Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Jim Maddox

Second Committee Member

Jules Beck


Brazilian women, Immigration, Inclusion, Sense of Belonging


According to the American Immigration Council (2021), 14 percent of the United States population is foreign-born. Immigrants have enriched American culture and enhanced our influence in the world. People feel a need to belong and have an inherent desire for deep, lasting, and meaningful connections (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Research suggests that humans are fundamentally and pervasively motivated by a need to belong and the desire to form and maintain enduring interpersonal attachments (Allen, Kern, Rozek, McInerney & George, 2021). These authors also define immigrants’ sense of belonging in terms of how they make sense of their social identification with people from their country of origin and their host society. As a psychological construct, the sense of belonging is understood as the extent to which an individual feels respected, valued, accepted, included, and connected to a social group or community (McMillan & Chavis, 1986). The purpose of this narrative case study is to create new knowledge by exploring how Brazilian women executives develop a sense of community and belonging while experiencing assimilation as they transition from Brazil to the United States. While abundant literature explores the assimilation of marginalized groups, few studies have investigated the experiences of executive women who have navigated the cultural abyss. The purpose of conducting this study is to understand how female Brazilian marketing and sales executives describe their experiences in developing a sense of community and belonging, and of membership, while experiencing assimilation. Specifically, the study explores these experiences through personal stories that participants tell about their journeys. It is the researcher’s hope to bring understanding to how immigrants develop their sense of community and belonging when arriving with language proficiency, economic power, and access to resources to help support assimilation in the local community and organizations.