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Hustling to Abundance

Arivee and Connie July 12 2023

[00:00:00] We all deserve to have fulfilling careers and lives. We deserve to experience joy and peace and freedom and all of those things that make us feel truly alive.


[00:00:20] It takes a lot of courage for us to take the reins in our lives and take action that honors the deepest parts of ourselves in this current season of life. It takes a lot of courage to lean into growing and to lean into learning and to know when it's time to make a change. I'm Arivee and I'm a first generation Latina, mom of three, and life and high performance coach to women just like you.


[00:00:50] And this podcast is for all of us looking to grow and learn and explore what a joyful and fulfilling life and [00:01:00] career can look like.


[00:01:23] I was hustling to make all these doors open for me. And now I'm at this point in my life where I don't have to hustle. I'm getting just incredible opportunities. And now I can be choosy about which doors I walk through and it's a real shift in identity when you're in a hustler and struggle mentality versus one of being able to be more choosy.


[00:01:45] I am very excited to bring to you my interview with I, D and E leader, Constanza or Connie Cabello. We had a fun. And serious [00:02:00] and inspiring and motivating and reflective and introspective and all the kinds of things kind of conversation. So let me tell you a little bit about her and then I'll share some of what we talked about before we get into the conversation.


[00:02:15] Dr. Consenza Cabello, or Connie, she joined State Street Corporation in 2021 as the Vice President for Equity Programs on the Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity team. Prior to State Street, she was a Senior Diversity Officer in Higher Education. She continues to serve as a faculty member for the Equity Institutes Program at the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.


[00:02:43] She was instrumental in the creation of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's New Undergraduate Experience Initiative, which serves as a guiding document to reimagine Massachusetts public higher education [00:03:00] system through the lens of racial equity. Much of Connie's volunteerism and service is focused on advancing conditions for people of color and women.


[00:03:11] Within State Street, she serves as a mental health ambassador and the co chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Latin American Professionals Group. She is the Director of Community Affairs for Alpha Boston and a leader for the Boston Women's Dinner Group. Connie has been recognized by local and national organizations.


[00:03:34] Most recently, she was selected by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake as a 2022 10 outstanding young leader. She was also named to the 2022 Latinas to watch by Alpha. Which is the Association of Latino Professionals for America. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Organizational [00:04:00] Leadership Studies from Northeastern University, a Master of Science in Counseling from Central Connecticut State University, And a bachelor of science in social policy and planning from the university of Connecticut.


[00:04:15] She is a proud Chilean American Latina and immigrant. And in this episode, Connie shares her personal story and we delve into what it means to be Latina in the U S to unlearn beliefs and narratives like the hustle mentality and not feeling quote unquote good enough that don't serve us. We talk about the challenges we've overcome and those we continue to face as women of color and the incredible opportunities also that we have in front of us.


[00:04:51] We discuss what companies could do better to support people of color, to support professionals of color in the [00:05:00] workplace, and you will hear Connie's perspective that we should be focusing on. Equity first and why we need to put our attention on fixing conditions, not people. I am so glad that you're here for this conversation with Connie.


[00:05:21] So let's jump in. Connie, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.


[00:05:26] So good to be with you. Thank you so much for the invite. I'm excited for our conversation today. Connie, I would love for you to share. a little bit about your story, including what led you up to where you are now. Sure. And I'll try to be short with my story because I'm sure that we'll get into some other topics throughout our time together.


[00:05:46] But just a little bit about me. I was born in Chile in South America. And I always joke, if you've known me for five minutes, you will know that part about me because it is so central to who I am. But I grew up in the greater Boston [00:06:00] area. You know, my family immigrated from Chile to Boston, and then I lived in and around Boston for most of my life and being the kid of immigrants was definitely, has definitely shaped my identity.


[00:06:13] And also being a Latina has definitely shaped my identity. So my parents really had the thought that we would come here for a few years. We came here because my brother needed access to healthcare, a very specialized doctor. And so we came to Boston Children's Hospital. And we had every intention of going back to Chile, but my parents really saw the opportunities available here in the U S and specifically in Boston and really decided that we would say, and so growing up, I always had this idea that, you know, we were here to make something of ourselves and very much bought into this idea of the American dream.


[00:06:47] So growing up, just always had this thought that I would go to college. It was never really a question in terms of what I go to pursue higher education or not. And so that led me to attend University of Connecticut, [00:07:00] honestly, because as a first gen student, had no idea what I was doing and watched March Madness and got excited about UConn.


[00:07:08] It was so immature, but great experience there. Ended up staying in Connecticut to pursue my master's. And so I got my bachelor's in social policy and planning and my master's in counseling. Fast forward, started my career in higher education and administration, working in student engagement, diversity and inclusion, multicultural affairs, and most recently transitioned out of higher education, was in higher ed for about 15 years.


[00:07:36] Most recently as a functional chief diversity officer at a state institution here in Massachusetts. And during the pandemic had this moment where I was like, you know what? I kind of want to try something else and see what's happening out there. It was also just a tumultuous time in terms of the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, economic downturn.


[00:07:55] And so had this moment with myself where I said, you know, if I'm going to do something, let me do it [00:08:00] now. I can always go back to higher ed and see what happens. And as a result that has landed me at State Street, which is a asset manager, financial services, custody bank. And my role there is vice president for equity on the global inclusion, diversity and equity team.


[00:08:18] Where I still get to lean into my passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. We're really focused on advancing equity through our human capital practices, as well as our business practices. And no regrets so far. I've had a great experience. I'm learning a lot. I'm growing every day. That's where I'm at right now.


[00:08:36] Professionally, personally, I'm still here living right outside of Boston, enjoying my time in the great state of Massachusetts. And trying to just have fun when I can. And that's where I'm finding myself at this stage of life. Ana, you mentioned something that I wanted to follow up on. You mentioned how being the daughter of immigrants has shaped your identity and being a Latina [00:09:00] has shaped your identity.


[00:09:01] Can you tell me more about that? Yeah. So I feel like this is a conversation I have a lot with other kids of immigrants, specifically daughters. Where, and, and I should say that although I'm the youngest, I'm the only daughter. And that's important because I think the youngest get this kind of MO that we are the babies of the family.


[00:09:22] But I think being a daughter has trumped my being the baby. And so, you know, very much grew up as someone who. Like, I was super independent as a little kid, super, super independent. And part of that was, you know, my brother had a lot of need because of his medical stuff and, and you know, my, my brother, and I would say this to his face and he knows that he's a little bit of a mama's boy.


[00:09:46] And so, you know, he was always attached at the hip with her while I was kind of doing my own thing. And. Getting into my own trouble. And you know, my mom always tell the story about when I was a kid, I asked for [00:10:00] weeks for them to teach me how to ride a bike and they kept like, yeah, we'll do it, we'll do it, we'll do it.


[00:10:05] And then one day she looked outside and I was, I had taught myself how to ride a bike. I think that's just like a perfect story of who Connie is. So yeah, so has been super independent, but also in a lot of ways, just like always worried. I think I'm the one who thinks 10, 20, 30 steps down the line about the possibilities and that's been really tough because there are times I really just want to live in the moment.


[00:10:31] But I think because when you're the kid of immigrants, you have this, I'll call it a cloud over you that says, you know, your parents sacrificed everything for you to have opportunities. And I always feel like I need to maximize every single opportunity I have. But that's also tough because sometimes I just want to rest and chill like everybody else.


[00:10:52] Yes. I'm getting better at that. I will say I'm getting better at that in terms of not feeling such a sense of burden [00:11:00] to do and be all things. And then, you know, just kind of intersecting that with being a Latina and just, you know. I feel like I have a really big heart and I'm super passionate about everything I'm involved with.


[00:11:11] And so, you know, for me, that's always been a big thing and just feeling culturally always taking care of family first, making sure that my family is good, that they have everything that they need and recognizing that I am oftentimes the only person of my identity in a space. And what does that mean to constantly be the only one or feel like I need to represent for an entire culture of people though, you know, those are all things I've thought about in my professional and personal journey.


