SHIFT HAPPENS | SEASON 2 • EPISODE 5

Yrthya Dinzey-Flores: Navigating the Imposter Syndrome

SHIFT HAPPENS is a Global Take on Women’s Turning Points and Pivotal Moments

“Am I really good enough?”, “How am I really going to do something transformative?” These and other doubtful questions spooked in Yrthya Dinzey-Flores’ head, when she took on her new role in January 2011 as the very first ever Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York. She had left a highly paid, secure job at Toyota, to work in public office with pioneering spirits, to learn on her second day in this new position that she was pregnant. Immediately the good old imposters syndrome struck. She questioned herself, all of it, and wasn’t sure if she could do it all. Listen in, on how she actually did it, on how she not only beat the imposter syndrome, but how she turned it around, to experience her own power and resilience in a new way, and to learn about different perspectives of the power if being a woman.. She also holds the distinction of having served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for New York State.

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About Our Guest

Yrthya Dinzey-Flores

Yrthya A. Dinzey-Flores is SVP of DEI for Warner Music Group She is an innovative cross-sector leader driving philanthropy, social responsibility, and workplace inclusion.

She kicked off her career at the Robin Hood Foundation and held leadership positions at Toyota Motor North America, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner/Warner Media LLC and Open Society Foundation. She also holds the distinction of having served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for New York State and

Yrthya serves on the non-profit boards of The NY Public Theater and Latino Victory Fund and is also member of Burberry’s Culture Advisory Council and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) Diversity Council.

About Your Host

Claudia Mahler is a creative activist, with more than a decade of experience curating meaningful conversations for women in business, art and education in Europe and the United States.

She designs events for women’s empowerment that emphasize organic connection and conversation to complement existing professional development training in a variety of work environments.

She has 20+ years of experience in communications and PR in Europe and the East Coast of the United States.

Transcript

Yrthya Dinzey-Flores : Navigating the Imposter Syndrome

00:00:06:05 – 00:00:32:19
Claudia
Hello and welcome. This is season two of my podcast Shift Happens. My name is Claudia Mahler. I am your host, and I invite you to celebrate women’s voices and stories with me. With this podcast, I’m creating a space for women to share a pivotal moment and turning point in their life. Shift happens is now on my YouTube channel, shift Happens start podcast.

00:00:32:21 – 00:01:01:11
Claudia
Check it out and let me know what you think. Today I’m in conversation with Yrthya Dinzey-Flores who I met many years ago at an H.R. conference here in New York, and I was immediately smitten by her calm and determined aura. I invited her then head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Time Warner, to be on a panel for my Women and Business forum.

00:01:01:13 – 00:01:30:02
Claudia
Time flies, and here we are. So I am very excited to reconnect with Yrthya again for Shift Happens. Today, she serves as Senior Vice President for Dei for the Warner Music Group. FCA is a member of Burberry’s Culture Advisory Council and the London Stock Exchange Diversity Council. She serves on the nonprofit boards of the New York Public Theater and the Latino Victory Fund.

00:01:30:04 – 00:01:59:07
Claudia
Here this pivotal moment was in January 2011, when she started her job as the very first chief diversity officer for the state of New York, serving under then Governor Andrew Cuomo. It was an immense opportunity and responsibility, a big role and lots of potential in an administration that at that moment in time was going to transform the way of New York state government.

00:01:59:09 – 00:02:53:17
Claudia
Two days later, the now well-known imposter syndrome hit Yrthya found out that she was pregnant. How would she be able to balance it all? The demanding job, the pressure in public office. Being pregnant in her late 30s. This couldn’t work. But it did. Listen to episode 13 and an inspiring journey of discovering power, strength and resilience. Being pregnant and later a first time mother on the job gave birth year a lot of perspective into the power of being a woman.

00:02:53:19 – 00:03:16:10
Claudia
Earth. Yeah. Hello. Hello. I’m so happy that we are connecting in this way after so many years. I was just thinking so many. I was just thinking. I think it’s been like 9 or 10 years that you participated on the panel for the Women and business forum that I organized. I remember many, many years ago. Yeah, many years ago.

