Meet Carita Hughes: Pioneer, Innovator, Advocate.

Carita Hughes is a strong believer in leading with heart in all her efforts. She helps drive innovation through patent law, stirs a spirit of belonging, makes an impact on today’s youth through the joy of music, and preserves a family legacy.

DEI People Jun 19, 2024

Our purpose is what unites us at Henkel North America: Pioneers at heart for the good of generations. Our pioneering spirit is reflective of the diverse backgrounds, experiences and talents of our employees and partners. They dare to make an impact on the world by collaborating to tackle challenges, find solutions and open new perspectives.  

Their contributions allow us to deliver products, services and innovations that enrich and improve everyday life.  We invite you to “meet” our pioneers in our series, “Pioneers for Good.”

Carita Hughes

Introducing Carita

Carita Hughes is a Patent Paralegal at Henkel, playing an integral role in driving sustainability and innovation for the company. As patent experts, Carita and her team work to secure the rights to inventions, new products and solutions developed by Henkel’s Research & Development teams. She works at the North America headquarters of the Henkel Consumer Brands business in Stamford, CT.

She is a pioneer of patents at the office, of music in the community, and of making everyone she meets feel welcome. Carita believes being a pioneer at heart is, “Using your passion and what is dear to your heart for the good of generations.” This sentiment sits at the intersection of her enthusiasm for being a leader in her work and being an advocate for inclusion. 

Building a sense of belonging

“Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are vitally important in an organization like ours,” Carita says. As the current Membership Chair of Henkel’s Black Alliance (HBA) ERG she aims to foster a community of acceptance and belonging like what she experienced when she first joined the group. Her role is instrumental in growing membership by celebrating cultural moments, making space for vulnerable conversations, and giving each other grace to build understanding across Henkel.

Celebratory moments are a core focus for ERGs, and she was extremely excited for the Juneteenth Festival this year. Carita’s passion for celebrating cultures and uplifting communities is apparent in her role at Henkel and in her community service. 

Carita Hughes

We’re hosting a festival-like educational encounter with music, food, games, poetry, and vendors that showcase and support Black culture. The event is open to everyone at Henkel and our neighbors in the building to honor the history and significance of Juneteenth.

Spreading the joy of music

Carita is a classical piano teacher and was looking for ways to help in the local community. She joined Intempo, a youth development organization, dedicated to educating students from immigrant and underrepresented communities in classical and intercultural music practices.

Carita recalls noticing the program did not have piano teachers and immediately jumped at the chance to work with them. “I was drawn to the work at Intempo as it provides a safe space for children and their families who are new to the U.S. We use the joy of music as a way of connecting to their culture and embracing their new home.” 

Through Henkel’s Make an Impact on Tomorrow (MIT) initiative, Intempo received a grant which has helped the organization secure a new home and purchase new instruments. Carita has been with Intempo for 2 years and currently teaches six classes. She has been proud to witness the program grow by 30% over the course of two-years, helping over 42 students.

In starting our piano studio, Carita has helped so many of our youth develop not just their musical talents, but also their confidence, work ethic, and social skills. She has created so much joy in our classrooms and we're so grateful that she is a part of the INTEMPO family.

Preserving a family legacy

In reflecting on her work at Henkel, role with the ERG, and community service, Carita feels an obligation to make the world better. This obligation is felt by her family as well. During her grandfather’s lifetime when Black Americans faced denial of their basic rights of freedom, voting and land ownership, he found the means to buy and sell property leaving a legacy of hope for his family to live better. Today, Carita is the proud landowner of a 100-acre property in Mississippi that her grandfather passed down through family generations. This year she is arranging the planting of 33,000 trees to reforest the property and preserve it to pass onto the next generations of her family.

To experience success as a pioneer at heart for the good of generations, Carita is inspired by the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better… to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

Carita teaches piano lessons

Carita teaches piano lessons and the joy of music to students at Intempo classroom.

group shot with Carita Hughes

Carita and colleagues of the Henkel Black Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) accepting award for the ERG’s 2023 accomplishments in driving inclusion at Henkel.

group shot with Carita Hughes

Carita joined in with Henkel colleagues to volunteer at the Community Food Bank of NJ preparing food packages to fight hunger.

trees surrounding a patch of lawn

Front of the property that’s been in Carita’s family since 1925.

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Throughout our history, we have developed innovative products, optimized our production processes to conserve natural resources and reduce wastes, and have built relationships with the communities we are active in and our partners.