[00:11:41] And I think I'm still working through. Connie, I will say, I resonate with every single thing you said. My parents are from the Dominican Republic and I was born here and I always frame it as the burden and the blessing, right? Of. Being the daughter of immigrants, because what a [00:12:00] blessing to have this example of hard work and sacrifice for what you want an example of what you do for family, an example of the love that is so rich in our culture and.


[00:12:11] And in family and community, and at the same time they sacrifice so much. And so you feel like you have to make good on it. And how do you do that in a way where I think oftentimes our parents are more in a survival. We have to get, we have to give them opportunity, give our children opportunity. And we're in a different place because we are the beneficiaries of the opportunity.


[00:12:34] And it's like, how do we get out of the. More survival mindset and say, Hey, it's okay to rest. It doesn't mean you're lazy. It doesn't mean you're not productive. It's okay to rest. Maybe our parents couldn't do that as much, but if they could, they would have. I think a lot about that. Like, what if my parents had stayed in Dominican Republic?


[00:12:55] What would that be like? And what would our lives be like? I don't know if you've [00:13:00] ever. Continue to think about if you were to go back to Chile, what, what would have happened? Yeah. Oh my God. That's so real. Everything you said, I'm just like shaking my head in affirmation because I was talking about like exactly like you said, you know, I am not in this struggle mentality and I want to live in the abundance of my life and the blessings of my life without feeling intense shame or guilt.


[00:13:27] Yes. And that's exactly what My parents worked hard for me to do, you know, and it's taken me a long time to realize that this is actually pressure I've produced myself. This came from nobody but me. And so how do I undo some of that? And, you know, it's also a really complicated conversation because I've been back to Chile a bunch of times when I'm actually going to be there in January as well.


[00:13:51] And I asked myself the question, and this is one I'm still wrestling with around. You know, I know my family came here for me to [00:14:00] have a better life, but how are we defining a better life? Is it more money? Is it more things? Is it more opportunities? But there's a cost to that too, right? Like in Chile, I think there's a lot more humility in terms of what brings you happiness.


[00:14:16] Happiness is being with the people you love. It's not, you know, having the biggest house and having the nicest car and having all the fancy things. It's being in community, it's being able to enjoy life. And so I'm constantly thinking about that too, in terms of, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful for the life I have.


[00:14:36] I love my life and I feel so blessed and. You know, I think it's a real good critique around this idea of the American dream and what is a good life. All those things are constantly going through my head and things I'm still reflecting on. Connie, I'm with you. I'm right here with you because the studies on happiness, I think it was the longest study that had been done on happiness [00:15:00] recently.


[00:15:01] The authors came out with a book and I'm blanking on the name of the book, but I remember the research when it came out. Was that the number one predictor of happiness in life? And when I say the longest study, I mean, they followed people for years and years. The biggest predictor of happiness was maintaining and strengthening quality relationships.


[00:15:23] So that means community. It means family. It means friendships. And there's a book called the regrets of the dying or the top regrets of the dying by Bronnie Ware. She was a nurse who took care of the dying. And this book came out a long time ago, but she documented the top regrets of the die. And number one was...


[00:15:43] I wish I had the courage to live the life I wanted, not the life that was expected of me. And then one of the, I think it was a second or the third was, I wish I kept up my relationships, my friendships, my, all of it, because you don't take. A house with you. [00:16:00] You don't take money with you. You don't take anything with you when you die, but you do take when you're dying.


[00:16:05] You take, I'm assuming you're taking your experiences and the richness and the love and feeling that love when you go. I've wrestled with that question too. Kanye, what is a good life? And I used to say it was, my potential. That was my definition. And I've changed, I've evolved and I've changed that more to.


[00:16:27] I want to live a life where I feel alive and I feel love and I feel like I've made a, I've made a positive impact on someone or the world. Like I've really shifted that because I think because of how the messages we got as kids and even in this country, everyone gets this message too, that it's all about what you appear to be, right?


[00:16:50] Like your house, your car, what title you have. And I've realized over time that none of that shit matters. It just doesn't like, [00:17:00] yes, you need certain amount of money to live and to have a certain lifestyle if that's what you want, but you could have all of that and have nothing inside. Yep. And a lot of people do, you know, like I'm a religious person.


[00:17:12] And so like when I pray, I always start by, you know, just thanking God for the people in my life. And I literally go down the list and in every single prayer, I have this little part two where I talk about. I'm. Literally, I'm like, you know, I'm also really thankful for the things that I had in life that make my life a lot easier, but I know are not that important.


[00:17:32] It doesn't go down the list of material things, right? Yes. In some ways, you know, I am thankful for those things. I am blessed in ways that so many people aren't, but I have to remind myself. That's not what I'm most thankful for. I'm most thankful for the people in my life. And it's hard because I think we live in a, in a time where, you know, social media, you just see the best parts of everybody's life.


[00:17:56] And I think it's also, it's hard to be in relationship, [00:18:00] authentic and real relationship with people. When you find those people who are real in your life, they're worth holding on to. They're really worth holding on to. And so, and I say that all the time when I'm talking with folks in terms of if I'm spending my time with you, it's really meaningful to me.


[00:18:18] It's really meaningful to me. And I'm not just saying, you know how I always say, you can be with somebody, but they cannot be present, right? It's like really being present with people. You can, you need to be present with them and hear them and be with them and connect in a way that is fulfilling for both of you.


[00:18:34] And it's true. It's so hard. And I like this conversation so timely because I've been having these really existential. I wouldn't call it a crisis, but let's pull out a conversation with myself where it's like, I've been thinking a lot about this idea that we get one chance at life. Yes. It completely freaks me out.


[00:18:50] And I'm like, Oh my goodness, we get one shot. On this planet to live and really live, you know, because nobody, when [00:19:00] I'm dead and gone, they're not going to write about my accolades and all these sort of things. They're going to talk about what kind of person I was. Yes. Connie, you got me a little speechless because so we've had several losses in our family the past year.


[00:19:14] And one thing that I thought about a lot during that time. They weren't back to back, but it felt like they were kind of back to back, right? And they were big losses. And I remember thinking about death all the time. I thought about it in the way that you described it. I'm like, see, you don't get to decide when you go, you don't get to decide.


[00:19:35] It's not up to you. I am spiritual as well. Connie, I'm like, God is not going to decide to take you and then entertain your negotiation of if it's the right time. He's not going to say to you like. Oh yeah. Wait, you want two more weeks? Okay, I'll give you two more weeks. He's gonna say you've had your entire life and I'm taking you now.


[00:19:55] And for me, I think a lot about that. Like we have one shot, [00:20:00] so what are you gonna do with this one life that you have? And God, I know that when I die, I am not gonna wish that I worked harder. Like, I'm just not going to wish that I made more money, like it's not like, I, I do think that when I was in, maybe in my twenties, I thought more about those things.


[00:20:18] And now it's more about the rich richness of life and, and feeling joy and feeling congruent with my values and the people that I want to be around and the energy I want to be around. I got no time for negativity. I mean like toxicity, negativity, not. You know, if something's going through a hard time, I'll, I will sit in that with people, but you know what I mean?


[00:20:40] Like the energy that's now, this is not aligned with like, how I want to be feeling right now. I do take to heart so much what you said, like this conversation with yourself. I got one shot at this. So how do I want to spend it? You know, how do I want to spend my time? Yeah, totally. Totally. And I'm 36 now.


[00:20:57] And like you said, in my 20s, I didn't, I wasn't thinking [00:21:00] this way. And I'm really hopeful that I have a lot more life to live, but I think it is when, you know, I'm at that age where I'm seeing a lot of, I am experiencing a lot of people, you know, their parents or even folks who are close in age to me who, you know, Are gone and it made me really think about exactly like you said, I'm totally with you.


