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  • Kim Meninger

Exploring the First-Generation Experience

Updated: May 12, 2023

Exploring the First-Generation Experience

In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we explore the “first-generation” experience in the workplace. Maybe that means you’re the first in your family to go to college, or the first in your family to be born in the U.S., or the first in your family to shift from poverty to middle class. My guest this week, Carly Goldsmith, shares her first-generation story as we discuss the unique challenges we experience when assimilating to the workplace and striving to belong.

About My Guest

Carly Goldsmith brings over two decades of human resource, business and coaching experience to work for her clients. As a coach, she partners with senior and mid-level leaders to leverage their strengths to maximize personal engagement and impact created in their roles. She has a passion for working with individuals who identify as women and first-generation professionals. Compassionate and intuitive by nature, Carly’s facilitation style is often described as engaging, insightful, and empowering.

Carly has coached leaders and professionals across multiple industries throughout the US and globally. In addition to her coaching, she has designed and facilitated in-person and virtual workshops and leadership development programs. Most recently, Carly has worked with leaders, groups and teams at Deloitte, Amazon Robotics, Charles River Associates, Verve, Teradata, Mass General Brigham, Alexion, Verizon, CFGI, and Squarespace. In addition, she has supported women leaders in Executive Education programs at Bentley University and the Prism Program offered by the 3D Leadership Group. She also is the co-founder of Velocity Quest for Women, a global virtual community offering members programs to equip them with the tools to generate momentum towards new possibilities in work and life.

Prior to launching her business, Carly worked at Deloitte in a variety of human resource roles advising and supporting leaders of the firm to acquire top talent, manage employee relations, and develop the leadership competencies of their staff. As part of Deloitte’s innovative internal coaching team, Carly coached individuals, groups, and teams at all levels. She also held human resource and recruiting positions at New York Newsday.

Carly holds a BA in Psychology from Boston University. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation. She is also trained in several coaching approaches including somatic transformation and certified in a variety of assessments including Leadership Versatility Index (LVI) 360, the Hogan Personality assessments, MBTI, Leadership Architect, VOICES 360, EQi and Team Diagnostics.

Carly resides in the greater Boston area and enjoys tending her garden, deepening her mindfulness and meditation practice, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her two children and husband.


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Kim Meninger Welcome, Carly, I am so excited for this conversation. You and I have had so many offline conversations about these kinds of themes, and I can’t wait to share them with the audience. And before we jump in, I would love to invite you to introduce yourself.

Carly Goldsmith Oh, thanks, Kim. I’m so excited to be here as well. My name is Carly Goldsmith, and I’m a leadership coach. I work one on one, in groups, leadership development programs, corporate and just individuals coming to me as well. And I’ve been coaching for about 20 years now. So it’s just a little bit about me here in the greater Boston area. Well, and

