Hispanic Heritage Month @ Moderna
National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the incredible impact of Hispanic Americans on our nation’s history, culture and achievements. The observance first started in 1968 as a one-week celebration, and later in 1988 expanded into a month-long celebration to better acknowledge and honor the significant influence of Hispanic Americans.
Our strength comes from our diversity, and we are committed to building a culture of inclusion and belonging for all. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help us build the most impactful version of Moderna, creating a strong sense of belonging and building trust with our communities.
UNIDOS, one of our ERGs, aims to foster a sense of community by promoting cultural awareness, growth and education throughout the organization by sharing the values and traditions of Hispanic and Latinx cultures.
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month and this year’s official theme (Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One), we’re proud to share stories and feature members of the Hispanic and Latino community at Moderna.
Román is our Senior Director for Commercial Alliances in Latin America. He received his Marketing Licentiate Degree from the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE), and later gained experience in marketing and business development across multiple therapeutic areas like oncology, hematology, immunology, infectious diseases, rare diseases, ophthalmology and vaccines.
In his current role, he’s responsible for managing and optimizing the value of Moderna’s product portfolio at all commercial stages of the lifecycle within Latin America. While Román is in constant contact with Latin America due to his job, he wishes that he had more time to take his family to “that wonderful part of the world.”
He was born and raised in Buenos Aires but has been living in the U.S. for more than 15 years with his wife and three children. In his free time, he plays and coaches soccer, watches movies and plays board games with his family or makes weekend breakfasts.
Román’s piece of advice to Hispanic and Latinx professionals derives from the well-known stoic phrase about luck. He says, “prepare yourself, seek for opportunities, visualize success and go for it.”
Loren is a Logistics Specialist in our facilities team and is responsible for arranging and monitoring all R&D shipments to help ensure all transactions are accurately and completely processed in the systems.
Originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, she was invited to play with the Puerto Rican Women’s Basketball Selection Team while in high school. When she visits Puerto Rico, one of her favorite places to go is Rincon to see the sunsets. Her grandma’s cooking, the beautiful beaches and the year-round warmth of the island are a few things she misses about Puerto Rico.
Her advice to Hispanic and Latinx professionals: “Failure is never an option. We are used to associating failure with something that is to be avoided or as a flaw. However, it should be seen as the fire to fuel the pursuit of creative and innovative thinking.”
Charlene Rincon is the Director of High Throughput Operations and part of our technical development operations team. She leads the team responsible for end-to-end high throughput production supplying materials that fuel Research and Development activities across Moderna.
Originally born in Puerto Rico, she has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech and has been in the biotech industry since 2008. She believes the key to transforming and improving patient experiences is listening and learning about their challenges firsthand, which she says has been one of the highlights of her career.
She currently lives with her husband and two boys. As a family, they love to travel, ski and go to the beach. They’ve done a lot of exploring on the west coast and are now exploring the east coast and all the beauty it has to offer. She misses her family in Puerto Rico, and she is reminded of the amazing music and how warm and lively the people are whenever she goes back to visit them.
Her advice to young Hispanic and Latinx professionals is to network! She says, “Even if you are still in school and not actively looking for a job you should try to create relationships. Rarely will someone say they don’t have time. Most people want to share their experience and give back the mentorship that helped get them to where they are today. ”
Dr. Rolando Pajon, a Cuban-born scientist with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from University of Havana, is our Medical and Scientific Director for Latin America.
Rolando started as a scientist in vaccine research but soon moved into development, clinical evaluation and licensing of vaccines and immunotherapies. He has led diverse teams, some as big as 80 members, across different countries, time zones and organizations.
In his free time, Rolando likes to dance salsa or reggaeton, and cook. One of his favorite cuisines to cook is traditional Cuban food like roasted meat, black beans, white rice and deep-fried plantains. His culinary skills are well-known among his family and friends, where he's famous for whipping up a delicious, deep-fried turkey on Thanksgiving – a tradition that everyone loves!
Rolando dreams of bringing Hispanic and Latin American countries and colleagues to the forefront of scientific innovation, and notes that “it is a continent full of promise!” His advice for Hispanic and Latinx professionals is, “In the Hispanic/Iberic and Latin American world, we are as diverse and unique as each grain of sand in the sea, but we are also connected. Always remember that we have more things in common, things that unite us, than not. Bring togetherness everywhere you go and never give up on your goals... Pa’tra ni pa coger impulso.”
Andrés Bretón is a Principal Platform Software Engineer on our Informatics Architecture team.
Hailing from Cali, Colombia, Andrés studied Microbiology at the University of Florida, pursued a Master's in Bioinformatics at Northeastern University, and earned a second Master's in Software Development from Boston University. For the past four years at Moderna, he has been instrumental in the design and construction of the infrastructure and software tools that our R&D Digital department relies on to create our internal digital applications.
Andrés, along with his wife, embarked on their first climbing journey on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park at midnight on New Year's Eve, amidst an unexpected snowstorm. It proved to be their most memorable experience! When he is not climbing, Andrés creates projects with IoTs (Internet of Things) and automates everything he can.
His advice to Hispanic and Latinx professionals is, “Pursue your dreams tenaciously and don't let anything stop you from achieving them. The efforts can be uncomfortable, but that's where strength is built.”
Each profile embodies the spirit of “We Are All, We Are One,” showing how our different experiences enrich our workplace and community. Thank you for joining us in honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and taking part of our shared journey to create a workplace where everyone belongs.
Moderna is committed to advancing an important mission to deliver the greatest possible impact to people through mRNA medicines, but we’re also committed to belonging, inclusion and diversity and creating an environment where everyone can do their best work. Check out our careers page to find your next opportunity and learn more about life at Moderna.