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Mrs. Julie Castro Abrams, Founder and CEO at How Women Lead/Invest.
Julie Castro Abrams, Founder and CEO at How Women Lead/Invest.

How to conquer imposter syndrome, as explained at the Latina Empow(h)er Summit

A transcendental talk during the 2022 Latina Empow(h)er Summit gave important tools to face the professional challenge many encounter.

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Through an emotional and inspiring talk, Julie Castro Abrams, Founder and CEO of How Women Lead/Invest, provided advice to the attendees of the Latina Empow(h)er Summit 2022 on how to overcome insecurity and lack of confidence when climbing in their career.

Castro, who is an executive director and entrepreneur of nonprofit organizations, draws on her experience to talk about the strategic advantages of building diverse boards of directors. Through her consulting practice, she has supported leaders to build multicultural boards that have delivered high returns.

For its part, How Women Lead, is a network of more than 16,000 women dedicated to promoting diverse female voices and advancing their leadership, while How Women Invest is the largest venture fund in the country focused exclusively on female founders.

During the 2022 Latina Empow(her) Summit, Castro led a discussion about conquering imposter syndrome in the workplace.

“Imposter syndrome is defined as the perception of fraud involving persistent feelings of personal insecurity and incompetence despite educational level, experience, and achievement. These feelings are common among high-performance people, especially women, and can make a person believe that they need to act, think or see themselves as someone who is not just to fit in,” read the description of the talk Castro used to empower attendees.

The Creed

Mrs. Julie Castro Abrams.

Before giving tips to the attendees of this convention, Castro presented her formula to try to be better with ourselves and others through a countercultural commitment that aims to offer women a feeling of confidence and acceptance they seek:

“Say yes to help each other; Be fierce advocates for one another; Strengthen your voice; Be unabashedly visible.”

During her presentation, Castro also highlighted:

You have to know how to sell. Even if you are not in a sales job, you are selling yourself, your ideas or concepts all the time. So you have to be comfortable with numbers and you have to be comfortable facilitating transactions.

How does imposter syndrome manifest?

Castro introduced a series of behaviors that allow us to appreciate how the impostor syndrome manifests itself in people:

  • Inability to realistically rate your skills and abilities.
  • Attribute success to external factors.
  • Punish or criticize your performance.
  • Minimize your achievements.
  • Fear that you will not meet expectations.
  • Fear of being exposed as a fraud.
  • Exceed goals.
  • Assign ambitious goals and feel disappointed if you don't achieve them all.
  • Sabotaging your own success.
  • Doubt yourself.

How does imposter syndrome impact Latinas?

Mrs. Julie Castro Abrams

According to Castro, there are three specific scenarios in which Latinas must face the doubts and fears produced by imposter syndrome.

  1. Collectivism vs. Individualism: Because many Latinas have learned to be generous and respectful authority figures, as well as caring, they are perceived as “less hungry” by Corporate America.
  2. Latinity vs. Reserve: “Latinas are frequently associated with stereotypes of being opinionated or fiery,” which often creates barriers for them to move up in their organizations.
  3. Prioritizing family vs. “Whatever it Takes”: Many Latina women are forced to choose between dedicating more time to their professional career or spending more time with their family. Nearly 70% of them feel pressure to get married or start a family.

How to beat imposter syndrome?

Here are the six steps Castro shares for coping with the emotions caused by impostor syndrome:

  1. Share your feelings and be open with your emotions to identify times when you feel like an “impostor.”
  2. Take note of your achievements and celebrate them, don't let them go unnoticed.
  3. Access your skills, highlighting your background and the strengths you possess.
  4. Visualize an outcome and make a plan, always staying focused on each step of the goal.
  5. Focus on the facts, don't let fear make you overlook your true potential.
  6. Question your thoughts, always separating your feelings from them.

Figures

A KPMG study revealed during the talk found that at least 75% of female executives in Corporate America have experienced impostor syndrome at some stage in their careers.

According to figures from How Women Lead, the presence of Latina women on boards of directors offers companies greater profits and fewer risks, reaching returns greater than 26% when women are part of the founders.

More than 76% of Latinos do not come across as they really are in their workplace.

For its part, the organization led by Castro seeks to promote 200 Latina women onto corporate boards, while another 200 will learn how to invest (50 will), allowing 1,000 Latina leaders to connect with each other in a invaluable network of professionals and managers.

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