She's on a mission.
Carmen Landa Middleton, the number four person on the Central Intelligence Agency's hierarchy, is the top Latina in that organization. Her assignments, posts and missions have led her all over the world during her 31 years with the CIA, but her latest venture could be the defining one of her storied career: Carmen uses her seniority to help support CIA's diversity and inclusion initiatives.
As the senior most Latino, she has been very proactive and visible in reaching out to the latino community to discuss opportunities at CLA, dispel misconceptions, and share her story about rising through the ranks to become the Deputy Executive Director of CIA.
As far as diversity is concerned - the CLA'S goal is to have a diverse workforce reflective of the US population. And that is precisely what Middleton intends to achieve by creating an awareness among Latinos that the CLA is a diversity friendly place.
The scarcity of Latinos runs across the federal workforce. Middleton says. Latinos may have to jump many hurdles, including cultural ones, that are preventing them from looking into the CLA as a place where they can build a career.
"So much of the reason why we don't have strong Hispanic representation at the CLA is because they just don't know it's a possibility," she says.
Spanish is a beautiful language
Middleton's parents were of Mexican origin. Her father had been a Marine during World War II and her mother worked in a factory. Her father became a Los Angeles County surveyor and was able to provide a near-middle-class life for the family in the confines of L. A. County, bordering with Orange County.
Growing up in a diverse neighborhood where there w ere few Latinos, her parents, who spoke Spanish, insisted that little Carmen and her brother speak only English. These were the times long before the Latino Boom of the late 1990s and being bilingual or speaking Spanish was looked down on even by other more assimilated Latinos.
"The reason they never wanted their children to have an accent was because the accent would be revealing of your background." Middleton explains. 'My parents did that and their brothers and sisters did the same thing with their children to protect their children growing up in California, because they knew there was discrimination, there was bias."
Once in high school, Middleton was fascinated by her Spanish teacher, who showed the class slides of her time in Spain. With good grades...