00:03:16:10 – 00:03:22:01
Yrthya
Yes, I do remember. Yeah. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Oh my goodness.

00:03:22:02 – 00:03:43:18
Claudia
I know, I know. Yes. It’s going by too fast. So I of course, read a little bit about you in your intake form. And before you will share this extremely important topic of imposter syndrome and, and your pivotal moment. I want to ask you a few questions.

00:03:43:20 – 00:03:44:13
Yrthya
Okay.

00:03:44:15 – 00:03:49:03
Claudia
So what is your idea of perfect happiness?

00:03:49:05 – 00:04:20:03
Yrthya
Oh my gosh, that’s such a tough question. I actually find myself in sort of almost that place of perfect happiness right now at this moment in my life, and I think it’s just a great balance between my the thought of where my professional career is at the moment, where my family life is at the moment, and those two things not being in conflict with each other.

00:04:20:05 – 00:04:46:18
Yrthya
That I can be the mom I want to be the wife. I want to be the sister, the daughter that I want to be. And I also get to do that while being the professional that I want to be. And so it’s all kind of like in good harmony, which doesn’t mean there are moments when things kind of go and sort of a little far in one direction.

00:04:46:18 – 00:04:59:10
Yrthya
There’s sometimes disruption, but like on average the balance is very good. Everything. So I’m, I’m so very contented in this moment in time.

00:04:59:12 – 00:05:06:00
Claudia
Very nice. What do you most value in your friends?

00:05:06:02 – 00:05:27:22
Yrthya
I say honesty and compassion. I think it has to be those two things together. I want people to tell me the truth. And to be honest with me about things. But I also want to feel like there’s compassion and genuine care behind that. You know honesty.

00:05:28:00 – 00:05:31:13
Claudia
What is your most treasured possession.

00:05:31:15 – 00:06:00:23
Yrthya
oh my god. You know I’m like no possession person actually. I have to say you know this is interesting. On Monday we had, you know, hired someone through a company, who came in to clean our house, and instead they just helped themselves to a lot of jewelry in my drawer. Oh, yeah. no. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

00:06:01:01 – 00:06:27:21
Yrthya
Oh. Which is, you know, very traumatic. Yes. Not because the stuff that was taken, but because of the memories that are attached to it. And and I have to say, I’m not mourning the things that were taken. I don’t feel that. That, to me, was so important. I am missing the feeling that that thing brought with it.

00:06:27:21 – 00:06:52:08
Yrthya
Right? The memories which I realize I still get to keep regardless of whether the stuff is there or not. but that is to say, I feel fairly, you know, I mean, it’s a terrible situation, but I don’t feel so oppressed by the stuff that was taken. So I’m not like a possession person. is is my general orientation, like, things are not that important to me, but.

00:06:52:10 – 00:06:57:10
Claudia
But it’s still such a such a abuse of trust. It’s it’s shocking. Yes.

00:06:57:16 – 00:07:04:11
Yrthya
But I think it was a reinforcement that it’s not really about the object or the possession of the material.

00:07:04:14 – 00:07:05:00
Claudia

00:07:05:03 – 00:07:11:23
Yrthya
Yeah. So I guess the thing, the possession I value the most is memories and feelings and sentiments that.

00:07:12:04 – 00:07:16:19
Claudia
Yeah. Yeah I agree. What is your greatest fear.

00:07:16:20 – 00:07:52:21
Yrthya
Oh my god. What is my greatest fear among the many. I, honestly, I think that probably it would be not having this a close relationship with my child. I think that that would break my heart. Not being able to sort of. She talks to me a lot about things that are happening to her, I think, is that one way I would feel very, very disappointed.

00:07:52:22 – 00:08:14:20
Yrthya
with myself and with life in general. Yeah. So that’s about it. I’ve never been afraid of, like losing a job or, you know, other things like that. It’s totally about my relationship with my family and especially with my daughter, because, you know, I sort of brought this person into the world. So. Yeah, I wanted to be.

00:08:14:20 – 00:08:23:13
Claudia
Of course. Yes. It’s your child. Yeah. If you were to be reborn, what would you come back as?

