Name: Dalia A. Irigoyen
Profession/Industry: Human Resources
Current U.S. Position and Company Name: HR Generalist at Jannus, Inc.
Country of Origin: Mexico
Education: MA in Human Resources Management, University of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; BA in Human Resources, Instituto Tecnológico de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México;
First Job in U.S.: Human Resources Generalist at Jannus, Inc.

I met Dalia at a coffee shop on a busy corner in Meridian on a Saturday morning. As I was waiting (I always allow too much time to get anywhere and am early as a result) I couldn’t help but think how intimidated I might be driving in a country I was still somewhat new to, to meet someone I’d never met before, so they could interview me in a language I was still learning, so they could tell my story. And then I tried to imagine that intimidation from the perspective of a Mexican woman in the USA in 2017.  I know I failed at the attempt.

Dalia, like the last person I interviewed, is not a refugee. She did not flee her country. It’s important to note that for two reasons. One, it’s indicative of the fact that Global Talent Idaho doesn’t focus solely on refugees. They provide invaluable services to a variety of internationally educated and trained professionals. The second reason I think it’s important, is to point out that we have many people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, with advanced degrees, who came here eager to contribute to an economy that’s struggling to find enough skilled employees, and yet they still have a hard time getting jobs in their fields.

Dalia got her Master’s Degree in Human Resources in Chihuahua, Mexico. After successful stints at Pepsi and a sub-contractor for Toyota, she spent 10 years at FWF de México (heavy equipment component manufacturer for Caterpillar and Holland Hitch), leading teams to develop continuous improvement programs and policies that helped the company scale from 40 to 250 employees, achieve 100% HR and Safety compliance and improve productivity. After those 10 successful years she left Mexico to move to Lyon, France with her husband and two children where they lived for 5 years. As a precursor to what she’d face here, she struggled to find work in her chosen field and took a job teaching and interpreting Spanish. In the end, another job opportunity for her husband brought them to Meridian, Idaho.

Lacking strong English and an understanding of the job seeking culture in the US, Dalia took English classes at CWI while her children were in school. She credits those classes with a tremendous improvement in her job-specific English language skills. And, it was there that she learned about Global Talent Idaho (GTI).

Dalia greatly appreciates the skills training GTI provided, including online and in-person training to develop a US-style professional resume and cover letter, interview preparation, networking and marketing yourself skills, and help with online job searches and applications. I confirmed with Dalia that in Mexico, just like in most of the other countries Boise’s refugee and immigrant populations comes from, the process of getting a job is very different than it is here. So, these trainings, which also included mock interviews and networking events, were tremendously important. GTI staff also helped Dalia research U.S. Employment Law to improve her chances of finding a job in Human Resources.

“GTI was a fantastic opportunity to understand how the job search works in the U.S., to learn more about U.S. culture, tips on how to market myself, and the certain formalities before and after an interview. The mock interviews at the Career Summit in which I participated helped me to be better prepared for the job search and understand the U.S. job interview versus the Mexican job interview.”

She is also benefitted from GTI’s business conversation class through a partnership with Burlington English and just finished a six-week Advanced Workplace English class.

“Being part of GTI’s English classes with Esther Hamm, Carol Doyle, Doreen Aune and the rest of the volunteer team was very useful. Thank you for your advice and tips, and for the professional vocabulary around the HR profession. Thanks for your professionalism and for being such incredible volunteers with the sense of helping immigrants that come to the U.S. looking for news opportunities. Not only did I improve my English skills, but now I also have valuable friends like Denise Caruzzi and Connie Buckley.”

Dalia’s hard work, determination and training paid off and she is now an HR Generalist, supporting the HR functions for a workforce of approximately 130 employees at GTI’s parent organization, Jannus, a non-profit that operates more than 20 diverse programs across Idaho. Jannus is clearly lucky to have Dalia as an employee, just like we are all lucky to have her here in our community.

Story written by Keith York, Global Talent Idaho Volunteer