[00:21:18] I'm not going to be like, wow, I really wish I worked harder and got that promotion and made more money. No, it's going to be like, I wish I had more time with these people. I wish I told someone how I felt about them. I wish I, you know, lived with purpose and value and people felt and knew that. Yeah. And it's not that those things can't be important in a certain season of your life.


[00:21:37] It's just that in the grand scheme of things, I think when you reach a certain age, you start thinking of, but what is the most important, right? What's the most important thing to me now that I've done a lot of those things, because it didn't fulfill me the way I thought it would. Right, Connie. I want to go back to something you said about being one of the few being the only one in a space, especially in the workplace.


[00:21:59] And [00:22:00] I want to ask, because I, of course, I totally relate to that. And I've, I struggled with that, especially earlier on in my career. And now I own who I am, and I don't feel this way anymore, but I definitely did. How do you feel about when people use the word, um, The phrase imposter syndrome. Yeah. I mean, I have a love hate relationship with it because I understand it.


[00:22:21] I think I have felt at times like, Oh, should I be here? But my issue with imposter syndrome is that it creates this almost. internal struggle that is really not about me. Right. And so when I enter a space and I experienced imposter syndrome, I had flipped it around to say, ask myself, am I experiencing imposter syndrome or are those around me experiencing superiority complex because I know who I am.


[00:22:51] I'm a very confident person. I know what I bring to the table. I'm also, I would say pretty humble and know where I had learning edges and. [00:23:00] Opportunities for growth, but I, Oh, I belong in the spaces that I am invited to. And so I don't sit in that place anymore of thinking like, Oh, I, I shouldn't be here.


[00:23:12] I'm, you know, I'm not as worthy or as credible as the people around me to be here because it's not about me. It's about how has this space or this organization or, you know, this opportunity been decided to literally keep people like me out. You know, and part of it is probably overcompensating for some of those feelings and saying, no, I'll show you, actually, I will show you who I am.


[00:23:38] And that reframing has been so helpful for me because I don't sit in a place anymore of, you know, wondering if I am good enough and it also helps me walk in spaces differently. I think now when I enter a room, I feel confident. I feel excited versus, you know, being shy or [00:24:00] intimidated. I think, you know, for me, that reframe has been so helpful personally and professionally.


[00:24:05] Yeah. That's really powerful. I've been following some of the thought leadership on imposter syndrome and exactly what you said. That's really the tension. And nonetheless, I think Connie, there are so many women who, especially women of color, obviously haven't been able to move through it. I haven't been able to really believe that reframe and say, you're right.


[00:24:25] Yeah. There are things I need to learn, but I belong in this space. And if people feel like I don't, that's not my problem. That's not my issue. That's their issue to resolve. And I often think of the other struggles that women of color face today. And it's an evolution, right, Connie? Because some things you struggled with earlier on in your career and then you move through it and you feel you've evolved in a different way, but then you see, you know, the younger generation struggle with the same thing.


[00:24:53] I wonder if there are any like themes that you have noticed or that you've experienced with regard to [00:25:00] challenges that we face in the workplace that are really inhibitors to us feeling one good about ourselves and to advance and. Be successful in the way that we define it. Yeah. So many, but I think it really is, you know, you can't be what you can't see.


[00:25:17] And so for so many of us, we are paving the way for so many to come behind us. And I'm really lucky that I've had great examples of Latina leaders and women of color who have shown me what's possible. And as a result, I feel like I've been able to do that for those coming behind me too. There's a lot, right?


[00:25:38] I think it's. Even just showing up authentically, you know, I tell the story to, I think for a long time early on in my career, I was like, okay, the closer I can get to looking and being and sounding like an older white man, the more successful I will be. And then pretty quickly, I'm like, that's never going to happen for you.


[00:25:56] That's actually, and not, and I don't even want that, [00:26:00] right. I want to be myself. I want to talk how I talk. I want to engage how I want to engage. I want to dress how I want to dress and show up in the way that I want, you know? And so I think a lot of that is the socialization piece in terms of how we're socialized to quote unquote, be professional, because professionalism is such a loaded word, right?


[00:26:18] Like it's loaded in assumptions of what is worthy of respect. And again, you know, early on in my career, I think I bought into some of that and now I just completely reject it in a way that you just can't, I can't, and it's also, I don't sleep good at night when I'm performing all day. That's and I'm not going to perform all day.


[00:26:41] So, you know, I think that's a big one. It's just deconstructing this idea of professionalism and what it means. showing up authentically and not having this constant filter on or having to perform every time you walk into a room, you know, and I think there is a, there's a level of code switching. I absolutely engage in, [00:27:00] but it's not, I would never say it's at the detriment of my character or, you know, in a way that makes me feel like a phony or fake.


[00:27:08] So, you know, That's all been really critical. And I also just think, you know, thinking about the responsibilities we have that, you know, our white counterparts, our male counterparts just do not have, right? Like I feel an immense sense of wanting to give back and lift as I climb and be in community with other people who share my identity.


[00:27:30] And it can be exhausting at times, but it's also what completely fills my bucket. Yeah. You know, it's what makes me feel happy and it makes me feel engaged. So those are all challenges. I feel like I have worked through and I'm continuing to work through. I also think, you know, just at this stage of my career, like I said, I'm at this place where I feel like I really have come through a lot in terms of just knowing who I am and that feels really good.


[00:27:58] But now I have a lot [00:28:00] more agency and this kind of ties back a little bit to being the kid of immigrants, too, is I think for a long time in my life, I worked so hard to make doors open for me, like I was hustling to make all these doors open for me. And now I'm at this point in my life where I don't have to hustle.


[00:28:17] I'm getting just incredible opportunity. And now I can be choosy about which doors I walk through. And it's a real shift in identity when you're in a, like a hustler and struggle mentality versus one of being able to be more choosy. So those are all things I'm thinking about right now. And I know that other women of color are thinking about too.


[00:28:41] Yes. Connie. Yes, that's true. Yes. Connie, it's so funny because I'm like, have we lived parallel lives and not known it? But your comment on professionalism is so spot on Connie, I did the same thing, you know, because I grew up when I said grew up. I mean, [00:29:00] my career started really at a law firm. And that's like suits.


[00:29:05] It's, you know, and There were, I mean, very few, if any, people of color, right? Very few. And I totally did what you said. I'm like, OK, how do I look and sound like a man, a white man? Like, how do I do that? Because frankly, most of the women I saw were doing the same thing. Even though they were white women, they were trying to be like a man.


[00:29:26] I had no one to look at. Except when I started getting involved in certain Latina lawyer groups. And then I was like, Oh, this is my people. And then I started being more myself and Connie, I'm with you. Like at first I would never wear my hoop earrings like ever. And now I wear hoops every day. I'm like, F that like I am going to be all of me.


[00:29:50] I'm going to wear my fuchsia blazer. I'm going to wear my fuchsia shoes. In fact, one of my friends, he said to me, you know, you're Dominican [00:30:00] because I see you when you got pink on that bright ass pink, you know, yes. I feel like for so long earlier in my career, I was trying to fit what I thought was the mold.


[00:30:11] And what I realized over time is It does too much work. That's mentally and emotionally exhausting. Like you mentioned like the performance, even how you dress as a performance, like how you have to filter, how you talk as a performance. And I have this thing where I say boo a lot, like People that work with me a lot know when I say boo, I'll be like, no boo, and they laugh so much, but that's me.


[00:30:35] That's my personality and it's all love and I think there are so many women right now just trying to figure it out. Who are they? And I will say that it's something you have to move through and evolve into. I don't think there's like a quick fix or a quick answer. But I do think it's important for people to see your evolution and to see that, yeah, you may feel this way at this point, but you can get to the other side of it.


[00:30:59] [00:31:00] Yeah, it's so telling because if I'm being like really real, I've also had other women of color criticize me for that. Right. And like, I remember, this is actually pretty recently within the last year I had an older woman of color come up to me and basically, and I guess the most diplomatic way possible tell me I needed to tone it down.