00:08:23:15 – 00:08:48:19
Yrthya
oh my God. that’s a great question. I think I would want to come back as, like, a phenomenal opera singer. yeah. Something very fun. Like, just an amazing, perfectly pitched voice. And to be on a great stage singing beautiful arias or it would be phenomenal. I want to come back with a beautiful singing voice. Maybe a bird.

00:08:48:19 – 00:08:51:10
Yrthya
Something that sings beautifully.

00:08:51:12 – 00:09:02:03
Claudia
Well, I make sure I’ll be there to see you and listen to you. I you.

00:09:02:05 – 00:09:14:04
Claudia
So, we go back to 2011, and at the time, you were the first chief diversity officer for New York State.

00:09:14:09 – 00:09:15:04
Yrthya
Yes.

00:09:15:06 – 00:09:18:22
Claudia
Amazing. And. Yeah. What happened then?

00:09:19:00 – 00:09:47:02
Yrthya
Yeah. I mean, I think that I wanted to take a couple of steps back to the months leading up to that decision. I was working at a private corporation to Ura, which is a very well known and regarded company. But I was feeling a little stuck, and a little bit like I wasn’t, in charge of my own destiny.

00:09:47:04 – 00:10:12:22
Yrthya
And so I started to have conversations with some mentors, a lot of women about sort of that feeling and that sentiment and one of them recommended that I speak to the, then Governor Lex sort of search committee. And so they were looking for people to fill some of the positions that the administration required. And I did come head first.

00:10:12:22 – 00:10:47:11
Yrthya
And news from it was like the first moment when I realized that a lot of what sort of shapes your decisions in life, is outside of who you are, but also in control. But you’re also in control of sort of those conversations and and taking those steps. So you know, I started sort of the interview process and the conversations just wanting to kind of become unstuck from what I felt was like not a terribly inspiring or fulfilling career situation.

00:10:47:11 – 00:11:15:08
Yrthya
And then very quickly found myself having very serious conversations about this role to become the first chief diversity officer for the state of New York. And the irony of all of this is that, you know, I was kind of like in a situation where not very much was happening. And then two months later, I found myself pregnant. I find myself having this offer of the first chief diversity.

00:11:15:08 – 00:11:17:15
Claudia
Two months after you started the job.

00:11:17:17 – 00:11:32:09
Yrthya
Actually two months after I started the process of searching for a new job, I found myself with sort of all of the things that I wanted, that I didn’t want to have happen at the same time, but nonetheless all came at the same time. And so.

00:11:32:11 – 00:11:33:15
Claudia
Yeah, like usual.

00:11:33:18 – 00:11:57:18
Yrthya
Like usual. Exactly. and so it was interesting because it just it happened so quickly. I kind of barely had time to think about it because, you know, we had to make the announcement very quickly. I had to let folks at the job know very quickly. The moment I decided to say yes to the governor’s job two days later, I found out I was pregnant.

00:11:57:18 – 00:12:26:23
Yrthya
So it was just happening very quickly. and I think to your point then, you know, January, that January 2nd of 2011 came around, I was sort of into this job. I’m stepping into, you know, the first meeting of the governor’s cabinet. And we’re sitting around this table and he’s at the head of the table, and I’m there with some other folks who had also been appointed.

00:12:27:01 – 00:12:55:07
Yrthya
And I remember just feeling like, oh my God, it’s like, not a dream. It’s actually happening right now. I’m sitting here and like, what am I meant to do? Right. Which is not to say that, you know, I think as women, we overprepare like, I had prepared a plan and you knew exactly the thing that we wanted to tackle.

00:12:55:07 – 00:13:09:17
Yrthya
And and what I wanted to do, it wasn’t about that. It was more of like, you know, the sense of like, oh my gosh, I have to start the work now. And where do I start? And how do I get started is going to work out, how am I going to do a good job? Am I going to work hard enough?

00:13:09:17 – 00:13:14:21
Yrthya
And you know, with all the questions that jump into your head,

00:13:14:23 – 00:13:16:18
Claudia
When your questions and doubts. Right?