Kim Meninger I have to say, and I don’t even know if I’ve said this to you. I may have at one point, but I feel like when you and I first met, we were in a group call. And I just remember thinking, oh my gosh, like, I have to know her, we have to be friends. Like so much of our experience was so similar in terms of our career direction. And when we had kids and all of these different like life things. And I remember that we just started having all of these really great conversations. And one of the, one of the many themes that we’ve been talking about is this idea of how much harder it is for people in the workplace who are the first generation and so I want to start by just asking you to share a little bit about your story. And then we’ll talk more about what we mean by first-generation.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, thank you. And it’s been such a great conversation that we’ve been having, over the years, and I’ve shared with you, right, I’ve had my own impostor syndrome over my career. And I think in deep reflection of it, I think a lot of it does stem from my background, from being first-generation college graduate to first-generation in kind of a corporate professional world. My mom was born in Puerto Rico, she came to the US mainland as a child, she grew up in a lot of poverty, although, you know, coming to quote-unquote America was still the land of opportunity for her, you know, she was able to graduate high school, my grandmother made it to eighth grade before she was told by her parents that she had to stop going to school to help with the kids and her, you know, her siblings and then work to make more money for the family. So they, you know, my mom grew up trying to, you know, make it better than her family. And they really instilled a lot of that in me. So I became the first generation college graduate, and through the corporate world did that for about 12, little over 12 years, before starting my own coaching business. So first generation business owner, I guess, as well, about 14 years ago, and I certainly grew up hearing about the struggles of my mom, being a first generation can’t call immigrant if the Puerto Rico’s part of the US, but you know, she migrated here from that. And then I started to hit some of my own challenges in college, in, in the workplace of not quite feeling fully belonging in that environment and trying to assimilate and having that from those extra challenges. So that’s a little bit of, of that, you know, I spent a lot of my corporate life in HR, recruiting, you know, talent development, learning and development, and really became a watcher, if you will, of how do I do things in this environment and what’s accepted and what’s not. And I know that that held it. I held back a lot. I think, in my early career of should I say things? Should I not? Can I voice my opinion? Is it credible? Does it matter? Because I didn’t quite feel like I belonged there. And then, I would say, you know, corporate-wide, I got involved a lot with DEI efforts at the organization. I was part of, part of employee resource groups. And then as a coach, just really being drawn to working with women, with first-generation professionals, with other underrepresented groups, as they shift from individual contributor to manager to more senior leaders, and really helping them navigate those extra challenges that they face that I’ve faced myself. And I see them facing at some of those critical junctures. So they don’t leak out of the pipeline. So they’re able to stay within organizations and make the changes to create it to be in an environment that works for them as well.

Kim Meninger Yeah, I mean, so much of what you’re sharing resonates with me too. So I was a first-generation college graduate in my family and also going into the corporate world, although I had members of my family who had done that not in the same way that I did, and there’s definitely that sense of you’re almost straddling different worlds, and you’re not quite sure where you belong. And I remember for me, there was always an economic component to it too, because we didn’t have a lot of money. And when I went to, to a college where there were a lot of rich people, and all my friends were, you know, where we went on vacation. Next, in which Spring Break destination, are we going into it? And I was like, I can remember a time when we went on spring break. And like, I basically had no money left at all. And we were at this casino, I had two nickels. And I remember, I dropped them on the ground, and I’m looking around and people were like, how can we help you find something? I’m like, Oh, am I just dropped into hearing because I was afraid to say, I cared so much about like, two nickels when everybody else is just, you know, has unlimited credit, and their parents are funding their, their stay. And so that really changes your Yeah.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, absolutely. That resonates a lot. My parents were like you, you get a job. You know, we’re gonna help pay as much as we can to contribute a little bit for college, but everything is on you. Right, you know, and I had my loans, and I had, you know, my jobs to make that money. Because that was it. Yeah, that independence mattered a lot more.

Kim Meninger Exactly. And I think it’s, you know, one of the things that I often think about, too, when you talk about being the first to do something is that you didn’t grow up marinating in that world, right? So if you are somebody who has had generations before you have people in the corporate world, right, your parents were probably talking about their work experience, they probably had their friends over and everybody was kind of you’re, you’re not even necessarily consciously aware of what they’re talking about. But it feels familiar to you once you step into that world. And if you’ve never, you don’t have any role models, you don’t have people in your close orbit who have been down that path before it feels really scary.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah. And, you know, I think that and the other thing, I’ve certainly noticed, at least with my growing up of my family, we I came from workers, right? They were the workers, they did the work, they weren’t the leaders, they weren’t the managers. So even this idea of, of being one of them, versus one of us was a big transition, and a different mindset of what’s expected. And you know, what do we have the right to and, and how do we see ourselves? So I think it’s a corporate thing, and also this access or entitlement to leadership, versus doing the work?