[00:31:21] Right. And a comment like that probably like even five years ago would have joined me, right? I would have been so emotional about it. And I sat in this place of just trying to understand what she was actually telling me. It sounds terrible, but I kind of got to the point where I was like, wow, like I actually, I'm not even angry.


[00:31:38] I just feel sad that this person is not free. Yeah. You know what I mean? In some ways I feel very free. I talk how I want. I say what I want. And that is such a privilege. Yes. And so before I probably would have been angry or been like. You know, why would she say that, or did I do something wrong and question myself?


[00:31:57] And now I'm able to be like, you know, it is such a [00:32:00] privilege to feel free and to be in my own power, in my own space and be confident in that. And you know, I heard what she was saying in terms of, it came out of a place of concern and care truly to be like, Hey, I'm watching out for you, and so I'm going to give you this feedback.


[00:32:13] And I heard the feedback and you know, some of it was valid, but some of it, I was like, Oh, I'm not toning it down. Yeah. That's not what I'm here to do. Yeah. And in fact, it's, I think of it like if you are a certain way and you own that and you love yourself and you're grounded and you're anchored and you have great character, it's not you that has to change.


[00:32:37] It's the place that has to change. And then, you know, sometimes it's For people who take it a step further, they have to think about if this place doesn't fit me, then what do I do with that information? Right? Like, do I need to make a shift? You know, because there are places that will fit who you are.


[00:32:55] Like you don't have to change for it. Yep. And I think a lot of people struggle with [00:33:00] that. A lot of people will stay where they know it doesn't fit it for multiple reasons. And those are tough decisions because it's not just one or the other. It's there are probably multiple factors that go into that.


[00:33:11] But I always say that you're so right. It's a privilege to feel like you. Own who you are and that it's almost like criticism that comes your way. It's like, you have a bubble around you, like a protective barrier and some things you let come through. Cause you're like, okay, I can see that. But these things of, if the message was basically tone it down, you're like, Oh no, that's going to bounce right off of me because.


[00:33:41] I'm not there anymore. Like I've, I'm over that. Yeah. 100%. So Connie, tell me a little bit, because I know you're an expert in this space. You know, I would love to learn from you what you think the most important thing companies can do to really move the needle to support an advanced woman of color in the [00:34:00] workplace.


[00:34:00] We know that. There are, obviously there's like a legal landscape. There are things companies can do. We have personal agency, right? I really want to know from you, what do you feel are the critical needlemovers that companies can do to support us? Yeah. You know, I think the biggest thing, and I talk about this a lot in my work is leading with this idea of equity.


[00:34:24] Because I think right now what's happening is organizations and companies, they're leading with diversity. And so what they're doing is they're recruiting a bunch of diverse people into their organizations, and then they're trying to figure out inclusion and then figure out equity. And it never goes well because then you just have a revolving door of talent.


[00:34:41] And so I think what companies really need to do. Is start from the equity space. Start with the equity lens. You know, do you have policies that are truly equitable? And when I say equitable, I mean, do you have customized tools, resources, practices that aid [00:35:00] people in maximizing their outcomes? It's not a free path, and I think that's what gets a lot of people messed up is they think equity is unfair because we're giving people additional tools, resources, or experiences, but no, it's about maximizing outcome.


[00:35:15] And so are you leading with that space? And I think particularly for women, I will say, like at my company, we have different alternative work arrangements because we know that oftentimes women have additional responsibilities. But caregiving, whether that's for parents for children or others. And so, you know, are there alternative work arrangements that make it so that women can fill caregiving needs while also producing results for the organization?


[00:35:43] And, you know, that's just one example, but there are so many in terms of thinking about how do we provide equitable experiences for women of color? How do we, again, assess our policies, look at our practices, look at how we're doing pipelining, you know? I think I have a love hate relationship with this idea of mentorship programs for [00:36:00] marginalized groups.


[00:36:02] You know, we focus so much on fixing the person instead of fixing the conditions. And we think, okay, if this person just gets a mentor, they'll be successful. When in reality, it's, well, let's address the systemic barriers for why people actually need to get mentors. There's an access issue here. There's a sponsorship issue here.


[00:36:22] That's where I would tell companies and organizations to really lean into is, are, do you actually have an equitable. Organization. And if you do diversity and inclusion and belongingness will happen. So to me, it's always flipping it a little bit. And I think a lot of times folks are like, well, once we get diversity, the rest can happen.


[00:36:40] And I'm like, well, that's going to be way harder than you think. And I think you're not saying that mentoring isn't important, but you're saying is when it's the first solution you think of, that's actually not the solution we have to go. seven layers deeper than that and be like, okay, but why are we even saying that's what they need?


[00:36:58] And why are we focusing on them? Why are we [00:37:00] focusing on what's happening in terms of access, exposure, visibility, like what's happening at that level? Instead, let's focus there first, at least first. I mean, I'm like a broken record. I'm always like, you know, fixed conditions, not people, fixed conditions, not people.


[00:37:17] Because we, again, we get so stuck on, you know, this deficit mentality with individuals instead of saying we actually have a systemic issue that needs to be addressed. Connie, what would you say to people who say, well, why can't we focus on inclusion first? You know, I think that's fine, but you're going to bump into the same issues, right?


[00:37:36] And I see this a lot of times even, because I would say, you know, I've been at organizations that really want to lean into inclusion first. And as a result, you have a lot of people who are just really kind and nice and sweet, but are not getting to the heart of the issue, right? So they have good intentions, but their impact might not be excellent.


[00:37:52] It's not a bad thing, you know, I definitely I'll take it, but in my experience, it's a much more successful approach to be [00:38:00] able to lean into equity first and then let the inclusion and belongingness happen as a result. Okay, honey. So we have the rapid fire round. Are you ready for, you know what? I'm not going to say rapid fire.


[00:38:11] I'm going to say these quick questions where you answer quickly, briefly. Are you ready? I'm ready. Okay, favorite book or books. So I love autobiographies and I just finished Sonia Sotomayor's. Okay. That's my favorite at the moment. Okay. Person who inspires you the most. I can't choose. I'm going to say both my parents.


[00:38:35] Favorite mantra or saying that helps to motivate you, inspire you, or that helps get you through hard times. Busta Rhymes, uh, don't talk about it, be about it. Oh! Good to talk to you. You've been Busta Rhymes. I love it. I love it. Okay. And what does humble rising mean to you? Lifting as you climb. I love that.


[00:38:58] How can people find [00:39:00] you, work with you, how can they connect with you if they would like to do that? I'm very active on LinkedIn, search me, first name is Constanza, last name is Cabello. So always, I'm always checking my LinkedIn, I'm also on Twitter, Dr. Connie I, and that's the best way. And you know, I'm always out and about at community events in Boston, so don't ever hesitate to call up to me and say hi, I love connecting with people when I'm out.


[00:39:27] I will add that info in the show notes for the episode. So if you're listening, just go and you can click on those links and connect with Connie So feel free to do that. Connie, thank you so much for joining me. This was such a lovely and really powerful conversation. I feel like we live parallel lives.


[00:39:45] Like I really do. And so it was great to talk to you and I learned so much from you. So thanks. Thank you. Thank you so much again for just the invite to talk with you. Just appreciate the opportunity to share my story.[00:40:00]


[00:40:08] If you're a woman lawyer or a woman working in other fast paced corporate environments, And you're looking to feel less overwhelmed and unsure and more empowered and fulfilled in your career and your personal life. Join my Women Empowering Women email community by going to adivivargas. com to sign up.


[00:40:31] Or you can click the link in the note of this episode. Don't forget to also grab my five step guide on how to get clarity. On what needs to change to feel good about your life in this season and how to make that change happen. You can get it at adivivargas. com or scroll down in the notes to this episode and click on the link.


[00:40:55] Finally, if you're loving these episodes, spread that [00:41:00] love by reviewing and rating this podcast so we can get more women feeling heard, feeling seen, inspired, and empowered. Until then, remember that you have Way more power than you can imagine to create the change you want and deserve in your life. To live a life you feel good about.


