We are highlighting a previous episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Corey is the second guest in this podcast that does not self-identify as Latinx. He is of Jamaican descent. And we have invited him to share his journey because it is important to build empathy and see the commonalities across communities. And even though we focus on Latinx stories, learning about other communities can always inspire and enrich us.
In this conversation, we go into Corey's experiences growing up and entering corporate America, his personal growth, and his passion for building community. And along the way, Corey gives us powerful advice and reminds us of the strength in unity and building community.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“No matter who I am... or what I'm doing, people are going to have a certain perception.” -Corey
Corey shares with us his experience during his first internship at a firm. At that time, he was 18 years old and wanted to have more autonomy and do what he desired but was not giving much importance to his appearance. Corey was comfortable wearing his dusty and not well-maintained corn rows. But soon enough, his way of dressing and presenting himself began to change after a lady at an NBA store assumed he worked there.
After this experience, Corey decided to present himself better. But even then, he was still perceived as someone who would fit the aspect of someone who would work at an NBA store than at a firm. And that was how he grew to understand that no matter what, there will be people who already have a perception of him and have decided who he is and where he belongs.
“I've been switching who I am since I've been out of the womb. Doing it in a corporate environment... is nothing new.” -Corey
Just like many of us, Corey grew up feeling that he needed to change or do certain things to fit in with a group or be accepted.
For some of us, it goes from hiding a big part of our identity through suppression to wearing clothes we do not like to even entertaining conversations that we do not feel passionate about.
And for Corey, as he was growing up, this meant wearing certain products to seem cool and be accepted.
“When you are focusing on fitting in, you are not focusing on yourself.” -Corey
Corey had moments in his life when he cared about the latest trends and how to look cool to fit in. But that eventually became too much for him. He realized that he was focusing his energy and attention on things that were not him and that didn’t feel right and genuine and that in doing so, he was not focusing on himself.
After this realization, Corey shifted his attention more toward himself and his personal growth, and that focus has been what has taken him to the places he is now and to be a great inspiration to people.
Corey cares about his personal growth and building community to reach out to others. Listen to this episode to learn more:
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