Kim Meninger Yeah, that’s a really good point, too. So what are kind of some of the examples I think people can pick up on from what we’re talking about what we mean by first-generation, but if we sort of expand the definition, so more people can see themselves in it? Well, what do you think of when you think of this idea of being first-generation?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, I think some of the things we’re talking about, you know, first and foremost, if you’re born outside of the US, then you’re coming here, maybe as a child, through college, maybe even into adulthood. So you’ve got that kind of first-generation of being here could be that you’re the first generation born here of parents of immigrants. First to go to college, like we’re talking about, first to enter white-collar professions coming from blue-collar parents or low-income parents. And then I think there’s also this shift of going from poverty, low-income working class, to upper middle class or, you know, to something that’s, that’s of higher level of affluence. So I think all of those are first-generation and different shifts.

Kim Meninger Yeah, I once was giving a presentation on impostor syndrome. And, and a woman shared that she had grown up on a farm and her whole family were farmers, and she actually migrated out to the northeast to work for tech company. It was just complete culture shock, right?

Carly Goldsmith Oh, yeah. Yeah. I love that. It is a culture shock for sure. Yeah.

Kim Meninger So what, what makes this hard? What are some of the patterns that you’ve seen out there?

Carly Goldsmith Gosh, you know, I think there are several things that are hard and difficult. And I’ve seen them personally, and I’ve seen them with my clients as well. I think primarily if we’re talking about the corporate world, we need to acknowledge that it was designed by and primarily for white male employees, who have a stay-at-home spouse or wife that, that helps with everything else. And that’s how success and, and you know, what makes a good employee, a good leader, and that’s what it’s measured against. So I think if you come into that workplace and you don’t fit that mold, you’re entering already feeling like you’re an imposter who doesn’t belong there. Right. So I think there’s a bit of that At culture shock, as we just talked about, in that environment. And, you know, when I think about some patterns I often am seeing with my clients who are also, you know, define themselves as first-generation. There’s a couple of things that they do, I think, to overcompensate or things that they find get in the way. The first is this pattern of overworking, of taking on everything, and anything to prove your value to yourself to others. I love this expression it over rowing the boat. So if you’re familiar with Susan Brady, I know you are author of Mastering Your Inner Critic, and she’s the CEO of Simmons University Institute for inclusive leadership. And she shares that term and I love it because we’re just keep rowing harder and harder and harder to prove that we have value, that we have something to contribute and that we belong there. And what’s interesting for first-generation professionals, they’re working really hard, and they’re trying to prove their value. And I think something that I mentioned before, too, there’s also the subtle nuance this feeling of who am I to think I’m too good for the, the grunt work, you know, and as they’re, they’re moving up and becoming leaders and managers, there’s sometimes this unconscious block that, you know, I don’t want to feel entitled, I don’t want to, you know, delegate things that I wouldn’t roll my sleeves up and do. So there’s a little bit of a desire to get ahead. And also, can I be one of that? You know, that subtle piece?

Kim Meninger Yeah. Can we pause there for a minute? Yeah, that’s really important. I think I can really identify with this too, because I was always more comfortable when I was working in a corporate environment, talking with people who were more junior to me, people, I was really good friends with all the admins like, I never wanted to be perceived as thinking I was better than anybody else. Yeah. Because there is this sort of natural. I don’t want to put it this starkly, but almost us versus them. Right. So it’s like, am I part of the leadership? Or am I part of the worker class? Right, like the worker population? And, and you don’t want to necessarily put both feet in the leadership camp because it feels like a betrayal? Yeah. You know, generations of people before you who have been in those positions, and you’re sensitive to the challenges that they face. Right. There’s just, it’s a different level of awareness. I think that if you grew up with parents who were senior executives, and that’s been, that’s the worldview that you’ve adopted?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I don’t always think that we’re conscious of that subtlety. I know, it took me a while to recognize that and to see that, at play at times, for me, that it was almost a way of self-sabotaging the this, the ascent, the success of my offense in corporate America.

