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.
Monserrat Moreno aka ‘Monse’ is a passionate marketing and advertising professional with expertise in multicultural audiences. She has worked across various companies like Publicis Groupe, Pandora, and Facebook. In 2018, she was named “Top 40 Under 40 Latinos in Chicago” by Negocios Now and was a Chicago Latino Networks 2017 “Latina Professional Award” finalist. Today, Monse serves as the Global Diversity Employment Brand Marketing Manager at Facebook where she leads global strategy and activation development across the recruiting function. She drives the scaled, innovative and culturally-relevant brand building programs that enable a global recruiting organization to attract the world’s top, diverse talent.
In this conversation, Monse Moreno takes us on a journey through her experience between professionalism and authenticity.
These are some of the episode highlights:
Although Monse Moreno is a Mexican American, tech company marketer, that grew up in the south side of Chicago, she jokes that her true authentic self is a British television junkie that loves to play board games with her family and friends.
Monse reports that the Latino community she grew up with is really dynamic and that there’s so much happening there right now. According to her, 26th street in Chicago is the heart of that community as it generates more revenue for the city than the high luxe areas. Monse feels that just goes to show the vibrancy of the Latino community.
“There’s always that dynamic of ‘here’ and ‘there’ but it's more parental. It's very hard to just say I'm Mexican because I am so American, and I can't deny that, which creates conflict in my Latinidad.” - Monse Moreno
Just as it is for Monse, it’s fairly common for Latinos to feel like they don’t really belong here nor there. It doesn’t matter if we’re in America or on ancestral lands because wherever we go, we’re made to feel as though we’re not enough of one thing or the other to belong. Leaving us, then, in this limbo of cultural disassociation while attempting to stay afloat in the midst of it all.
Monse speaks of being in accelerated reading and math classes, which granted her the opportunity to attend a boarding High School in Massachusetts. At the age of fourteen, Monse feels this choice best exemplifies the sense of self agency she’s always had.“I just started figuring it out and making friends with minorities and we were figuring it out all together.” As most of us do, when we go away for the first or tenth time, we gravitates towards our own. We learn to find ourselves by our struggles, our language, our skin colors, our mannerisms.
Leaving home as an eighteen year old is eye-opening and like it did for Monse, it changes you. The friends you make, the classes you take, the organizations you join, they all influence you. If you’re doing it right, they should empower, inspire, motivate, and help you grow. And so, for Monse, having to mature at a much younger age than most teenagers, she learned that, “During the formative years, everyone explores and changes who they are and tries to figure it out. The things I had the chance of being exposed to changed who I am.” Going away to schools outside of our elements should have an impact on who we turn out to be or else it would have all been a waste, as well as, a great disappointment to our parents and grandparents that sacrificed so much. As children of immigrants, it is our duty to carry the torch, to get a degree and a “professional” job. For me, it almost felt like an unspoken responsibility I innately felt I had. I knew this would be the way to repay my relatives for their sacrifices.
Monse reiterates how boarding school instilled in her values that she still upholds today, she says, “It was ingrained in me over four years to be the best, to make a plan, to have an action and do it on your own. That kind of behavior is definitely cemented during those four years." Once you build that habit or discipline, it might prove difficult to deviate from it especially if its leading you towards progress.
She states that she never chose to purposefully hide [her hair] but because we are always conditioned by society, we constantly suppress who we are at our core. Monse is certain that the more conversations we have, the more we learn, and the more unity we can create. Monse says, “We’ve been suppressing and ignoring and not talking about the colors that actually exist in our community.” Therefore, we must recognize that normalizing multiculturalism is long overdue and so, if there isn’t a blueprint available then it is our responsibility to create one.
Feeling a sense of responsibility to create connections, inspire others, and help everyone seguir adelante, Monse believes that the workplace could have transformative, professional experiences through resources groups that can help move the mission forward. She shares, “The north star is gonna get you through. Everything I need to do is in service to normalizing multiculturalism.”
Monse states, “What inspires me is the responsibility to serve because I recognize how much exposure to so many different spaces has led to me being who I am. So, I'm always thinking about how I can expose others to more because the more they are exposed to, the more they can see as possibility.” As someone who also has had the privilege to explore and challenged herself to practice curiosity, I would agree that the more we are exposed to experiences we are unaccustomed to, the more opportunities for growth and expansion we have. These experiences change you and then you feel the urge to expose someone else to similar life changing experiences.
Monse Moreno inspires us to change the narrative by showing up as our authentic selves.
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