Get to know Heather!
Heather is passionate about DEI and empowering women and underrepresented groups to help them achieve their potential.
What is your name and what do you do in your company?
My name is Heather Luciano, and I am a Marketing Segment Lead at Digital Science, supporting the Government & Funders segment sales team in attracting and engaging with customers through cross-channel, cross-portfolio marketing activities and contributing to the strategic growth plans of the business. My job involves liaising between all of central marketing and our portfolio marketing teams, as well as the sales team I work with, in order to plan and execute aligned strategic and tactical marketing plans to meet high growth targets. I get to wear all hats in marketing, working through every channel, and with nearly every marketing or sales team across Digital Science, so no day is the same and there’s never a shortage of work to be done! Beyond my “day job” I’ve also recently been appointed as the Lead of the new Women @ Digital Science ERG.
Why is DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) an important topic of discussion?
When people feel supported, treated fairly, and represented in their work environment, research shows that they do better work (make better decisions, design better products, form stronger teams) and also stick around longer, so in my view, every company should be prioritizing DEI. Beyond the practical business case for it, though, I believe in investing in DEI at a philosophical/philanthropic level; throughout my career, I’ve taken on what I call “extracurricular” work on various nonprofit boards, industry committees, and other volunteering opportunities, mostly in support of women and girls, students in underserved communities, the BIPOC community, and the disability community because I truly believe that when we invest time and resource in making life accessible and equitable for others, we make life better for everyone. Diversity of ideas and opinions is more important than ever in our post-globalization, hyper-connected world and if we don’t make seats at the table for everyone, then we will fall short. A company can help to meet these goals through how it runs its own small corner of the world.
How do you experience the DEI culture at Digital Science?
The DEI culture in my company is heading in the right direction and still at a fledgling stage since we are such a young organization. Since I’ve been appointed as the Lead of the Women @ DS ERG, I’m also a part of our DEI Steering Committee and I am really proud to be involved in helping to define and shape our overall DEI strategy while also helping to launch our first ever ERGs. I’m excited for where we will be a year from now, and even further down the road now that we’ve put the right people and resources in place to execute on DEI. Beyond the structured approach to DEI, Digital Science’s culture is inclusive, supportive, tolerant, and deeply collaborative, so I think we are already living out many of the values of DEI without having had a formal structure for this previously. So, it will be great to see how we grow, evolve, and further solidify DS’s culture over time as being a place for everyone, where everyone’s contributions are valued and make us better as an organization, and therefore better able to support the research communities we serve.
Who empowers you?
I’m empowered by so many people I work with, and have worked with in the past, and luckily for me, my manager, David Parsons (Head of B2B Marketing), is both of those things since we’ve worked together at Elsevier before coming to Digital Science. He leads our Pride ERG at DS and therefore is fully supportive of my work with the Women @ DS group, and cares passionately about DEI, which helps me to prioritize that work and think beyond my “day job” at the company. I’m also empowered by some of the women’s organizations I work with outside of DS; I’m a Co-Lead of Jersey City Professional Women for Good, which is a Grapevine Giving Circle, and I also belong to the Scholarship and Fundraising Committees of Women’s Media Group. Not only do these groups connect me to a vast network of women outside of work and in my broader industry and community, but we also focus on DEI issues within those communities and uplifting people and groups around us. I bring that spirit into the work I do at Women @ DS and as a leader in my marketing role, and am always empowered by seeing others overcome the same or more challenging obstacles than I have, and persevering. I think women, for centuries, are the masters of “doing it all” and making it look easy (I know my own mother is a model of this) and I want the difference I make to be about empowering other women to do what they want (whether that’s “it all” or some other version of happiness they define for themselves) while having more supports in place to achieve anything they set their mind to.
What do you wish for the future in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion?
I hope the next generation is so much more attuned to DEI and just more diverse in general, that it just becomes intuitive and mainstream and we won’t have to think about policies for fair pay or nondiscriminatory hiring or creating a balanced leadership team, because these will all be the standard, not the exception or goal. I get heartened by trends I see with younger generations in their overwhelming support and understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, racial and cultural awareness and acceptance, and deep concern for equity in the law, at work, and in life, so I long for the day when all of the work we’re doing today is just a part of history to set up the world we’re hoping to realize.