Kim Meninger And what strikes me as we’re talking about this is that I think that empathy and that sensitivity are incredibly powerful for leaders to have. It’s the fact that we’re talking about this, this overworking that undermines it, right? Like, if we could get better at that part of it, I actually think that being able to relate to the experiences of other people in our workplace would be better for everybody.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, I mean, I think that’s part of my, like, deep passion to make a change is that I think there are so many whose full potential are not coming out in an organization because they are holding back consciously or not. You know, I think that actually leads to the second pattern that I see, which is this, this effort of hiding, who usefully are in the workplace of not bringing, you know, maybe the low-income status that you’ve had, or the, you know, the fact that your family came from another country or that you never went, you know, no one in your family went to college, right? So we hide these things. Because if you knew, then you wouldn’t want me here. You wouldn’t let me stay here in this place with you. So, you know, we see that over and over and I’m thinking about a couple of clients that I worked with, they were like, gosh, you know, I can’t I don’t want people to know that, you know, my mom once got arrested because she stole food to feed us. Or you know, that, that there’s drug abuse in my family. All these stereotypical things that come. And it takes a lot of energy to hide it. And there’s this fear that you’re always carrying of, are they going to find me out? And then, I think what’s interesting, and I’m thinking about that now, you know, 25 plus years into my career, and seeing it with others is, there’s sometimes this moment of assimilation, right? Like I did it, I’ve, I’ve fooled them all. I’m accepted. And then there’s this complicated feeling of, well, now you don’t know who I really am. And now I don’t feel seen. And now I have this longing to have my whole self be seen. But is it too late, you know, to be known?

Kim Meninger Yeah, that’s a really important point, too. And it’s interesting because it almost makes me think of the concept of code-switching to, you know, and this idea that you’re somebody else when you’re with your, your close friends or your family or and you show up differently when you’re in a work environment, and just that feeling of lacking authenticity, or that you don’t want to look like I’m too good for friends and family. And then in my work environment, I have to put on this certain kind of mask. And so like you’re saying, the exhaustion that comes with that the anxiety of Oh, no, what if I do it wrong? Right? What if I bring the wrong persona to different situations? And it’s a lot of pressure?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, it really is. It really is. It do. We have time, I was thinking about actually a story in my, in my personal experience early on in my career, that I think highlights some of this complication, too. So I was probably 25, I was at a new organization in a new role. I was the recruiting manager for this department. And I was in a leadership team meeting, and we were talking about increasing diversity of the group, it was very white, very male. And so as the new recruiter, I was trying to shift things. And I remember the leader of the group had this brilliant idea that he had to share. And he said, I’ve got an idea. We need to organize a basketball tournament for recruiting events because those people like basketball. And I remember that those people, right, it was this moment, this flash of anger, disgust, right? Like, hey, I’m one of those people. You don’t know it. So you feel so emboldened to be like that in front of me. And to think that that was a stroke of brilliance. I remember feeling fear, you know, now, I definitely can’t let him find out that I’m one of those people because I’m going to lose any credibility that I’m starting to, to build here in this organization, and as his recruiting manager. And I will admit, I had this like little bit of relief, like, oh, it’s working, you know, he doesn’t know that I don’t belong here. And, and it’s yeah, like, I did it, it’s proud. Like, this is the American dream, to assimilate and to belong. And then that feeling of shame, that wave of shame of not speaking up in the moment, because I didn’t speak up in that moment. I, I, like clammed up. And I like that idea to consider and just kind of moved on. And, you know, I think that moment, I come back to it a lot. It was early on in my career. And it’s, it’s a moment that just encapsulate everything that was challenging about the workplace. And I did leave working with him after a while, you know, shortly thereafter, and was able to get another role and really get involved in, you know, DEI efforts. And that was really the start for me to say I can’t, I need to do something in an organization to help me and others belong.

