The Latina Behind Lean In Latinas Shares Her Top Interview and Career Tips

Anna Dapelo-Garcia was looking for a Lean In circle that spoke to her specific experience as a Latina career woman and when she came up short, she started ‘Lean In Latinas.’

Since its inception Lean In Latinas has garnered over 400 Latinas across the country who all share their very personal experiences of being Latinas in boardrooms, startups and the likes.

“Lean In Latinas grassroots movement has been the catalyst for the growth of the membership,” explains Dapelo-Garcia. “As members joined the group, they began a word-of-mouth campaign. They were able to share that a new venue was available to support and inspire the current and next generation of Latinas capitalizing on the LeanIn.Org platform. The combination of these two impactful platforms provided the energy to grow the Lean In Latinas membership.”

Her role as the circle’s leader also means that she has an added perspective on what’s been effective for the careers of Latinas, across many fields.

She shares her tips on mentorship, first interviews and the best piece of advice Latinas should keep in their back pocket.

Vivian Nunez: What is the top thing Latinas should keep in mind as they’re kickstarting their career?

Anna Dapelo-Garcia: The top thing to keep in mind as you are kickstarting your career is to determine a strategic path to your ultimate job role. Time is valuable so don’t waste it in job roles that do not lead you down a path to the position and job role you ultimately want.

Nunez: What is the best piece of advice any Latina should keep in her back pocket?

Dapelo-Garcia: That learning is a lifelong process, no one has it all figured out and we are all a work-in-progress. This is an area of strength for Lean In Latinas. Every member has something to learn no matter where she is in her career. Young members have as much to share as years-long careerists in the group. Having an insatiable appetite to always learn will keep you evolving both professionally and personally.

Nunez: For those Latinas who are afraid their culture will hold their career prospects back, what advice do you have for them?

Dapelo-Garcia: Early in my career I didn’t realize that aspects from my culture were negatively holding me back from more quickly progressing to higher levels of responsibility. Initially, I was timid to speak up, I wasn’t confident voicing my opinion or openly taking a position. I thought something was wrong with me! Over time I realized that I was not incompetent I was just struggling because my home environment did not provide the mentoring I needed to be successful in business. My parents were in blue-collar jobs and therefore did not have experience in the boardroom to then pass on to me. At the time, they also did not believe a Latina/o could be in the boardroom. I was then lost when I got into the business environment. This is one of the reasons I created Lean In Latinas. I wanted to create an environment for Latinas to get coaching and mentoring that they may not otherwise get at home.

Nunez: What are your top interview tips for Latinas?

Dapelo-Garcia: Preparing for an interview is no different than preparing for a big game. What do athletes do to prepare for a game? They prepare and practice a lot. And when I say practice…I mean practice for every part of the interview. Next, do your research. Nothing is more impressive than when a candidate has done their research not only for the position, but also for the department, the company, and the person who will interview them! Ultimately, don’t make the interviewer do all the work.

 

By: Vivian Nunez

Source: forbes.com