We’re spotlighting some amazing members of NextUp Northwest Arkansas, so check out their inspiring stories and advice!

Regina Rozario
Customer Solutions Manager at Beam Suntory & Programming Officer and Board Member of NextUp Northwest Arkansas

Why is it important to you to be part of NextUp?
DEI&B (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) is a very important and relevant topic to me personally. As an immigrant, I have always wanted to find a community where I could build a network for support and inspiration – both professionally and personally. With NextUp, I have been able to cultivate and foster relationships which have helped me grow tremendously. Not only have I been able to advance my career through networking events and learning sessions hosted by NextUp, but I have also made lifelong friends. As a board member and sponsor, one of my goals is to help educate organizations on the benefits of embracing DEI&B for the business results as well as the overall culture.

What has been your biggest benefit from being part of NextUp?
Without a doubt, gaining confidence in myself! When I first joined NextUp, I was often the quietest person in the room, usually found sitting in the corner, and secretly hoping no one would call me out to answer a question. I knew this had to change if I wanted to continue advancing my career. So, I started going to NextUp events, and over time, I began putting myself out there to meet people and truly embrace what NextUp is all about. As I started to come out of my shell, the increased confidence pushed me to be a more active participant. My employer, Beam Suntory, has been an amazing sponsor of NextUp, and they continually encouraged me and provided opportunities where I had the chance to take on more responsibilities within NextUp. I started out as a Mixers Lead three years ago and now I am a Board member overseeing all the events in NWA. I truly believe NextUp, coupled with Beam Suntory’s support, has helped shape me into who I am today … a confident, professional female in the business world.

What are you looking most forward to with NextUp over the next year?
Building new connections and fostering future leaders. As a Programming Officer, I am in the unique position to not only lead the committee volunteers but also bring in new, passionate volunteers in hopes of guiding them to be future leaders within NextUp and their own organizations. I want to pay it forward and provide similar encouragement and guidance that was offered to me.

Best part of your job:
I am able to work cross-functionally with Sales, Shopper Insights, Customer Marketing and Brand Teams on a variety of deliverables. I love being able to build relationships across the different groups to ultimately create impactful reporting and visually pleasing presentations that are rooted in data and insights.

First big break:
Being selected to be on the NextUp Board for NWA was monumental. This opportunity has allowed me to further build my confidence, hone my leadership skills, and indirectly experience people management while leading a volunteer committee.

What changes have you seen within your workplace in regard to empowering women?
Beam Suntory has bold DEI&B ambitions over the next few years and increasing female leadership is at the top of the list. The organization also appointed a Chief Diversity Officer with a robust staff to ensure DEI&B stays at the forefront. Beam Suntory has been a sponsor of NextUp for the last six years and has taken full advantage of the Learning & Development courses, in addition to the DEI&B programs available to members and organizations. Also, Beam has created several EIGs over the last few years with one focused specifically on Women. I am encouraged by the steps taken over the last few years to advance women in the workplace.

Advice you’d give to other women:
You don’t have to be “Superwoman.” She is a fictional character not a real person – and it is OK to say NO. Create healthy boundaries and find what works for you – everything will fall into place as it should. In fact, I saw a quote recently that resonated with me … “Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.” Prioritize what matters!

Personal Mantra:
Never assume you are the smartest person in the room. Know you have something to contribute because you are in the room for a reason, but ask questions and seek to learn from others to continue to grow and evolve your way of thinking.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Fail early and fail often. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself to be better. Once you stop trying is when you fail.

Best part of your day:
Coming home to my two fur-babies Walle and Butters. Their unconditional love is like nothing else.

Surprising fact about you:
I was born in India, raised in Bangladesh, and moved to New Jersey when I was 19. I can speak three languages.

Do you still seek out mentors or mentees?
Yes, absolutely. I currently have three mentors and a few informal mentees. They each have different backgrounds and provide guidance and expertise in their own unique ways. Learning is a continuous process, and you can glean insights from people at all job levels.

How do you stay motivated?
I love traveling (15 countries and counting) and my two pups. I always try to be the best version of myself both personally and professionally – and these two outlets keep me grounded.

Thing you’re most proud of:
Moving from Bangladesh to New Jersey when I was 19. Nothing had prepared me for the culture clash of the East/West and of New Jersey. And if that wasn’t enough change, I eventually made the move to Arkansas, which I have proudly called home for the last eight years. These major moves have taught me resilience and perseverance, to be open to new adventures, and to always strive to keep learning and growing.

For more information about NextUp Northwest Arkansas, visit https://www.nextupisnow.org/regions/northwest-arkansas/.