Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Latino Leaders Program: UCLA Business School

Last week, I participated in the Latino Leaders Program by way of the company I work for. The program was ran by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and connected about 50 colleagues from across the nation and from a variety of different business lines and management levels.  I took away some some great valuable insight shared here:

"Bring Your Whole Self to Work"
Bernardo M. Ferdman, Ph.D. http://bernardoferdman.org/

One of our speakers was Dr. Ferdman who's studies specialize in multiculturalism and inclusion in the work place. Dr. Ferdman helped me see the value I add to my organization due to the unique contributions I am able to make just by virtue of being me. Through the exercises and discussions we had around this theme, I was able to take a moment to assess the sources of my identity that are at times obvious (Latina, woman, young) or sometimes a bit hidden (world traveler, foodie, hiker) and how these aspects when integrated at work can help me be successful. I realized the value of a work environment in which I can bring my whole self to work. To reach this, I plan to create opportunities to share and learn about myself and others at work. I plan to make an extra effort to invite colleagues out to lunch or to ask them more about their background and interests. Are there aspects about your identity which are important to you but are hidden at work? Is there a way you can integrate these aspects of your identity into your work life?

Emotional Intelligence: Speak up and Listen
Dr. Jorge Cherbosque http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x34161.xml

Dr. Jorge Cherbosque, a clinical psychologist, was an animated and charming presenter who helped me explore my personal level of emotional intelligence (E.I.) and how to use E.I. to resolve conflicts. I learned the importance of inviting emotion into conversations by asking questions like "How did you feel" or "what's at stake" when dealing with conflict. As a Latina, I found his presentation incredibly valuable. I think often times, Latinas can feel hesitant to speak up or seem like they question authority or disrespect hierarchy when they do. Dr. Cherbosque helped me see that when I hold back, I run the risk of creating a work environment where my creativity or talents are not fully leveraged which can be damaging to both me and the projects I work on. I learned that I need to have the courage to have difficult conversations and to invite dialogue by listening and asking emotionally valuable questions. So, I encourage you to speak up and also practice being a good listener in order to achieve joy at work.

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