Employee Voices

Creciendo: Embracing Heritage and Growing Together

Through her role at McKesson and the PALMa ERG, Carolina McDaniel is celebrating her Hispanic heritage and advancing her career while inspiring the next generation of healthcare leaders.

Read time: 4 minutes

Growing up in Colombia, Carolina McDaniel wanted her future career to make a difference in the world. After taking bold steps to pursue her ambitions, she now works as a senior finance manager at McKesson – a role in which she’s able to make the impact she dreamed of making years ago.

Her journey to a new life in the U.S. began in 2006 when she left her native country and engineering background behind to study finance in New York.

While attending college classes there, she also worked as a budget analyst at Mt. Sinai Hospital. In her role, she supported the World Trade Center Health Program for responders and volunteers affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The program was looking for more bilingual speakers to provide Spanish translation services for patients, so naturally, Carolina offered to help.

“A language barrier can make patients afraid to interact,” she explains. “That means they might not get the care they need.”

As an interpreter, Carolina was invited into treatment rooms to facilitate conversations between physicians and their Spanish-speaking patients. Her job was to relay the stories of how these heroes suffered physically and mentally after 9/11.

That pivotal experience sparked her passion for healthcare.

“In my finance job, I saw the numbers behind the program,” she recalls. “And when I was translating, I was able to make a direct correlation between what we do in finance and how it can impact the patients we serve.”

She felt pulled toward the healthcare industry after earning her degree. Over the next several years, she progressed in finance while gaining exposure in a variety of settings before ultimately joining McKesson in 2022. Carolina explained that this was the moment she had found a place where she could combine her interests: her unique training in engineering and finance, her passion for people, and her desire to advance opportunities for the Hispanic and Latino community.

“It’s the perfect role for me,” Carolina says of her current position, where she’s an integral part of the company’s finance center of excellence. “I optimize our financial processes and make sure we’re helping McKesson provide value. I’m always thinking about how we can make things better for our patients and customers.”

Beyond her immediate job responsibilities, she wants to influence and improve diversity in the healthcare industry. She saw firsthand as a hospital volunteer how much diverse representation matters to patient outcomes.

“I want to show individuals of Latin American heritage that healthcare is a place where they are needed and where they can thrive,” Carolina says.

That personal commitment is what drew her to the Professional Association of Latinos at McKesson (PALMa). This employee resource group (ERG) promotes diversity, fosters inclusion, and empowers members through professional development. By providing resources, mentorship and networking opportunities, PALMa enables them to flourish in their careers at McKesson.

Carolina sees PALMa as more than an organization – it's a vehicle for transformation. The ERG brings together and shapes a vibrant community of Hispanic and Latino leaders across the company. In doing so, PALMa serves as a beacon for the next generation.

PALMa opens doors for individuals who share similar backgrounds and aspirations,” she says. “When people see someone with a successful career who looks and sounds like them, they will believe they can get to that level and higher.”

Carolina strives for excellence in everything she does, and PALMa is there to provide the assistance she needs to achieve her goals. As a new employee, the ERG offered her a welcoming network of employees from all levels of the company. She’s now formed invaluable relationships with colleagues she wouldn’t have met otherwise. And through ongoing developmental opportunities, PALMa helps Carolina accelerate her mission to grow as a leader, mentor and advocate.

PALMa encourages us to bring our true self to work,” she says. “I love learning about different cultures. I feel confident speaking up and sharing cultural knowledge and how it can benefit our activities, processes and thinking.”

Giving back is important to Carolina. That’s why she was thrilled when PALMa started a chapter where she lives today in Columbus, Ohio. Over the past few months, she’s played a vital role in mobilizing the new chapter and expanding its membership. As the local treasurer, she’s contributing her finance expertise and planning community outreach and volunteer events.

The chapter’s first milestone is leading the local Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. PALMa chapters across McKesson will honor the many cultures and contributions of the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. It’s a forum for employees to celebrate and learn more about this dynamic community.

As a proud dual citizen of the U.S. and Colombia, Carolina appreciates the opportunity to share her heritage during the recognition month. However, it’s the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the year that makes her feel she belongs at McKesson.

“People want to work at a place where they are appreciated, regardless of their background or what they look like,” Carolina says. “Here at McKesson, it’s part of our culture. That’s important because the more diverse ideas we have, the more it enriches our company and the more we can help patients.”