Kim Meninger So appreciate your sharing that story too. And I think it just reinforces the complexity of a lot of these dynamics because there is so much that we’re experiencing internally in those moments. And then there isn’t a lot of guidance, especially 25 years ago to for how to handle a situation like that. And so it’s compounding where I like you said, this whole rainbow of emotions that are going on and then the biggest one of which is just the shame that I didn’t handle the situation or didn’t address it. And I bet we’ve all been in a situation like that. Because there are just moments when we freeze, and we just don’t know if one what to do. And so I like that you describe this as almost, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but almost like a turning point, right? It really reinforces, oh, I want to I want to do better. I want to make an investment in our DEI efforts, you know, get more involved in some of the Employee Resource Group initiatives. And I think that’s how we grow, right? I mean, we can’t beat ourselves up over what we didn’t do, we can just be thoughtful about what, what opportunities do we have ahead of us?

Carly Goldsmith Right, right. Right. And I think it’s, it was also a moment of, of not wanting to hide the full me anymore. And to, to, to make a change and to say, hey, here’s who I am. And I’m going to bring that to the workplace.

Kim Meninger Mm-hmm. That’s really powerful. Anything else?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, you know, the, the other trend that I see, and this ties to there was the another consultant, DEI consultant and coach that I had heard speak, and she used this term that I love, and it put words around another trend I see, which is the playbook. So she described how she’s the daughter of Indian immigrants. And you know, success, from the moment she was born, was, you’re going to be a doctor, you’re going to be an engineer, you’re going to be in finance and business like that with it, right? And see, she tried really hard to fit the playbook to play by those rules for her parents. But she was unhappy, she was miserable, you know. And finally, she, you know, broke the playbook and she broke the, the ball from there. But I think that’s another thing that I see with other first-generation professionals is this idea that they’re trapped in this playbook from their parents or what it means to be a first or an only in an environment and, and the rules they feel like they have to play by to be acceptable and to be successful.

Kim Meninger That’s another really great point. I think the, that’s a perfect example of a trigger of impostor syndrome is when we feel like we’re breaking the mold, right? Like we’re going out, we’re coloring outside the lines, right? Like we’ve been told that there’s one path to success. And if we deviate from that, then we’re getting it wrong. And you know, who am I to not be satisfied with this? Clearly, my parents, this is what my parents’ definition of success is, and all the stories that we tell ourselves. And I think we do this in smaller ways, too. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately of just how, how we tend to think so simplistically, that there is one right way to do things in the world, or whatever it is that we want to do. And we think like, either I do it the perfect way, the right way, or I get it wrong, as opposed to recognizing that there’s a lot of gray area as well.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, yeah. Yeah, there’s a lot of gray. And I think we have more autonomy and control, to write your own playbook, if we will, and define our own measures of success than we think we do. I think we often get trapped, that we don’t have that autonomy. And I think we have a lot of it.

Kim Meninger I think you’re right. And I also think when it comes to this idea of like our parents, which are clearly a strong influence, whether we think about that consciously or unconsciously, one of the things that I often like to think about is for the most part, and there are obviously exceptions to this rule. Our parents just want what’s best for us, they want the life that they never had for us, right, they want to make sure that we don’t suffer in ways that they suffered. And so a lot of their expectations are rooted in fear, right? Oh, no, like I get I have all this wisdom from my learned experience. And I want to make sure you don’t make any of the mistakes that I made, etcetera, etcetera. And so I think that’s really important from a mindset shift to is that our parents aren’t living our lives, like, yes, we can learn from them. But our experience is different. Our values are different. And we’re not. You know, we’re not making a huge mistake, or even necessarily, even if it seems like initially, we may be disappointing them. Our path to their ultimate destination for us, which is just successful film and happiness, right may look different from theirs. But we just have to push through the fear. And I think sometimes what they’re responding to when they say things like that’s not a real job, right? It’s like that you’re not going to be able to support yourself, right? And so I think if we can sort of remind ourselves of what their true intention Tsar, it can help us to work past some of these insecurities of, quote-unquote getting it wrong.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, yeah, gosh, you know, that actually makes me think about a moment of pure gratitude for my parents, especially my dad, when I was deciding to leave my corporate life, and all of their definition of success to start my own business, you know, that’s crazy thing, I’m gonna be a coach and help people. And, you know, it was 2009, it was the economic downturn, everyone was telling me, I was crazy, all of my friends were getting laid off. And I had, you know, I still had my, my cushy job. And I remember having a conversation with my dad, at one point, he said, I’ve been thinking about it. And I don’t know if this is what I would do. But if you believe that, you could do that. And if your goal is to work with people to be successful in their career and to take for us to be happy and successful, you can’t not do this, at this point. And so I’ll support you with whatever you do and, and believe that you can do it. So yeah, that was just a moment of, okay. He did, he put aside his own fears for me, to see what I thought.

