Home Madison Yuly Osorio joins Step Up: Equity Matters as marketing brand adviser

Yuly Osorio joins Step Up: Equity Matters as marketing brand adviser

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Yuly Osorio didn’t intend to become an American.

In 2001, after earning a degree in advertising and graphic design in her native Colombia, she visited the US to learn English, only intending to stay six months. 

But in those six months, she fell in love. “Let’s blame love for everything,” she says with a laugh.

Now, 21 years later, she’s joined the local DEI consulting group Step Up: Equity Matters as marketing brand adviser.

Her first couple of years in the US weren’t easy.

“Those first two years, I had five jobs between dishwasher and cleaning toilets, Monday to Sunday, no vacation, no health insurance,” she recalls. “Back to back, four in the morning till 11:30 at night. That was my entire two years until I finally found something that helped me to work a little in my career and not have to work those crazy hours.”

What she found was a career change while working in a retail copy shop.

“One day I designed a business card for one of the clients because nobody was there. It was a slow day and I was bored,” she says. “And then the boss saw it and said, ‘I didn’t know you were a graphic designer.’ And I said actually my career is as a marketing advertisement person.”

That boss offered her a job as a graphic designer.

“And then after that, I found a graphic designer job at another company, a small company. And then from there, I moved to big companies in the marketing department. Then I went up to an art director for magazines. And then I started working as a marketing account manager. And then I moved into marketing communications.”

Along the way, she learned the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace – in many cases, learning the hard way.

“I encountered barriers for being a woman, I encountered barriers for coming from another country, I encountered barriers for not having the right documentation. I encountered barriers because I was specifically from Colombia,” she says. “You have no idea how many times I have been asked, ‘Can you sell me drugs?’ I don’t even smoke, and people were surprised when I said I have never even tasted marijuana. I realized they were stereotyping me. They thought that every pretty young Colombian woman came to this country to prostitute themselves for money.”

She says those experiences, as well as learning about what she calls “the systematic oppression processes put in place by every system,” led her to seek jobs and opportunities that dealt especially with diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I want to see a just, equitable, diverse world, where we can all work together,” she says.

That’s why she says Step Up: Equity Matters is a good fit.

Ororio says she got to know cofounder Tania Ibarra through the Latino Professionals Association, where Osorio served on the marketing committee while Ibarra was president.

“I admire every one of the women working there,” Osorio says of the Step Up team. “They are amazing and intelligent, and incredibly community oriented. And the work that they do is great. So that is working out very good for me.”

Osorio says the renewed attention on the Black Lives Matter movement has translatedto wider focus on DEI more broadly.

“It hasn’t stopped. I mean, maybe some protests and movements have gone down a little bit. But something else happens every day, every single day something else is happening,” she says. “And it’s not only about the African American community, it is about the Hispanic and Latinx community, the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The rights for LGBTQ+, it’s the rights for people with disabilities,it’s the fight for equality for women, it’s so many things.”

Osorio just started in her new role earlier this summer, and hopes to make a difference.

“I’m not looking for riches. I’m not looking for recognition, I’m not looking for any of that. I’m just looking to have a peaceful mind and soul and knowing that what I did was the right thing to do,” she says. “As a human being, I like to evolve. So when you evolve, you change. So obviously naturally you change jobs, you change people around places or whatever, you name it. But I hope that in five years, I’m doing this job and I’m doing it better than I’m doing it now.”