Nataly: Software Executive Leading with Spanish
Professionals across industries and skill levels are sharing the value of language learning
Meet Nataly—a Vice President at public software company HubSpot.
Language learning is helpful at all levels, because it helps you see things in a different way, developing empathy for people from different backgrounds.
Grew Up In: Mason City, Illinois
College: Wartburg College (IA)
Majors/Minors: Spanish & Intercultural Communication
Study Abroad: Three semesters in Ecuador
Additional Experience: Fulbright scholar (sociolinguistics); court-certified interpreter (Spanish)
How do you use your language skills in you work/career?
I’m an executive leading a large, global team at HubSpot, a large public software company with more than 7,000 employees and 150,000 customers in more than 120 countries. My team consists of localization specialists for various languages, project managers, technologists, and other roles. Together, we localize HubSpot software, websites, and other online experiences into many languages. I’ve also led international expansion initiatives and operations at the same company, and I share lessons learned on my blog, Born to be Global.
What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?
One major misconception is that you have to learn a language fluently for it to have any professional value. Language learning is helpful at all levels, because it helps you see things in a different way, developing empathy for people from different backgrounds. Diversity of thinking is hugely valuable in any business setting. Each bit of language knowledge enables us to relate more to colleagues and customers from an array of backgrounds.
Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?
When I was attending college in Iowa, I spoke Spanish constantly with my friends from Latin America, and rarely spent time with people who weren’t from other countries. One day, a student in the computer lab asked me a question (in English). After I answered, he said, “Wow, your English is really good!” He had assumed I was an international student because he had only heard me speaking Spanish previously. I said, “Thanks! Yours is too.”
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