Unida – Top highlights from the event

As part of NuVasive’s ongoing commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, we hosted Unida, our first-ever, virtual event celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month. Throughout the month, we led a two-part program bringing awareness and recognition for the Hispanic community to both Shareowners and college students affiliated with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). The purpose of the event was to bring visibility to the Hispanic community and unite Hispanic professionals in science and technology.


The first part of the program was dedicated to giving Shareowners the opportunity to hear from one of our own Hispanic leaders in the field. More than 150 Shareowners tuned-in to hear a keynote presentation with renowned surgeon Dr. Juan Uribe, chief of the division of spinal disorders, Volker Sonntag chair of spine research, and vice chairman of neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Uribe spoke about his Hispanic identity, the importance of his Colombian roots, and about what it means to be a Hispanic leader and innovator in healthcare. Shareowners learned how he’s found success by leaning into his Hispanic identity and his roots throughout his career. He said, “Use your differences to your advantage to go further. We as Hispanics are very resilient, the more you challenge us, the more we give you. Never forget your roots because that’s what makes you, you!”

“It was a really meaningful experience listening to Dr. Uribe speak about his Hispanic heritage and how it has influenced not only his identity, but his career growth as surgeon in the United States. As a naturalized citizen, I found it inspiring to gain insight into his Columbian roots and how he, through his incredible work ethic, has been able rise to the top of his field in the United States. How Dr. Uribe interacts with his patients was enlightening and he is a great example to all of us of our diverse surgeon partners we have the opportunity to work with every day.”

-Mark Singer, Strategic Business Development and Capital Sales VP, Unida participant


The following week, we hosted the second part of the program which was a career panel for SHPE college students facilitated by some of our NuVasive leaders. Planned in partnership with the University of California San Diego’s SHPE chapter, the goal was to give students a chance to learn how to be successful in STEM and start a career as a new engineer. Unida event executive sponsors Lucas Vitale, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Matt Harbaugh, Chief Financial Officer, kicked off the event with an overview on NuVasive, and helped introduce the breakout sessions speakers.

The breakout sessions included: “Starting your STEM career in medical device” led by development engineers Carlos Castaneda and Garrett Mikels; “Breaking barriers as a woman in STEM” led by Ana Monterrubio, Software Development Manager; and “Bridging the relationship between marketing and IT operations” led by Albert Cornejo, Leader for Biologics and Cervical, and Aviva McPherron, Chief Information Officer for IT. Throughout the presentations, the speakers had key pieces of advice to share with the students:


“When you’re first starting out, building that trust as a new employee and establishing yourself is key. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have to collaborate with team members cross-functionally. It will allow you to get involved in projects that you’re interested in and help you find your passion.”

-Carlos Castaneda


“You don’t have to change your personality to thrive in a role, be aware of your weaknesses, but always play into your strengths. Know that you bring a lot of value to your company.”

-Ana Monterrubio

“Just be yourself, you don’t have to play outside yourself in order to succeed in your role. Don’t change who you are fundamentally.”

-Albert Cornejo


The presentations were followed by a Q&A session where students had the opportunity to engage with the speakers and learn more about how to start their careers in STEM.

Through events like Unida, we are working toward fostering a culture of inclusion by recognizing and hearing from our diverse community of voices to learn more about our unique and collective experiences. Click here to listen to some of our own Shareowners share how their Hispanic identities have shaped the people they are today.


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