos Aires as the office’s first recruiter and (I think!) the 12th employee. My role was of course to hire all the talent they needed at the time and also to build their overall recruitment team, strategy, and practices. After a few years at R/GA Buenos Aires, I got offered the opportunity to transfer to New York to continue my career and focus on my true passion and purpose, the intersection of recruiting and diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging, and culture. Fast forward to today, I am now the Director of Recruiting Operations and ED&I as well as one of the co-chairs for SOMOS, R/GA’s Latine Heritage Culture Collective.

In addition to my work at R/GA, I’m also the Awareness and Advocacy Founding Partner at Allies in Recruiting, a volunteer group of 100+ advertising recruiting professionals looking to embed real, continuous, and lasting change in our industry. 

Q> What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

Dani> Diversity and inclusion work can sometimes be emotionally and energetically taxing. There’s so much work to do; so many people to educate; so many systems to deconstruct and rebuild that I sometimes forget that it is ok to focus on progress over perfection. 

So, whenever I feel the work is taking an emotional toll on me, at the personal level, I take a moment - or several - to recenter my focus on the system and process biases and identify new ways to collaborate, educate and support rather than polarize. 

Q> What drew you to ED&I work? How does your role help R/GA not just talk about but be about it? 

Dani> I feel that ED&I work has always been my purpose, even when I was living and working in Buenos Aires, where the diversity and inclusion conversation is just getting started. 

I personally strive for inclusivity and equity in everything I do and I bring that intentionality to work, every day. My role as Director of Operations and ED&I at R/GA has given me the opportunity to embed that intentionality into our recruiting practices and work towards processes that are unbiased as possible.

I’ve been given the space, the voice and the opportunity to review our practices, the language we use and the systems we have in place to identify improvement or learning/unlearning opportunities. Sometimes, it is truly about pausing a conversation and saying “we don’t use that language here” or “that is pretty biased” and sometimes it’s about identifying a major flaw in a process we’ve been following for years and finding a way to make it as inclusive as it can be. 

Q> How has your background and experience in the world shaped the way you recruit talent? 

Dani> For me, recruiting is about giving someone the opportunity to take a new role that will change their life or one aspect of it, even if temporarily. Sometimes, it just takes one person to really see you and your skills to make that happen. 

Coming from a “non-traditional background” myself, I personally understand that talent, experience, passion, and purpose can be found everywhere; not only within a very tiny and exclusive group of people who’ve won awards, gone to portfolio school, had a particular internship or an internal referral.

Q> What does the future of talent recruitment look like? Are there any innovative technologies and strategies that make things more equitable and inclusive? 

Dani> I believe the present state and future of recruitment are rooted in intentionality. It is about being intentional about the places you post your jobs, the networking sites you use to connect with talent, the events you attend, and the conversations you have. From the language we use, the accessibility of the platforms and systems, to the budget and time we allocate to all recruitment efforts it is also about bringing more people into the process. 

Yes, the role of the recruiter is to find and attract talent but recruiting is everyone’s responsibility. It is on the interviewers and the hiring managers as well! Intentional Recruiting is about training your hiring teams to be inclusive during their interviews, to identify their own biases, to ask job-related questions only, to write meaningful and useful feedback, and to take time to read a resume and identify transferable skills they can ask about during the interview. 

The future of recruitment is about inclusion and belonging first, recruiting second. 

Q> Can you recall a particular time when you had a strong win at work? 

Dani> Yes! This was about four years ago, along with Mike Elenterio (co-chair of R/GA’s LGBTQ Culture Collective), we insisted on adding our personal pronouns to our internal and external signatures and assigned one of R/GA’s restrooms as a gender-neutral bathroom. We presented our case to the R/GA NY Leadership team and they were quickly on board! 

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R/GA New York, Tue, 26 Oct 2021 08:38:48 GMT