Kim Meninger That’s incredibly powerful, and very liberating to write because I think as parents, you and I both have kids, one of the things I think about a lot is like, oh, no, how am I unintentionally sending my kids to, you know, just setting them up for therapy in the future, right, like in ways that we think, are well-intentioned, we want to protect them, we want them to have a good life. And we’re always going to get it wrong. But I do think that it can be helpful sometimes when you think about it from the perspective of as we think about our own children, does that give us any more empathy for how our parents have sort of set expectations for us?

Carly Goldsmith Certainly, yeah. It does a lot. I know, someone had said, you know, forget about the college fund for your kids, you need to start the therapy fund for your kids because you will mess them up in some way. I did for you. But, but yeah, it does give perspective, I think, as we’re learning and growing, you know, in all seriousness, and it is an interesting thing to start thinking about the impact we’re having with parents on our kid.

Kim Meninger So for anyone who’s listening and identifying with what we’re talking about, what are some of the things that we can do?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, I think there’s a number of things that we could do, if I were to think about what we’ve talked about already, I think, first place to start is to have the conversation with yourself, can you notice and see a playbook that you were given? You know? Are you playing by those rules? are you fearful of resisting them or pushing past them? And think about how to use it does align with what you want or don’t want? Can you define your values? Can you set out to create your own playbook for success? So that way, there’s that alignment between what you want and, and what you’re manifesting, I think, in your life in your career. So I think that’s certainly one another. And I think this is important. I’ve experienced it clients of mine that I work with have to shift how you see yourself in relation to others, I think we’re we need to see and recognize meaning except even the experience and the backgrounds and the value that we’re bringing to an organization, even if it may not have been built and designed for us. For those Sesame Street watchers of kids. If you remember the segment, one of these things is not like the other one of these things just doesn’t belong. That used to be my theme song when I was like corporate life. And I think I really aren’t focused on the second line of like, this doesn’t belong. And then I let go of that to really embraced the yes, I’m not like the others here. And that’s my superpower because I am bringing something to teams to organizations to the leadership here. That was missing that makes the team complete. And that’s how we get diversity, right? If we even think about all the stats that we’ve all seen and known diversity inclusion and how positively it impacts a company’s bottom line. It’s just It’s a win-win, right? We get to see your own value first, to bring that.

Kim Meninger Yeah, I want to pull there for a second. Yeah, really important point. And you’ve heard me say this before I was thinking about how we want, we all want to feel special but we don’t want to feel different, right? We don’t want to be ordinary, but when we’re in an environment where it feels like there’s a particular set of cultural norms, or you know, there’s a dominant culture, and we feel like we are outside of that, there’s so much anxiety, again, we internalize that as there must be something wrong with me I need to fit in, and then all of these behaviors that we’re talking about follow, so I need to prove myself or I need to hide myself or whatever the case may be. But I think it’s such an important point that you raise that you are special, your superpower is being different, there are plenty of people like them, they’re a dime a dozen in these environments, right? But what they don’t have is somebody who has your unique experience your worldview, and that is something to, to really embrace and to treasure or not to try to bury or you know, sort of hide under the rug. And if at any point, it feels like leaning into who you are, and really embracing who you are is not going to work right, you’re not going to be respected, you’re not going to be accepted, then that’s important data, too. And if you know, it’s information, then to be thinking about is this the right environment for me?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, yep. And I also want to tie it back to your earlier point of the, the extra empathy and sensitivities that I think our experiences bring into the environment, and how necessary they are to building the leadership culture that we want. So we’re more human-centered. And so we’re more focused on that safety and the inclusion in those environments. So it might not be the place for you. And is that a place that you can be a catalyst for change up?

