Work vs IG with Claudio E. Cabrera

Work vs IG with Claudio E. Cabrera

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.

Claudio E. Cabrera is an award-winning audience development expert [SEO], journalist and future author. Cabrera began his journalism career in 2004, landed an internship at the historic black newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News and covered the 2005 mayoral campaign and the likes of former president Barack Obama, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Shaquille O'Neal to name a few. In 2006, he won an award from the Independent Press Association. With his success in this space, Folio Magazine named him one of the top audience development managers in the country in 2013. In 2016, he joined the New York Times as a Senior Digital Strategist and is now their Deputy Off-Platform Director of News SEO. 

In this conversation, Claudio E. Cabrera takes us on a journey through his experience between professionalism and authenticity.


These are some of the episode highlights:

For Claudio, authenticity means having your own approach to what you share or don’t share. “I do think it’s important, in whatever position that you’re in, if you have some sort of public image, for you to be as transparent as possible." He thinks the generation we’re in only focuses on the highlights but does not necessarily focus on the process and what it takes to get there. 

Claudio feels that due to shame and embarrassment, “We tend to bury our bad moments.” However, he also believes that those bad moments do lead to the great breakthroughs we have as individuals. Being your authentic self with friends, partner, or at work takes different approaches but the best way to be authentic depends solely on the individual and how they want to be. 

He goes on to say, “When I first graduated college, I only worked at companies that were focused on Latino or Black media. So, I was never in rooms with white folks outside of college. In a professional setting, I was used to being around us, in a sense.” 

Cladio mentions that working at his first corporate job was different because he couldn’t walk around the office doing things that felt normal to him, like listen to music loudly and openly talk about race, discrimination, culture, and social justice amongst his colleagues. Claudio says, “Those are things I immediately missed because you didn’t know who would be willing to talk about those things and then you’re always sensitive when there is a race issue involved.”

Claudio believes that when we enter majority white organizations, as people of color, we experience impostor syndrome. We start believing we don’t belong even though we’ve accomplished so much in our careers, “When you enter a place that is not as diverse, you think you’re a representative…you put this crazy pressure on yourself.”

“I had to get to a place to stop creating stories in my head,” Claudio states.  Therapy helped create a system of tracking accomplishments and this system then helped dissipate the impostor syndrome much quicker. 

Claudio mentioned that eventually he did start making friends within the office but that only occurred once he started opening up more, “I confided in people that didn’t have that much access to the higher ups but I also confided in those people that were open to listen. It was a lot of studying people. I naturally let my guard down… Then I started talking to people who were really comfortable with me, that listened to me, or collaborated with me.” 

“People often forget of the color dynamics within groups of people of color,” commented Claudio. Due to High School bullying, it took a while for him to embrace blackness as a whole. As one of the darkest Dominicans in school, Claudio was taunted and shamed for his skin complexion, which then made him run away from blackness. However, with the help of therapy, reading, and studying, Claudio learned to longer shy away from that identification. 

“As my writing kept growing, there was a little anxiety because I was being so transparent and honest. I was afraid of what people might think of me at work if they read it.” - Claudio E. Cabrera

After a while, Claudio stopped giving it much thought. He came to the realization that he was writing about relatable life experiences and thus he stopped concerning himself with what others thought about his form of self-expression. Claudio learned that for his emotional wellbeing it would be best if he just let those limiting beliefs go. Realizing that his stories were a bridge uniting individuals going through similar situations, Claudio understood that the connection was what it was all about. He states, “I think in the moments when you are able to be transparent and authentic, when you get feedback, comments, and messages you actually put yourself in a position where you learn from others too.” 


Claudio E. Cabrera inspires us to change the narrative by showing up as our authentic selves. Make sure to connect with Claudio on Instagram.

Listen to this episode to learn more about his journey: Spotify & Apple Podcasts

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