On ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves. We would love to feature everyone in our community on their own episode. That said, we publish one episode a week...so we created a story submission option for people to self-publish & share their experiences with the world.
Tell me about a time when you repressed parts of your authentic self?
Camille Cannon - I previously worked with someone who said things to my face, about my culture that I will never forget. She said found all of the Latinx people she worked with to be "sneaky and unreliable." Also at this job, I saw marketing materials (ads and press releases) being developed with careless and discriminatory language and imagery and I spoke up. I quickly learned that trying to explain myself to this person was useless, but I never gave up advocating for underrepresented communities and speaking up against hurtful language (that never should be included in the first place!!)
This experience working for this particular boss actually inspired me to show up MORE authentically, because it was my way of rebelling against her. I refused to straighten my curly hair and I proudly wore lipstick and hoops ("like a congresswoman," as AOC famously said.)
These experiences and others at this role inspired me to leave, and I was very grateful to land at a place led, for the first time in my career, by a Half-Mexican woman (just like me!).
I show up as myself daily now at work, and at school: I am in a part-time MBA program in the evenings and weekends. I am a first-generational college student and first woman in my immediate family to build a career. I am very grateful to a generous scholarship and fellowship which covers 90% of my MBA tuition, which is almost unheard of for business school.
When do you feel the most comfortable being your authentic self?
Camille Cannon - Three years ago I moved cities, leaving behind my family, friends and career. I moved to a city where I didn't know anyone and six months later--the pandemic began. A year into that, I was fortunate to start a rigorous, STEM designated MBA program (as a former entertainment journalist!), while continuing to work full-time. I have felt sooooo out of my comfort zone for a long time that I feel like I am challenging myself every day to learn more about myself and show up in that way. I remind myself that doing so opens the doors for someone else. Being me means attracting the right people and opportunities into my life. Being anything else is a recipe for disaster--I have learned from experience!
I share these "unprofessional" parts of myself on LinkedIn--like my recent DJ gig, the time my tweet was upvoted to the front page of Reddit, what it meant to me to attend the Netflix comedy festival, to help redefine what it means to be professional, and how we are all so much outside of our work.
What would give you the confidence to be your authentic self, regardless the environment?
Camille Cannon - Thinking of other young women who will come after me. I will be doing them a disservice if I shrink or change myself--they will think they have to do the same to succeed, which I don't believe to be true.
Have a story to share? Let us know here for an opportunity to be featured in the podcast!