On this throwback Thursday, we are highlighting a previous episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast that featured Samanda Brown. In this episode, we explore her career journey as well as the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Samanda Brown is a Dominican immigrant who was raised in the South Bronx and now resides in Harlem. She grew up in one of New York City’s most impoverished neighborhoods and made it out. She never thought she would be where she is now, having a life she didn’t think possible for someone who grew up like her. Now Samanda is empowered to close the racial wealth gap by building generational wealth and educating her community to do the same.
In this conversation, we explore her journey as she began to embrace her authenticity. We also talk about issues with colorism and how her parents stopped speaking to her for some time because she married a Black man.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“I know I'm not being my most authentic self when I'm reserved... and that's me at work.” -Samanda Brown
Growing up, Samanda was white in the eyes of her Dominican family or Black friends, and she was Black for people who were not Hispanic. And because she was playing both fields, it was hard for her to understand who she authentically was.
As an adult in the workplace, another layer took form as she found herself in an environment where she realized she had to suppress parts of herself and become more reserved.
“What they also teach you is that part of moving up in corporate America is building relationships.” -Samanda Brown
It was exhausting for Samanda to pretend to be interested in ski trips that her co-workers would talk about, but she would show interest and ask questions to connect with them and build relationships.
We do things like that all the time to try to fit in and be part of a conversation, but often, we forget that there is another possibility. That maybe, if we show up authentically, we might find commonalities or build bigger and stronger connections relating to others as our authentic selves.
“Now that I have a daughter... I want her to grow up around people that look like her.” -Samanda Brown
After having a daughter, Samanda has realized how important it is for her to embrace her culture and learn more about it.
Not only does Samanda wants her daughter to grow up around people who look like her to make sure she feels good and like she belongs, but she also wants to expose her to the cultures that make up her identity. For example, Samanda likes to play Spanish music, Hip Hop, and RnB from the 90s in the car so that her daughter feels her Dominican and Black side through music.
As Samanda shows up as her authentic self, she teaches her daughter also to embrace herself. Listen to this episode to learn more:
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