Growing up in Medellin, Colombia, Angela Nieto didn't know much about John Deere outside its leaping deer logo. She had no experience with agriculture.
It was a desire to study abroad that brought Nieto to the U.S. and eventually to work at John Deere, where she is now a business unit leader at John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny, Iowa.
Throughout her career, Nieto has looked for opportunities to help fellow employees who are going through a similar life change—moving to the U.S. in pursuit of a career.
"I believe everyone should have equal opportunities, which motivates me to spend time helping develop Hispanic and Latino men and women," Nieto said.
Nieto is a mentor to many of her fellow Hispanic employees. In 2018, she was named Manager of the Year by the national Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for her excellence in managing culturally diverse teams. The list of professional organizations she belongs to and helps steer, like SHPE and the Society of Women Engineers (among others), has continued to grow throughout her career.
One of Nieto's mentees, Camile Colon, a quality engineer at Des Moines Works, said Nieto was instrumental in helping with her transition when she moved from her native Puerto Rico to Iowa.
"She helped me adapt to the new environment and the John Deere culture," Colon recalled. "Angela went out of her way to introduce me to new people and made sure I had everything I needed to be successful. I really appreciate her willingness to provide guidance and constructive feedback. I am very grateful for all she has done to help me be successful in my career."
Nieto said she's never forgotten the support she received as a new employee with a different cultural background than many of her American peers.
"I feel I have an obligation to pay it forward and help other employees succeed just as I was supported," she said. "I've always felt the responsibility to be a role model to others."