What do you get when you cross the words diversity, multicultural, and deliciously inclusive? You may have just have ended up at BeVisible’s BeWoke Conference, the first of its kind hosted by BeVisible founder, Andrea Guendelman in San Francisco, this May 17, 2018.
It was a beautiful and unique event that was a celebration of diversity in every form, and unique because it is so rare that you see an event with women and people of color in the majority on every panel. BeVisible’s mission is to create the world we want to live in, a world without glass ceilings, that embraces our traditions and femininity, that celebrates our accomplishments and our desire to achieve, where we can live and work with purpose and flourish. And it truly was a beautiful sight to look across a sea of diverse faces in a sold out event, hear people speaking in Spanish and being inspired by a group of powerful multicultural professionals sharing their stories of overcoming adversity in a room of people that truly want to lift each other up.
The #BeWoke conference achieved what many other events of it’s kind have not: to fully encompass diversity in all of its shapes and forms.
What does that mean exactly? Is there a race, ethnicity, or color that defines your underrepresented background? The answer is no.
We all have a story to tell.
#BeWoke means to be yourself, to be diverse. To be fully you in your career and to represent, in the best way you can, the family and the roots that brought you to where you are today.
Diversity in career? Let’s talk about being a change catalyst in industries like Public Policy, Financial advising, and Venture Capital funding. Or let’s sit at the panel with Tinder’s Product Marketing Manager, Mavis Brefo and Agnes Gomes-Koizumi, Senior Director of Public Affairs who talked about the newest intersection of all: technology, geography, and human connection and Tinder as a platform for bridging the cultural gap.
Navigating Careers intersects with multiple layers and it`s important for an emerging generation to be able to see their story represented by people who understand their challenges and the value they bring to the table. We may be under-represented, but we are not voiceless. BeWokeSF was a vision and part of a mission to pass the mic and we strive to give the stage to amplify these voices so we can inspire and revalidate passions and purpose.
~Michelle Cruz, BeVisible Community Engagement Manager
Now that millennials are so connected, our duty as minorities in the workplace it to provide a space for self-expression and community that connects cultures and perspectives that otherwise would not have connected.
Live to our Fullest Potential
By being a powerful and collaborative web of “Chingones,” “Berracos,” or go-getter’s as some would say. Be WOKE!
CEO of AT&T business, Thaddeus Arroyo gave a keynote that encapsulated what BeWoke SF was all about, a call for all of us to seek our higher light, to overcome the inner voices and critics, to see possibilities in everything rather than our self-perceived limits. We do it by pursuing discomfort, because it is only by pushing ourselves beyond what we thought was possible that we see our true potential. We do it by committing to learning something, everyday – and through humility and understanding that the only constant in life is change.
Every day that we advocate for change in the workplace, when we give an opinion at the conference table or need to ask for a higher salary, we need to do so with pride and self-awareness of the value we bring.
Being Woke, means being a voice to help others up, to promote from within, and to reach leadership roles where we can extend funding for organizations like BeVisible and the unstoppable talent network it has created.
BeWokeSF was an immersive experience, with panels and workshops focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, fundraising, careers in media and tech, fundraising for startups, the power of female networks, and much more.
During the event, was also able to represent #LatinaGeeks in a workshop called “Communities to Join & Influence”. The title alone had me thinking of how valuable the #LatinaGeeks and BeVisible communities have become to me. Just a little over a year ago, when I interviewed Lala for my podcast when she asked me the question “How many Latinas do you know in tech?” and my sad answer at the time was three (which included myself, Lala and our newest to join #LatinaGeeks, Vanessa). How times have changed! One of the things I expressed in the workshop was the value of platforms and communities, to join and or create your own. It’s one of the things that has changed my life for the better.
Find Your Passion
During the workshop, we also explored the concept of Ikigai, a Japanese
term which means above all else a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. This balance is found at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.
It’s a fun exercise that everyone should explore, you can start by just asking yourself these four simple questions:
- What am I good at?
- What do I love?
- What does the world need?
- What do I get paid for?
In addition, after a day spent networking and attending impactful discussions, the event finished off with a super fun evening after-party that featured an awesome band and silent disco.
Thank you Andrea, Michelle, Maximo and the entire BeVisible crew for what was an amazing and memorable day of celebrating our multicultural entrepreneurs, techies and creatives. It was an incredible day of opportunity and community!
Also, un grande abrazo y BIG thanks to Pao Correa for capturing many of the days highlights and helping me big time as a co-author on this post!