Dr. Natalie Hernandez is determined to bring awareness to a number of public health issues in an effort to educate people in her community. Rolling out spoke with Hernandez about how her educational and life experiences have helped her become the woman she is today and how she uses those experiences to move the community forward.
As a woman of color, what do you consider your superpowers to be?
Vision, empathy, humility, optimism, integrity, gratitude, tenacity, adaptability and endurance.
What key skills make you unique as a female leader?
I am a relatable, compassionate, creative and trustworthy woman. I stand up for what I believe in by being bold in my stance and actions. I am unafraid to show my vulnerabilities. I always speak from my heart by expressing my hopes and even my weaknesses. I am a genuine woman and have persevered through many obstacles.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
You belong! Don’t let anyone discourage you or tell you otherwise.
Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Our voices matter, and they are important. We have been serving and leading with distinction in challenging environments in this country for many years. Women of color have the competencies, strengths and unique experiences that create change.
If you could thank any Black woman historymaker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
I would like to thank Byllye Avery, a leader who has worked to improve overall wellness and access to reproductive health care for Black women for over 40 years. Her innovative practices regarding reproductive justice and self-care have made significant impacts on Black women’s health.
Why is it important for more seasoned and experienced women of color to reach back and help younger women of color?
We need to pay it forward because no one will do it for us. We are the ones that need to recognize, support and develop the strengths and talents of younger women of color.
What three success habits do you implement in your daily routine to maintain your success and peace of mind?
God, family and friends. I surround myself with those I love and love me in return.
As a successful woman in business, what is your proudest achievement?
I am proud of the 15 years of developing community partnerships and implementing research projects that advance health equity among racial and ethnic minorities. I am also proud of the current work my colleagues and I are doing to combat disparities in maternal mortality and maternal mental health issues among Black women.