[00:41:23] You're powerful now, so harness it. Now is your time.[00:42:00]


[00:42:03] We all deserve to have fulfilling careers and lives. We deserve to experience joy and peace and freedom and all of those things that make us feel truly alive.


[00:42:23] It takes a lot of courage for us to take the reins in our lives and take action that honors the deepest parts of ourselves in this current season of life. It takes a lot of courage to lean into growing and to lean into learning and to know when it's time to make a change. I'm Adi V. I'm a first generation Latina, mom of three, and life and high performance coach to women just like you.


[00:42:53] And this podcast is for all of us looking to grow and learn and [00:43:00] explore what a joyful and fulfilling life and career can look like.


[00:43:26] I was hustling to make all these doors open for me. And now I'm at this point in my life where I don't have to hustle. I'm getting just incredible opportunities. And now I can be choosy about which doors I walk through and it's a real shift in identity when you're in a hustler and struggle mentality versus one of being able to be more choosy.


[00:43:48] I am very excited to bring to you my interview with I, D and E leader, Constanza or Connie Cabello. We [00:44:00] had a fun. And serious and inspiring and motivating and reflective and introspective and all the kinds of things kind of conversation. So let me tell you a little bit about her and then I'll share some of what we talked about before we get into the conversation.


[00:44:18] Dr. Consenza Cabello, or Connie, she joined State Street Corporation in 2021 as the Vice President for Equity Programs on the Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity team. Prior to State Street, she was a Senior Diversity Officer in Higher Education. She continues to serve as a faculty member for the Equity Institutes Program at the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.


[00:44:46] She was instrumental in the creation of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's New Undergraduate Experience Initiative, which serves as a guiding document to [00:45:00] reimagine Massachusetts public higher education system through the lens of racial equity. Much of Connie's volunteerism and service is focused on advancing conditions for people of color and women.


[00:45:14] Within State Street, she serves as a mental health ambassador and the co chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Latin American Professionals Group. She is the Director of Community Affairs for Alpha Boston and a leader for the Boston Women's Dinner Group. Connie has been recognized by local and national organizations.


[00:45:37] Most recently, she was selected by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake as a 20 22 10 outstanding young leader. She was also named to the 2022 Latinas to watch by Alpha. Which is the Association of Latino Professionals for America. She holds [00:46:00] a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University, a Master of Science in Counseling from Central Connecticut State University, And a bachelor of science in social policy and planning from the university of Connecticut.


[00:46:18] She is a proud Chilean American Latina and immigrant. And in this episode, Connie shares her personal story and we delve into what it means to be Latina in the U S to unlearn beliefs and narratives like the hustle mentality and not feeling quote unquote good enough that don't serve us. We talk about the challenges we've overcome and those we continue to face as women of color and the incredible opportunities also that we have in front of us.


[00:46:54] We discuss what companies could do better to support people of [00:47:00] color, to support professionals of color in the workplace, and you will hear Connie's perspective that we should be focusing on. Equity first and why we need to put our attention on fixing conditions, not people. I am so glad that you're here for this conversation with Connie.


[00:47:25] So let's jump in. Connie, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.


[00:47:30] So good to be with you. Thank you so much for the invite. I'm excited for our conversation today. Connie, I would love for you to share. a little bit about your story, including what led you up to where you are now. Sure. And I'll try to be short with my story because I'm sure that we'll get into some other topics throughout our time together.


[00:47:49] But just a little bit about me. I was born in Chile in South America. And I always joke, if you've known me for five minutes, you will know that part about me because it is so [00:48:00] central to who I am. But I grew up in the greater Boston area. You know, my family immigrated from Chile to Boston, and then I lived in and around Boston for most of my life and being the kid of immigrants was definitely, has definitely shaped my identity.


[00:48:16] And also being a Latina has definitely shaped my identity. So my parents really had the thought that we would come here for a few years. We came here because my brother needed access to healthcare, a very specialized doctor. And so we came to Boston Children's Hospital. And we had every intention of going back to Chile, but my parents really saw the opportunities available here in the U S and specifically in Boston and really decided that we would say, and so growing up, I always had this idea that, you know, we were here to make something of ourselves and very much bought into this idea of the American dream.


[00:48:51] So growing up, just always had this thought that I would go to college. It was never really a question in terms of what I go to pursue higher education or not. And so [00:49:00] that led me to attend University of Connecticut, honestly, because as a first gen student, had no idea what I was doing and watched March Madness and got excited about UConn.


[00:49:11] It was so immature, but great experience there. Ended up staying in Connecticut to pursue my master's. And so I got my bachelor's in social policy and planning and my master's in counseling. Fast forward, started my career in higher education and administration, working in student engagement, diversity and inclusion, multicultural affairs, and most recently transitioned out of higher education, was in higher ed for about 15 years.


[00:49:39] Most recently as a functional chief diversity officer at a state institution here in Massachusetts. And during the pandemic had this moment where I was like, you know what? I kind of want to try something else and see what's happening out there. It was also just a tumultuous time in terms of the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, economic downturn.


[00:49:58] And so had this moment [00:50:00] with myself where I said, you know, if I'm going to do something, let me do it now. I can always go back to higher ed and see what happens. And as a result that has landed me at State Street, which is a asset manager, financial services, custody bank. And my role there is vice president for equity on the global inclusion, diversity and equity team.


[00:50:21] Where I still get to lean into my passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. We're really focused on advancing equity through our human capital practices, as well as our business practices. And no regrets so far. I've had a great experience. I'm learning a lot. I'm growing every day. That's where I'm at right now.


[00:50:39] Professionally, personally, I'm still here living right outside of Boston, enjoying my time in the great state of Massachusetts. And trying to just have fun when I can. And that's where I'm finding myself at this stage of life. Ana, you mentioned something that I wanted to follow up on. You mentioned how being the daughter of [00:51:00] immigrants has shaped your identity and being a Latina has shaped your identity.


[00:51:04] Can you tell me more about that? Yeah. So I feel like this is a conversation I have a lot with other kids of immigrants, specifically daughters. Where, and, and I should say that although I'm the youngest, I'm the only daughter. And that's important because I think the youngest get this kind of MO that we are the babies of the family.


[00:51:25] But I think being a daughter has trumped my being the baby. And so, you know, very much grew up as someone who. Like, I was super independent as a little kid, super, super independent. And part of that was, you know, my brother had a lot of need because of his medical stuff and, and you know, my, my brother, and I would say this to his face and he knows that he's a little bit of a mama's boy.


[00:51:50] And so, you know, he was always attached at the hip with her while I was kind of doing my own thing. And. Getting into my own trouble. And you know, my [00:52:00] mom always tell the story about when I was a kid, I asked for weeks for them to teach me how to ride a bike and they kept like, yeah, we'll do it, we'll do it, we'll do it.


[00:52:08] And then one day she looked outside and I was, I had taught myself how to ride a bike. I think that's just like a perfect story of who Connie is. So yeah, so has been super independent, but also in a lot of ways, just like always worried. I think I'm the one who thinks 10, 20, 30 steps down the line about the possibilities and that's been really tough because there are times I really just want to live in the moment.


[00:52:34] But I think because when you're the kid of immigrants, you have this, I'll call it a cloud over you that says, you know, your parents sacrificed everything for you to have opportunities. And I always feel like I need to maximize every single opportunity I have. But that's also tough because sometimes I just want to rest and chill like everybody else.


[00:52:55] Yes. I'm getting better at that. I will say I'm getting better at that [00:53:00] in terms of not feeling such a sense of burden to do and be all things. And then, you know, just kind of intersecting that with being a Latina and just, you know. I feel like I have a really big heart and I'm super passionate about everything I'm involved with.


[00:53:14] And so, you know, for me, that's always been a big thing and just feeling culturally always taking care of family first, making sure that my family is good, that they have everything that they need and recognizing that I am oftentimes the only person of my identity in a space. And what does that mean to constantly be the only one or feel like I need to represent for an entire culture of people though, you know, those are all things I've thought about in my professional and personal journey.


