I’ve recently attended many networking and business/employment development events that celebrate and empower Latina women. As a Latina myself, I’ve constantly been surrounded by strong and hard-working women to display the highly regarded models of motherhood, household matriarch and influencer of all decision-making. However, coming into the corporate world at the age of 19 forced me to face a few hard realities when it pertained to my unrelenting ambition:
Not everyone will appreciate it
Not everyone will encourage it
Let me explain that last one. If you’re a young, intelligent, ambitious Latina coming into the corporate arena can be tough. You’re the wrong age, the wrong gender, and the wrong cultural/ethnic background. Ambition in white males, even in their younger years, is celebrated and encouraged because he would eventually grow up to be the standard and expected visual representation of “success”. He will sit in the big office, with the large salary, high-level status/title, and be able to reach that position through education, mentorship, and society’s expectation that he will OF COURSE do a phenomenal job in this position of power. Frankly, that same expectation isn’t the reality for ambitious Latinas – even with similar factors, such as education.
According to a survey study conducted by AmericanProgress.org, a growing population of Latinas are pursuing higher education and graduating with college degrees. In fact, Latinos account for over 37% of college graduates in the last five years, of which 31.3% being mujeres. Yet, The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics still reports that only 9.5% of these Latina college graduates are sitting in management roles? Clearly, there’s a disconnect and some serious conversations need to be had. The expectation needs to change, and it starts with you. The desire for MORE and being able to advocate for MORE without judgment, is an important place to start.
Why YOU Need a Seat at the Table
Management roles are positions of influence and decision-making. Managers have the ability to impact important decisions such employment, advancement, salaries, budgets, training, continued education, and succession planning. Management team members not only monitor the productivity and output of their staff, but are also responsible for identifying the needs of the department and using that information to open up opportunities. These opportunities can be an array of many things: the need for more staff, a better system, fresh ideas/perspectives, promotions and advancement for their employees, and efficiencies.
Opportunities are important to identify as a catalyst to the other important factor necessary for Latinas to thrive in career and business….change. You see, in order to influence change and encourage the selection of more and more educated and ambitious Latinas into management roles, it starts with YOU. You need to advocate for a yourself, and start pursuing the positions, salary amounts, and opportunities that fulfill your desire for MORE.
Higher Education Isn’t Always the Answer
Many brilliant and dynamic Latinas in the workforce do not have a college degree. With the statistics not being in our favor, it’s almost a deterrent! You may be asking yourself, “Why pursue a degree if it’s not going to be valued in corporate America? We aren’t getting the higher-paying jobs anyway! What’s the point?” Verdad? Personally, I tremendously value education, but I also fully understand that college isn’t for everyone. In fact, I know many successful business-owners and entrepreneurs who have created something out of nothing, even without any formal education. There are so many other avenues to obtain education, such as a technical training schools (ex. HVAC, mechanics, medical billing/assistance, paralegals), and training courses that offer tremendous value to your resume (ex. Sig Sygma, leadership development, software aptitude). Educational information can also be obtained through networking/industry events, mentorship, and of course books.
Being an ambitious Latina is something inherent, it comes from your desire for MORE. A college degree doesn’t make you ambitious, neither does a technical or training course. Books won’t make you ambitious either. You go and pursue that educational material as a result of your ambition and desire to learn, grow and, understand how to apply yourself. Do not downplay what and who you are simply because you don’t have a college degree. There’s still work to be done. There are still important decisions to be made. You still have a purpose that can only be realized by the decision to BE and desire MORE for yourself and your family.
As the Latina’s Career Champion, my coaching program can position you for the career move you’ve always wanted but weren’t sure how to start. I know the questions that run through your head:
Is my resume good enough?
What if no one will hire me?
What if I’m making a big mistake?
Will it require me to work harder than I want to?
What if they don’t pay me what I want?
What if they reject me?
What will my family say about this?
Yes, let’s face it, we even worry what our family will say. Your spouse may think it’s a bad idea. Your mama may advise against it. Shoot, even your abuelita may give you the judgmental-yet-confused look at your desire for more! The fact is, in order to see your full potential, you need to first check with the beautiful woman in the mirror and give yourself permission, first.
I know the Impostor Syndrome well, and have written much about it in the last year. I get it, change is scary. But you know what’s even scarier? The thought of being in the exact same place that you are now, a year from now.
…while society continues to operate as it is today.
Don’t wait for everyone’s approval. Don’t let the unanswered questions above stop you from dreaming big. Schedule a 30-minute power-call with me and discuss if you’re a fit for my Career Catalyst, executive coaching program. Go to https://www.michellemgomez.com/events/strategy-discovery-call to schedule your call.
Make a decision that will impact the rest of 2019.
-Michelle Gomez Coaching, LLC.