Your Impact Matters
This is why International Women’s Day is so important. Because every woman — regardless of where she comes from — has an innate right to pursue her dreams.
But I would be naïve if I said that that right was free of bias. The truth is that not only do we all face bias, we all have bias. Maybe you think certain things about me — because of how I look, because my mother never spoke English, or because I grew up in Brooklyn. This doesn’t make you a “bad” person — it just means that you need a strategy for how to deal with and overcome your bias.
I can personally say that the ability to acknowledge and overcome bias has been something that I have benefited from immensely. The executives that I have worked with over my 20-year career have embraced all aspects of me and supported my journey. They viewed my work as important and saw the contributions I brought to the table.
Not only did I receive this support at a one-on-one level, I also benefited from this support at a company-wide level.
When I first came to State Street I was blown away by the large number of employee networks and the focus that State Street places on unconscious bias trainings. Our Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity team makes a concerted effort to address and help people overcome their bias.
Every woman — regardless of where she comes from — has an innate right to pursue her dreams.
If you want to get started on breaking through bias, there are lots of ways to get started. Joining an employee network or getting involved in GIDE events is a great way to start. But, if you are a woman like me — maybe you come from a diverse background, maybe you don’t have the same upbringing as some of your peers, or maybe you just don’t always “fit the mold” — live your life and your success proudly.
One of the most important things for me was seeing other women like me succeeding. I hope that is a gift that I can give to others (this blog feels like a great place to start!).
If you are a leader or a colleague of someone like me, your support and advocacy are needed and appreciated. Start by tackling your own bias. Join an employee network, take the unconscious bias training, really examine how you can break through your own bias. From that foundation, you are in a position to be an ally.
Ultimately, we all have a role to play in this work. And we can all make a difference. My challenge to you is to start making that difference today.
Landa Hernandez is a senior-level executive assistant at State Street. With a passion for public speaking, Landa is part of our Toastmasters Club and a member of the Global Inclusion employee resource group.