[00:53:44] And I think I'm still working through. Connie, I will say, I resonate with every single thing you said. My parents are from the Dominican Republic and I was born here and I always frame it as the burden and the blessing, right? Of. Being the daughter [00:54:00] of immigrants, because what a blessing to have this example of hard work and sacrifice for what you want an example of what you do for family, an example of the love that is so rich in our culture and.


[00:54:14] And in family and community, and at the same time they sacrifice so much. And so you feel like you have to make good on it. And how do you do that in a way where I think oftentimes our parents are more in a survival. We have to get, we have to give them opportunity, give our children opportunity. And we're in a different place because we are the beneficiaries of the opportunity.


[00:54:37] And it's like, how do we get out of the. More survival mindset and say, Hey, it's okay to rest. It doesn't mean you're lazy. It doesn't mean you're not productive. It's okay to rest. Maybe our parents couldn't do that as much, but if they could, they would have. I think a lot about that. Like, what if my parents had stayed in Dominican Republic?


[00:54:58] What would that be like? [00:55:00] And what would our lives be like? I don't know if you've ever. Continue to think about if you were to go back to Chile, what, what would have happened? Yeah. Oh my God. That's so real. Everything you said, I'm just like shaking my head in affirmation because I was talking about like exactly like you said, you know, I am not in this struggle mentality and I want to live in the abundance of my life and the blessings of my life without feeling intense shame or guilt.


[00:55:30] Yes. And that's exactly what My parents worked hard for me to do, you know, and it's taken me a long time to realize that this is actually pressure I've produced myself. This came from nobody but me. And so how do I undo some of that? And, you know, it's also a really complicated conversation because I've been back to Chile a bunch of times when I'm actually going to be there in January as well.


[00:55:55] And I asked myself the question, and this is one I'm still [00:56:00] wrestling with around. You know, I know my family came here for me to have a better life, but how are we defining a better life? Is it more money? Is it more things? Is it more opportunities? But there's a cost to that too, right? Like in Chile, I think there's a lot more humility in terms of what brings you happiness.


[00:56:20] Happiness is being with the people you love. It's not, you know, having the biggest house and having the nicest car and having all the fancy things. It's being in community, it's being able to enjoy life. And so I'm constantly thinking about that too, in terms of, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful for the life I have.


[00:56:39] I love my life and I feel so blessed and. You know, I think it's a real good critique around this idea of the American dream and what is a good life. All those things are constantly going through my head and things I'm still reflecting on. Connie, I'm with you. I'm right here with you because the studies on happiness, I think it was the [00:57:00] longest study that had been done on happiness recently.


[00:57:04] The authors came out with a book and I'm blanking on the name of the book, but I remember the research when it came out. Was that the number one predictor of happiness in life? And when I say the longest study, I mean, they followed people for years and years. The biggest predictor of happiness was maintaining and strengthening quality relationships.


[00:57:26] So that means community. It means family. It means friendships. And there's a book called the regrets of the dying or the top regrets of the dying by Bronnie Ware. She was a nurse who took care of the dying. And this book came out a long time ago, but she documented the top regrets of the die. And number one was...


[00:57:46] I wish I had the courage to live the life I wanted, not the life that was expected of me. And then one of the, I think it was a second or the third was, I wish I kept up my relationships, my friendships, my, all of it, [00:58:00] because you don't take. A house with you. You don't take money with you. You don't take anything with you when you die, but you do take when you're dying.


[00:58:08] You take, I'm assuming you're taking your experiences and the richness and the love and feeling that love when you go. I've wrestled with that question too. Kanye, what is a good life? And I used to say it was, my potential. That was my definition. And I've changed, I've evolved and I've changed that more to.


[00:58:30] I want to live a life where I feel alive and I feel love and I feel like I've made a, I've made a positive impact on someone or the world. Like I've really shifted that because I think because of how the messages we got as kids and even in this country, everyone gets this message too, that it's all about what you appear to be, right?


[00:58:53] Like your house, your car, what title you have. And I've realized over time that none of that shit matters. [00:59:00] It just doesn't like, yes, you need certain amount of money to live and to have a certain lifestyle if that's what you want, but you could have all of that and have nothing inside. Yep. And a lot of people do, you know, like I'm a religious person.


[00:59:16] And so like when I pray, I always start by, you know, just thanking God for the people in my life. And I literally go down the list and in every single prayer, I have this little part two where I talk about. I'm. Literally, I'm like, you know, I'm also really thankful for the things that I had in life that make my life a lot easier, but I know are not that important.


[00:59:35] It doesn't go down the list of material things, right? Yes. In some ways, you know, I am thankful for those things. I am blessed in ways that so many people aren't, but I have to remind myself. That's not what I'm most thankful for. I'm most thankful for the people in my life. And it's hard because I think we live in a, in a time where, you know, social media, you just see the best parts of everybody's life.


[00:59:59] [01:00:00] And I think it's also, it's hard to be in relationship, authentic and real relationship with people. When you find those people who are real in your life, they're worth holding on to. They're really worth holding on to. And so, and I say that all the time when I'm talking with folks in terms of if I'm spending my time with you, it's really meaningful to me.


[01:00:21] It's really meaningful to me. And I'm not just saying, you know how I always say, you can be with somebody, but they cannot be present, right? It's like really being present with people. You can, you need to be present with them and hear them and be with them and connect in a way that is fulfilling for both of you.


[01:00:37] And it's true. It's so hard. And I like this conversation so timely because I've been having these really existential. I wouldn't call it a crisis, but let's pull out a conversation with myself where it's like, I've been thinking a lot about this idea that we get one chance at life. Yes. It completely freaks me out.


[01:00:53] And I'm like, Oh my goodness, we get one shot. On this planet to live and [01:01:00] really live, you know, because nobody, when I'm dead and gone, they're not going to write about my accolades and all these sort of things. They're going to talk about what kind of person I was. Yes. Connie, you got me a little speechless because so we've had several losses in our family the past year.


[01:01:17] And one thing that I thought about a lot during that time. They weren't back to back, but it felt like they were kind of back to back, right? And they were big losses. And I remember thinking about death all the time. I thought about it in the way that you described it. I'm like, see, you don't get to decide when you go, you don't get to decide.


[01:01:39] It's not up to you. I am spiritual as well. Connie, I'm like, God is not going to decide to take you and then entertain your negotiation of if it's the right time. He's not going to say to you like. Oh yeah. Wait, you want two more weeks? Okay, I'll give you two more weeks. He's gonna say you've had your entire life and I'm taking you now.


[01:01:58] And for me, [01:02:00] I think a lot about that. Like we have one shot, so what are you gonna do with this one life that you have? And God, I know that when I die, I am not gonna wish that I worked harder. Like, I'm just not going to wish that I made more money, like it's not like, I, I do think that when I was in, maybe in my twenties, I thought more about those things.


[01:02:21] And now it's more about the rich richness of life and, and feeling joy and feeling congruent with my values and the people that I want to be around and the energy I want to be around. I got no time for negativity. I mean like toxicity, negativity, not. You know, if something's going through a hard time, I'll, I will sit in that with people, but you know what I mean?


[01:02:43] Like the energy that's now, this is not aligned with like, how I want to be feeling right now. I do take to heart so much what you said, like this conversation with yourself. I got one shot at this. So how do I want to spend it? You know, how do I want to spend my time? Yeah, totally. Totally. And I'm [01:03:00] 36 now.


[01:03:00] And like you said, in my 20s, I didn't, I wasn't thinking this way. And I'm really hopeful that I have a lot more life to live, but I think it is when, you know, I'm at that age where I'm seeing a lot of, I am experiencing a lot of people, you know, their parents or even folks who are close in age to me who, you know, Are gone and it made me really think about exactly like you said, I'm totally with you.


[01:03:21] I'm not going to be like, wow, I really wish I worked harder and got that promotion and made more money. No, it's going to be like, I wish I had more time with these people. I wish I told someone how I felt about them. I wish I, you know, lived with purpose and value and people felt and knew that. Yeah. And it's not that those things can't be important in a certain season of your life.


