From Iran to the U.S.: Samaneh’s Journey to Leadership and Advocacy at Kimberly-Clark
Meet Samaneh M., Kimberly-Clark's strategic business initiatives manager for Global Wipers. She is a leader dedicated to promoting inclusion, equity and diversity within Kimberly-Clark and empowering Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AANHPI) employees.
Growing up in Iran, next to the Caspian Sea, Samaneh dreamed of living where she could be her true self and express who she is.
"In 2012, I immigrated to the United States with two suitcases and a heart filled with love and the mind to live life abundantly," Samaneh says.
When Samaneh came to the U.S. and stepped into the corporate world, she was very persistent and eager to drive results, go fast, and win. However, her journey into leadership wasn’t without adversity.
"As an immigrant with an accent, I found it hard to encounter the look on people's faces when they were trying to figure out what I was saying," Samaneh says.
But Samaneh didn't let that stop her from achieving her goals. In fact, she’s turned this challenge into a strength by using more pauses in her speech to gather her thoughts and choosing simple words to convey her message more clearly.
Samaneh also attributes her professional success to the advice and support she received from her mentors.
“The feedback I received early on was you are driving so many results, but you are wanting to win every and all battles.” Samaneh recalls. "When I accepted this, it became a revolutionary moment in my career.”
Samaneh continues, "Finding the right balance was challenging for me early on, but with the help of my mentors and practicing self-awareness, I improved my soft skills and leadership skills."
Since joining Kimberly-Clark in 2017, Samaneh has been deeply committed to developing, supporting and advocating for other AANHPI employees. As the former chair of the Asian Professionals for Excellence employee resource group (APEX), Samaneh is helping to give AANHPI employees a voice and visibility throughout the company, empowering them with the tools they need to succeed. From targeted development programs to events focused on breaking Asian stereotypes, APEX is making a difference in the lives of AANHPI employees at Kimberly-Clark.
"APEX has been an excellent advocate for our AANHPI employees by promoting cultural awareness and understanding of critical issues we face," Samaneh says.
At Kimberly-Clark, promoting inclusion, equity and diversity doesn't start or stop with one employee resource group - it’s about creating a culture of understanding and support throughout the entire organization, which is the responsibility of all team members.
"Learn about the struggles of AANHPI employees, reach out, listen, embrace, develop, and repeat the cycle," Samaneh encourages.
Together, Kimberly-Clark is building a better, more inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.