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HSF Leaders

Cristina Lourdes Santos

  • Gender: Female
  • University: University of Florida
  • Undergraduate Degree: Bachelors
  • Position Title: Head of Diversity, Inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and Total Well Being
  • Company: Sanofi N.A.
  • HSF Leadership Role: Member, HSF Advisory Council, New Jersey

Born in Florida, Christina Santos grew up knowing, “It was never a question IF I would go to college, rather what I would choose to study.” Her mother, a successful commercial real estate broker, and her father, the CEO of his architecture firm in South Florida, raised Christina and her younger sister to believe that education is integral to success.

She began her college studies at the University of Florida, where, she says, it took the first two years to clearly determine what she wanted to study, because there was so much that interested her. Once she settled on International Business, she made the decision to transfer to Florida International University, a smaller college that offered “a vibrant campus rich with varied perspectives,” where she completed her bachelor’s.

Today, she is the Head of Diversity, Inclusion, EEO and Total Well Being for Sanofi N.A., a global biopharmaceutical company committed to healthcare solutions, from prevention to treatment. She had begun her career in sales, marketing and training, but realizing that her passion was addressing the issue of inclusion, she transitioned to human resources, where she was able to focus on that.

She is pleased at what she’s been able to accomplish since joining Sanofi in 2017. “Leading my company to the first-ever placement on the Diversity Inc. Top 50, Top Company for Female Executives and the Best Companies for Dads (and other similar accolades) has exceeded my wildest expectations,” she said. She also describes the “thrill” of being asked to speak at large-scale, cross industry events. She has been earned distinctions for her achievements, including the Women of Color in Pharma’s 2018 Trailblazer Award.

More recently, she decided to invest in her own academic and personal development and completed a graduate certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University's School of Industrial Labor Relations. Now a certified advanced practitioner, she will be joining the faculty as a program facilitator in Spring 2020.

Outside of work, she is part of several professional organizations dedicated to creating a more inclusive workplace, including Gender Parity Collaborative, Women of Color in Pharma, and Disability:IN amongst others. She is also a board member of Junior Achievement of Central New Jersey and a member of Impact 100 Jersey Coast, a collective giving organization for women, where she serves on the scholarship committee.

In November 2019, she joined the HSF Advisory Council, New Jersey. Already a champion of HSF within her organization, she was impressed with the caliber of Scholars, as well as the programs offered by HSF. “HSF is the premiere organization investing in the education, development and network required to set Hispanic youth up for success in today's competitive environment,” she said.

Ana attributes her success to passion, tenacity, and the strong belief that anything is possible. She advises those about to start a professional career to remember, “There's no rule book anymore, things are constantly changing.” She further believes that to be successful as well as fulfilled, individuals need to marry their passion with their abilities and concludes, “We sometimes create boxes and pathways for ourselves that don't need to exist.”