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.
Heather Conneely is a Bolivian American with over 20 years of experience as a Marketing Professional. She has held executive positions at Univision Communications and Discovery Communications. And currently, she is the CPG Industry Manager of Facebook, focusing on the digital and mobile transformation journey for Beauty, Personal, and Home Care global brands.
In this conversation, Heather talks to us about what it was like for her not to have leadership representation of people that looked like her and how she realized that being a bilingual, bi-cultural, female Latina manager who shares her vulnerability was her strength.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“It's harder to be your authentic self when you're in a room full of people that don't look like you.” -Heather Conneely
For Heather, this mostly took place in client dinners where she would not get the food she was craving, like ropa vieja, tacos, or food with lots of spices in it, because she felt that it would not be food that the clients would enjoy at a shared table.
But with time, she realized that the fear of being judged is not something that goes away completely. We just learn to better navigate life with it and to show up authentically despite that fear. And through sales, she came to see more clearly that even when people seem too different from us, we can still find some common ground to help us connect.
“I tried to be more like leadership, and leadership at the time was not Hispanic.” -Heather Conneely
Heather talks to us about how she didn’t have any representation in leadership in her first work experience at Univision. All the Latinos she saw there were working as Media Assistants, and most stayed there. And this made her wonder why the people that looked like her were not going up the ranks.
So when Heather started to apply for other job positions within the company, she thought that there would be more chances of her getting the role by being more like leadership, which was not Hispanic at the time. And to be and look like the leaders, she wore pantsuits and blazers because it seemed more professional (even though she hated those).
Eventually, Heather came back to her true essence, and little by little, she began to bring that to the table as a manager in other companies. And currently, as a female Latina manager at Facebook, she continues to see how her representation as her authentic, vulnerable self inspires others to be their authentic selves and supports them as she works to bring them up.
“I discovered that my uniqueness was my advantage.” -Heather Conneely
At Discovery Communications, where Heather was the only Latina, she was in a workspace where she was encouraged to be herself. But while this helped her see that her uniqueness was her advantage, a factor that helped Heather feel more comfortable in herself was the maturity that comes with age.
With the years, Heather began to know herself more at her deepest core and feel good in her skin as she was and who she was. She also understood that not every person in the world has to be open to her. And with that understanding came the acceptance of being okay with not being able to please everyone and allowing herself to be who she truly is.
Heather reminds us of the importance of knowing ourselves at our deepest core to show up as our authentic selves.
Have a story to share? Let us know here for an opportunity to be featured in the podcast!