Kim Meninger That’s a great point too. And I’m a big believer that if we focus on being of service to others, then our confidence grows as a result. And so to your earlier point, too, about getting involved in the EI efforts, and really trying to be a resource to others, when we feel different, and we feel less than look for other people who might feel that way to be a resource to them because you’re gonna feel stronger as a result of that. And there’s so much power in being able to, you know, collectively come together with a lot of different people who are different from you, again, you ultimately at the end of the day, need to decide whether that’s an environment where you can be yourself and thrive. But in the meantime, it’s just a great way to build connection and not feel so alone.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, I agree. And I think it’s a way to, to use your voice to have a collective voice, in the environments that you’re in, to speak up for what you want to speak up for the changes that you’d like to see, to challenge the assumptions that you’re, that you’re noticing. So I think there’s a lot that you can do in connection with others.

Kim Meninger Now, yeah, and I was, I love telling this story because this just came up recently. And I think it’s relevant to what we’re talking about today. This, I was doing the moderating a panel on impostor syndrome. And there were three senior-level women. And one of them was sharing that she had gotten some feedback from a leader after doing a presentation, that she really needs to stop talking with her hands because it’s distracting. And she, her response to him was, that’s never going to happen. I’m a Latina woman, and I’m very, you know, self-expressive, this is who I am. And this is how my family talks. And you know, that’s just not going to change. And he said to her and responsible, I really grateful to you for sharing that with me. And I’m going to rethink how I interpret that behavior going forward. I mean, I’m paraphrasing, paraphrasing here. But I think so often, the temptation when somebody judges us, especially when somebody says something like you like that to you directly, is to think, Oh, well, I better do it their way. Right? Like, oh, if she could have walked away from that feeling like I can’t use my hands anymore, and then felt self-conscious every time she talked or tried to sit on her hands. And this one really rings true for me, because I’m a huge fan.

Carly Goldsmith I’m sitting on mine.

Kim Meninger I just love the way she owned it. And she tied it to her values and her heritage. And I just think there’s so much opportunity for all of us to think about that, too, is to don’t just accept that face value other people’s feedback just because they don’t understand it just because it makes them uncomfortable. doesn’t mean they’re right, and you’re wrong. Right? And I think that the more that we can have conversations with each other and really share Not in a not in a way that requires you to defend yourself, you certainly don’t need to justify yourself but to say, you know, the reason I do this is because I have a strong value around this or because this is part of my heritage, and we can say those things out loud. And we’re going to have a better understanding better sensitivity to each other.

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, absolutely. The other piece that I think is that it challenges the assumptions that the norms that exist in organizations are the right norms. And I think more and more of us need to feel empowered to express the need for some shifts in those norms, and what’s acceptable behaviors and that one size doesn’t fit all. And how can we broaden with the picture of success and leadership? Looks like?

Kim Meninger Exactly, exactly. This has been such an amazing conversation, Carly, if anyone wants to follow up with you learn more, where can they find you?

Carly Goldsmith Yeah, well, I wouldn’t typically say go to my website. But 2023 is a year of a lot of reflection and renewal for me. So I’m about to undertake a really major redesign of my website. So don’t go there. Go to my LinkedIn profile. You could find me Carly Goldsmith, from there. And it’s just a great way to contact me or to learn more about my background.

Kim Meninger I also want to share that you and I are collaborating with two of our colleagues on a discussion series in the New Years, but focus specifically on psychological safety, how to operationalize it, how to make it more actionable. And if anyone is interested in learning more about that, reach out to either or both of us. We have an open house coming up in the new year and would love for you to join us in the series. So thank you again, Carly. It’s been so much fun to talk to you today.

Carly Goldsmith Oh, thank you, Kim. It’s so appreciative of you inviting me to be here with you. Thanks.

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