[01:03:40] It's just that in the grand scheme of things, I think when you reach a certain age, you start thinking of, but what is the most important, right? What's the most important thing to me now that I've done a lot of those things, because it didn't fulfill me the way I thought it would. Right, Connie. I want to go back to something you said about being one of the few being the only one [01:04:00] in a space, especially in the workplace.


[01:04:02] And I want to ask, because I, of course, I totally relate to that. And I've, I struggled with that, especially earlier on in my career. And now I own who I am, and I don't feel this way anymore, but I definitely did. How do you feel about when people use the word, um, The phrase imposter syndrome. Yeah. I mean, I have a love hate relationship with it because I understand it.


[01:04:24] I think I have felt at times like, Oh, should I be here? But my issue with imposter syndrome is that it creates this almost. internal struggle that is really not about me. Right. And so when I enter a space and I experienced imposter syndrome, I had flipped it around to say, ask myself, am I experiencing imposter syndrome or are those around me experiencing superiority complex because I know who I am.


[01:04:54] I'm a very confident person. I know what I bring to the table. I'm also, I would say [01:05:00] pretty humble and know where I had learning edges and. Opportunities for growth, but I, Oh, I belong in the spaces that I am invited to. And so I don't sit in that place anymore of thinking like, Oh, I, I shouldn't be here.


[01:05:15] I'm, you know, I'm not as worthy or as credible as the people around me to be here because it's not about me. It's about how has this space or this organization or, you know, this opportunity been decided to literally keep people like me out. You know, and part of it is probably overcompensating for some of those feelings and saying, no, I'll show you, actually, I will show you who I am.


[01:05:41] And that reframing has been so helpful for me because I don't sit in a place anymore of, you know, wondering if I am good enough and it also helps me walk in spaces differently. I think now when I enter a room, I feel confident. I feel excited versus, you know, [01:06:00] being shy or intimidated. I think, you know, for me, that reframe has been so helpful personally and professionally.


[01:06:08] Yeah. That's really powerful. I've been following some of the thought leadership on imposter syndrome and exactly what you said. That's really the tension. And nonetheless, I think Connie, there are so many women who, especially women of color, obviously haven't been able to move through it. I haven't been able to really believe that reframe and say, you're right.


[01:06:29] Yeah. There are things I need to learn, but I belong in this space. And if people feel like I don't, that's not my problem. That's not my issue. That's their issue to resolve. And I often think of the other struggles that women of color face today. And it's an evolution, right, Connie? Because some things you struggled with earlier on in your career and then you move through it and you feel you've evolved in a different way, but then you see, you know, the younger generation struggle with the same thing.


[01:06:56] I wonder if there are any like themes that you have [01:07:00] noticed or that you've experienced with regard to challenges that we face in the workplace that are really inhibitors to us feeling one good about ourselves and to advance and. Be successful in the way that we define it. Yeah. So many, but I think it really is, you know, you can't be what you can't see.


[01:07:20] And so for so many of us, we are paving the way for so many to come behind us. And I'm really lucky that I've had great examples of Latina leaders and women of color who have shown me what's possible. And as a result, I feel like I've been able to do that for those coming behind me too. There's a lot, right?


[01:07:41] I think it's. Even just showing up authentically, you know, I tell the story to, I think for a long time early on in my career, I was like, okay, the closer I can get to looking and being and sounding like an older white man, the more successful I will be. And then pretty quickly, I'm like, that's never going to happen for you.[01:08:00]


[01:08:00] That's actually, and not, and I don't even want that, right. I want to be myself. I want to talk how I talk. I want to engage how I want to engage. I want to dress how I want to dress and show up in the way that I want, you know? And so I think a lot of that is the socialization piece in terms of how we're socialized to quote unquote, be professional, because professionalism is such a loaded word, right?


[01:08:22] Like it's loaded in assumptions of what is worthy of respect. And again, you know, early on in my career, I think I bought into some of that and now I just completely reject it in a way that you just can't, I can't, and it's also, I don't sleep good at night when I'm performing all day. That's and I'm not going to perform all day.


[01:08:44] So, you know, I think that's a big one. It's just deconstructing this idea of professionalism and what it means. showing up authentically and not having this constant filter on or having to perform every time you walk into a room, you know, and I think there is a, there's [01:09:00] a level of code switching. I absolutely engage in, but it's not, I would never say it's at the detriment of my character or, you know, in a way that makes me feel like a phony or fake.


[01:09:11] So, you know, That's all been really critical. And I also just think, you know, thinking about the responsibilities we have that, you know, our white counterparts, our male counterparts just do not have, right? Like I feel an immense sense of wanting to give back and lift as I climb and be in community with other people who share my identity.


[01:09:33] And it can be exhausting at times, but it's also what completely fills my bucket. Yeah. You know, it's what makes me feel happy and it makes me feel engaged. So those are all challenges. I feel like I have worked through and I'm continuing to work through. I also think, you know, just at this stage of my career, like I said, I'm at this place where I feel like I really have come through a lot in terms of just knowing who I am and [01:10:00] that feels really good.


[01:10:01] But now I have a lot more agency and this kind of ties back a little bit to being the kid of immigrants, too, is I think for a long time in my life, I worked so hard to make doors open for me, like I was hustling to make all these doors open for me. And now I'm at this point in my life where I don't have to hustle.


[01:10:21] I'm getting just incredible opportunity. And now I can be choosy about which doors I walk through. And it's a real shift in identity when you're in a, like a hustler and struggle mentality versus one of being able to be more choosy. So those are all things I'm thinking about right now. And I know that other women of color are thinking about too.


[01:10:44] Yes. Connie. Yes, that's true. Yes. Connie, it's so funny because I'm like, have we lived parallel lives and not known it? But your comment on professionalism is so spot on Connie, I did the same thing, [01:11:00] you know, because I grew up when I said grew up. I mean, my career started really at a law firm. And that's like suits.


[01:11:08] It's, you know, and There were, I mean, very few, if any, people of color, right? Very few. And I totally did what you said. I'm like, OK, how do I look and sound like a man, a white man? Like, how do I do that? Because frankly, most of the women I saw were doing the same thing. Even though they were white women, they were trying to be like a man.


[01:11:30] I had no one to look at. Except when I started getting involved in certain Latina lawyer groups. And then I was like, Oh, this is my people. And then I started being more myself and Connie, I'm with you. Like at first I would never wear my hoop earrings like ever. And now I wear hoops every day. I'm like, F that like I am going to be all of me.


[01:11:53] I'm going to wear my fuchsia blazer. I'm going to wear my fuchsia shoes. In [01:12:00] fact, one of my friends, he said to me, you know, you're Dominican because I see you when you got pink on that bright ass pink, you know, yes. I feel like for so long earlier in my career, I was trying to fit what I thought was the mold.


[01:12:14] And what I realized over time is It does too much work. That's mentally and emotionally exhausting. Like you mentioned like the performance, even how you dress as a performance, like how you have to filter, how you talk as a performance. And I have this thing where I say boo a lot, like People that work with me a lot know when I say boo, I'll be like, no boo, and they laugh so much, but that's me.


[01:12:39] That's my personality and it's all love and I think there are so many women right now just trying to figure it out. Who are they? And I will say that it's something you have to move through and evolve into. I don't think there's like a quick fix or a quick answer. But I do think it's important for people to see your evolution and to see that, yeah, you may feel this way at [01:13:00] this point, but you can get to the other side of it.


[01:13:02] Yeah, it's so telling because if I'm being like really real, I've also had other women of color criticize me for that. Right. And like, I remember, this is actually pretty recently within the last year I had an older woman of color come up to me and basically, and I guess the most diplomatic way possible tell me I needed to tone it down.


[01:13:24] Right. And a comment like that probably like even five years ago would have joined me, right? I would have been so emotional about it. And I sat in this place of just trying to understand what she was actually telling me. It sounds terrible, but I kind of got to the point where I was like, wow, like I actually, I'm not even angry.


