Employee Spotlight - Cayetana Navarro

December 31, 2020
What is your current role at Yale University?
I’m the Deputy Director of Operations in the School of Medicine’s Office of Communications. 
What are your main responsibilities?
The Operations team directly supports all of YSM/YSPH’s website building & editing, branding & graphics, and photography. In addition, we are involved in various capacities with the Office of Communication’s publishing and technology activities. I work with the Director to ensure all that work gets done and done well!
What do you like most about your work?
As an undergrad, I was a double-major in International Relations and French Studies at Wesleyan University. I thought I was going to have a career in the Foreign Service. As so often happens in life, that isn’t exactly how things worked out. But what I have found over time, is that interest in diplomacy has landed me in positions like my current one where I get to sit down with people who have lots of different ideas about what they want and I help figure out how to get them what they need.  
How does your job affect your general lifestyle?
Not totally sure how to answer this. It…doesn’t? I will say, I’m almost always thinking about my job, in the sense that it requires a lot of introspection and figuring out how to handle various situations.
How did you begin your career?
Remember the game, Chutes & Ladders? That’s my career! I started out, as I mentioned, with a double major meant to get me into international relations in some capacity but after a semester in Paris, as much as I loved it, decided bouncing all over the world wouldn’t be my cup of tea.  So, ironically, I took a job in medical records in an HMO. I first discovered my interest in operations and trying to do things efficiently in that job.  I left that for an administrative job in a real estate property management company where I learned more about business and operations. From there, I jumped to financial services where I ran a small central administrative services unit before shifting gears entirely and taking a junior business analyst role where I got to hone my research and writing skills. 
Post 9/11, we moved down to DC where I took a position in a small consulting firm. I started my foray into the web world when I was put in charge of two websites for the US Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. I learned quite a bit about the web while also increasing my depth of knowledge in business management and analysis work. That was when I decided to go back to school and got an MBA in management information systems from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.  
My husband was in medical school at the same time and once it was time to start thinking about residency, I asked that we go back somewhere in New England and that’s how we ended up at Yale. After about four years working remotely, including a couple of years doing my own independent consulting work, and picking up a certification as a Project Management Professional, I decided to take a look at Yale. That was back in 2011, when I started as a Web Project Manager, and I’ve been here ever since!
What steps would you recommend one take to prepare to enter this field?
For my current specific position, I’d suggest a combination of education and work experience in project management, knowledge management, and business administration. An MBA would be super helpful but really plenty of experience working on projects and managing a team will also give you the foundation you need.
What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
Communication, communication, communication! And by communication, I mean both listening and speaking. In addition, being a clear and concise writer will help you in those challenging situations where you need to convince or at least influence your boss, some other decision maker, or even a group of people. If you’ve ever had an interesting in teaching or been an educator, that will help to as you often spend a lot of time giving people information in an educational type format.
If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
To be honest, yes, I’d do it all the same. I don’t think I’d be nearly as effective as I am without such a wide range of experiences, in terms of jobs and industries! A lot of times, I didn’t necessarily think I was learning in some the situations I’ve found myself in over the years, but then I would have an opportunity to apply that experiential learning to something similar and think, ‘Oh…that’s what that taught me!’
What does YLNG mean to you and how have you contributed as a member?
I’ve been involved in YLNG off-and-on for a number of years and I’ve really appreciated the opportunities to connect with other Latinx people at Yale. The tattoo I have and the artist I used are thanks to a chance encounter with someone at a YLNG event! I have to say that the opportunities to enjoy awesome food and drink have been terrific too.  That’s definitely something I miss because of the pandemic. And right now, I’m participating in a joint YLNG/LGBTQ affinity group book club that’s been wonderful!