Profiles of Hispanics at EPA: Sally Gutiérrez
Sally Gutiérrez, Director
Environmental Technology Innovation Cluster Development and Support Program,
EPA Office of Research and Development
Question: Where were you born?
Sally Gutiérrez: Houston, Texas.
Question: Where did you go to college? What was your major?
Sally Gutiérrez: I went to the University of Houston for my undergraduate degree. I majored in dietetics and human nutrition for undergraduate and pursued an advanced degree to improve my knowledge and skills in environmental science.
Question: What brought you to EPA?
Sally Gutiérrez: It was a strategic decision to come to EPA. Given my experience at the state level on water issues, I was very motivated to work on national water issues, and EPA was "the" place to pursue that goal.
Question: What kind of work do you do at EPA?
Sally Gutiérrez: I've been with EPA for nearly 17 years. I am responsible for leading a program that works with communities to solve water problems and create economic opportunity at the same time. These water technology innovation clusters are amazing community based collaborations of business, research and many other players. We have some 20 communities that are part of our growing water cluster leaders’ network. I also collaborate with water clusters all over the globe.
Question: What message would you like to send young Latinos who are considering going to college?
Sally Gutiérrez: There is a global movement to convert to green, knowledge-based economies. This conversion will require highly skilled scientific workers. Those who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math will be in high demand. It's a terrific career choice. In terms of words of wisdom, I urge young Latinos and other youth to never sell themselves short or doubt the importance of their views and contributions.
You need to continue to build on your education and, more importantly, don't forget that you need to develop important workplace skills beyond just your technical skills. Your professional expertise and technical knowhow will help you move up in organizations. But other workplace skills such as learning how to influence, advocate for your position, deliver exceptional results on budget and time, and effectively adapt to any agency's culture are the keys to your success.