Leadercast’s Diana Trujillo on Determination

Born in Colombia, Diana Truijillo grew up in a very traditional home, where a woman was expected to get married, have children and take care of the household… not build robots aimed to prove whether or not life has ever existed on Mars. Diana is an aerospace engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she leads the engineering team responsible for the robotic arm of the Perseverance rover

Her career path defies many of the expectations that were placed on her as a Colombian woman. In fact, those misplaced expectations have served as a driver for her to reach her dreams. After three generations of women in her family set their ambitions aside to tend to their households, Diana set out to prove to the men in her family that women can do more than they think. “What is the hardest thing that a human can do?” she shared in a 2021 interview. “I’m going to do that.”

Determination is the fuel of a leader’s success. Without determination, nothing comes to fruition. Goals and strategies are merely plans if there is no drive to achieve them. When Diana came to the U.S. at the age of 17, speaking no English and with only $300 to her name, her head was filled with fear. She did not know whether she would eat or have shelter each day, but her determination to achieve her dreams far outweighed the fears she endured. Diana worked around the clock as a maid to put herself through community college, learning English along the way and eventually transferring to the University of Florida to pursue aerospace engineering. Now, she works for NASA and has two rover missions (Curiosity and Perseverance) under her belt. 

Without determination, leaders and their teams remain stagnant. You cannot achieve your ambitions without a determined mindset. That’s why at Leadercast 2022—The One Thing, taking place May 4 at PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION in Newport, Kentucky, Diana will discuss determination as the one thing you need in your leadership to be successful in anything you do. She will be joined by nine fellow leaders all answering the same question: “What is the one thing that makes a leader worth following?” 

Diana is married with two children in addition to her career at NASA. She wanted to build a life where she could have everything—both the family and the career. “I wanted to live a life where everything that I have in my heart I can put out there and nail it,” she said at a conference in 2019. “It is up to you and to God to define who you are and who you are to become, nobody else.”

Do you have the determination it takes to reach your dreams? Be inspired by Diana’s story and her determination to reach for the stars at Leadercast 2022—The One Thing. Attend live on May 4 in Newport, Kentucky (conveniently located minutes from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio), or virtually at select locations around the globe.

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Hayley Panagakis

Hayley Panagakis is a freelance writer, editor and content creator. Connect with her on LinkedIn and visit her website at hayleypanagakis.com to learn more about her services.

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