[01:13:41] I just feel sad that this person is not free. Yeah. You know what I mean? In some ways I feel very free. I talk how I want. I say what I want. And that is such a privilege. Yes. And so before I probably would have been angry or been like. You know, why would she say that, or did I do something wrong and question [01:14:00] myself?


[01:14:00] And now I'm able to be like, you know, it is such a privilege to feel free and to be in my own power, in my own space and be confident in that. And you know, I heard what she was saying in terms of, it came out of a place of concern and care truly to be like, Hey, I'm watching out for you, and so I'm going to give you this feedback.


[01:14:17] And I heard the feedback and you know, some of it was valid, but some of it, I was like, Oh, I'm not toning it down. Yeah. That's not what I'm here to do. Yeah. And in fact, it's, I think of it like if you are a certain way and you own that and you love yourself and you're grounded and you're anchored and you have great character, it's not you that has to change.


[01:14:41] It's the place that has to change. And then, you know, sometimes it's For people who take it a step further, they have to think about if this place doesn't fit me, then what do I do with that information? Right? Like, do I need to make a shift? You know, because there are places that will fit who you are.


[01:14:58] Like you don't have to [01:15:00] change for it. Yep. And I think a lot of people struggle with that. A lot of people will stay where they know it doesn't fit it for multiple reasons. And those are tough decisions because it's not just one or the other. It's there are probably multiple factors that go into that.


[01:15:15] But I always say that you're so right. It's a privilege to feel like you. Own who you are and that it's almost like criticism that comes your way. It's like, you have a bubble around you, like a protective barrier and some things you let come through. Cause you're like, okay, I can see that. But these things of, if the message was basically tone it down, you're like, Oh no, that's going to bounce right off of me because.


[01:15:44] I'm not there anymore. Like I've, I'm over that. Yeah. 100%. So Connie, tell me a little bit, because I know you're an expert in this space. You know, I would love to learn from you what you think the most important thing companies can do to [01:16:00] really move the needle to support an advanced woman of color in the workplace.


[01:16:04] We know that. There are, obviously there's like a legal landscape. There are things companies can do. We have personal agency, right? I really want to know from you, what do you feel are the critical needlemovers that companies can do to support us? Yeah. You know, I think the biggest thing, and I talk about this a lot in my work is leading with this idea of equity.


[01:16:27] Because I think right now what's happening is organizations and companies, they're leading with diversity. And so what they're doing is they're recruiting a bunch of diverse people into their organizations, and then they're trying to figure out inclusion and then figure out equity. And it never goes well because then you just have a revolving door of talent.


[01:16:44] And so I think what companies really need to do. Is start from the equity space. Start with the equity lens. You know, do you have policies that are truly equitable? And when I say equitable, I mean, do you have customized [01:17:00] tools, resources, practices that aid people in maximizing their outcomes? It's not a free path, and I think that's what gets a lot of people messed up is they think equity is unfair because we're giving people additional tools, resources, or experiences, but no, it's about maximizing outcome.


[01:17:19] And so are you leading with that space? And I think particularly for women, I will say, like at my company, we have different alternative work arrangements because we know that oftentimes women have additional responsibilities. But caregiving, whether that's for parents for children or others. And so, you know, are there alternative work arrangements that make it so that women can fill caregiving needs while also producing results for the organization?


[01:17:46] And, you know, that's just one example, but there are so many in terms of thinking about how do we provide equitable experiences for women of color? How do we, again, assess our policies, look at our practices, look at how we're doing pipelining, you know? I think I have a [01:18:00] love hate relationship with this idea of mentorship programs for marginalized groups.


[01:18:05] You know, we focus so much on fixing the person instead of fixing the conditions. And we think, okay, if this person just gets a mentor, they'll be successful. When in reality, it's, well, let's address the systemic barriers for why people actually need to get mentors. There's an access issue here. There's a sponsorship issue here.


[01:18:25] That's where I would tell companies and organizations to really lean into is, are, do you actually have an equitable. Organization. And if you do diversity and inclusion and belongingness will happen. So to me, it's always flipping it a little bit. And I think a lot of times folks are like, well, once we get diversity, the rest can happen.


[01:18:43] And I'm like, well, that's going to be way harder than you think. And I think you're not saying that mentoring isn't important, but you're saying is when it's the first solution you think of, that's actually not the solution we have to go. seven layers deeper than that and be like, okay, but why are [01:19:00] we even saying that's what they need?


[01:19:01] And why are we focusing on them? Why are we focusing on what's happening in terms of access, exposure, visibility, like what's happening at that level? Instead, let's focus there first, at least first. I mean, I'm like a broken record. I'm always like, you know, fixed conditions, not people, fixed conditions, not people.


[01:19:20] Because we, again, we get so stuck on, you know, this deficit mentality with individuals instead of saying we actually have a systemic issue that needs to be addressed. Connie, what would you say to people who say, well, why can't we focus on inclusion first? You know, I think that's fine, but you're going to bump into the same issues, right?


[01:19:40] And I see this a lot of times even, because I would say, you know, I've been at organizations that really want to lean into inclusion first. And as a result, you have a lot of people who are just really kind and nice and sweet, but are not getting to the heart of the issue, right? So they have good intentions, but their impact might not be excellent.


[01:19:56] It's not a bad thing, you know, I definitely I'll take it, but [01:20:00] in my experience, it's a much more successful approach to be able to lean into equity first and then let the inclusion and belongingness happen as a result. Okay, honey. So we have the rapid fire round. Are you ready for, you know what? I'm not going to say rapid fire.


[01:20:14] I'm going to say these quick questions where you answer quickly, briefly. Are you ready? I'm ready. Okay, favorite book or books. So I love autobiographies and I just finished Sonia Sotomayor's. Okay. That's my favorite at the moment. Okay. Person who inspires you the most. I can't choose. I'm going to say both my parents.


[01:20:38] Favorite mantra or saying that helps to motivate you, inspire you, or that helps get you through hard times. Busta Rhymes, uh, don't talk about it, be about it. Oh! Good to talk to you. You've been Busta Rhymes. I love it. I love it. Okay. And what does humble rising mean to you? Lifting as you [01:21:00] climb. I love that.


[01:21:02] How can people find you, work with you, how can they connect with you if they would like to do that? I'm very active on LinkedIn, search me, first name is Constanza, last name is Cabello. So always, I'm always checking my LinkedIn, I'm also on Twitter, Dr. Connie I, and that's the best way. And you know, I'm always out and about at community events in Boston, so don't ever hesitate to call up to me and say hi, I love connecting with people when I'm out.


[01:21:31] I will add that info in the show notes for the episode. So if you're listening, just go and you can click on those links and connect with Connie So feel free to do that. Connie, thank you so much for joining me. This was such a lovely and really powerful conversation. I feel like we live parallel lives.


[01:21:48] Like I really do. And so it was great to talk to you and I learned so much from you. So thanks. Thank you. Thank you so much again for just the invite to talk with you. Just [01:22:00] appreciate the opportunity to share my story.


[01:22:11] If you're a woman lawyer or a woman working in other fast paced corporate environments, And you're looking to feel less overwhelmed and unsure and more empowered and fulfilled in your career and your personal life. Join my Women Empowering Women email community by going to www.ariveevagas.com to sign up.


[01:22:34] Or you can click the link in the note of this episode. Don't forget to also grab my five step guide on how to get clarity. On what needs to change to feel good about your life in this season and how to make that change happen. You can get it at www.ariveevagas.com or scroll down in the notes to this episode and click on the link.


[01:22:58] Finally, [01:23:00] if you're loving these episodes, spread that love by reviewing and rating this podcast so we can get more women feeling heard, feeling seen, inspired, and empowered. Until then, remember that you have Way more power than you can imagine to create the change you want and deserve in your life. To live a life you feel good about.


[01:23:26] You're powerful now, so harness it. Now is your time.[01:24:00]




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