00:13:16:18 – 00:13:53:08
Yrthya
Yeah, exactly. you know, there’s a lot of, responsibility that comes with being the first anything, right? And so I was just very conscious of the fact that if I mess this up, this thing could fall apart and it could not have a good reputation moving forward. I had a responsibility to do well to make sure that there was somebody else after I had a responsibility as a woman, because I was the first and a woman to make sure that I represented, you know, women well.

00:13:53:10 – 00:14:41:05
Yrthya
so it just felt like a lot of pressure. and with that comes sort of doubt about whether you can do it because it’s, you know, not just because it’s a big scale or even just because you know, you’re the first in it, but because you are taking it seriously. Right? Yeah. And if you’re taking the opportunity seriously, and if you want to deliver something meaningful and transformative, then you know, you should have a little bit of doubt that maybe, you know, you could mess it up because it’s the only way to keep yourself honest about how hard you have to work and how much it matters to you and everyone.

00:14:41:07 – 00:14:42:02
Yrthya
Yeah. Yeah.

00:14:42:04 – 00:14:55:15
Claudia
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Okay. And then you basically prepared the way for many to follow in this field while you were then pregnant.

00:14:55:17 – 00:15:21:14
Yrthya
Yes. So I, found out that I was pregnant and didn’t I really, you know, the thing that happens to me, and let’s not assume that all the people who are listening necessarily, who have gone through this experience. But the thing that happens is you get pregnant and you’re kind of like three weeks into it and you really don’t usually tell people about it because so many things can happen in an early pregnancy.

00:15:21:14 – 00:15:41:05
Yrthya
I was also, you know, at the time 38 is fairly, you know, old, I guess, but mature right in age. I think in the medical field at the time, they would call that a geriatric pregnancy because it’s past 35, just terrible at anything.

00:15:41:09 – 00:15:42:20
Claudia
We have to work on that.

00:15:42:22 – 00:16:07:20
Yrthya
Yeah. Yes we did. But I was, you know, sort of a little older. And, you know, it was very early stages of sort of all of the sense that, you know, so many things can happen at that early stage. So I’m also carrying sort of like this quote unquote secret because you really want to wait till a time when the pregnancy seems viable and that everything is okay lest something happen.

00:16:07:20 – 00:16:40:02
Yrthya
Right. and so I was sort of like, pregnant, not able to tell people I had to go to the doctor constantly because of, like, my age and some other health factors. So I was balancing this like very demanding schedule, a fresh new administration with big plans, a job that I had like really navigated. And I remember, you know, sort of like getting this assistant and like literally the first conversation I have with her is like over the next three days, I have to go to the doctor these many times.

00:16:40:02 – 00:17:03:00
Yrthya
And she’s like, but why? I was like, I just need to take care of some stuff, right? And, you know, sort of like navigating like you’re not available during these times, but it’s like early stages of the administration. So you have to be available all of the time. And the sort of the just the chaotic nature of what it’s like to bring in a new administration of government.

00:17:03:02 – 00:17:28:18
Yrthya
and it was just like all of these things coming at you and, you know, I’m sort of there trying to do that, trying to plan, trying to plan for sort of like big announcements, what your agenda is, but also trying to stay healthy and be present for everyone at the same time. Right. Huge. It’s huge. It was so much right.

00:17:28:20 – 00:17:50:01
Yrthya
And, you know, I had to find a new doctor because I just had a gynecologist, so I had to find an obstetrician. It was just like, there are a lot of things going on, right? It was just a big tumultuous change. But, you know, it’s so interesting. And maybe it’s like a saying that I feel a lot of and have experience.

00:17:50:01 – 00:18:26:03
Yrthya
A lot of women do. We just do all of the things right. And in spite of sort of like the doubt that we may have and the sense that and the fear, I do find that like we take on all of the tasks right? Yeah. and that’s what I did. I just like, took on all of the tasks one by one and tried not to be distracted by the totality of all the things that were happening, but to just focus on, like, at this moment I’m doing this things, and then I’m going to leave here.

00:18:26:03 – 00:18:29:08
Yrthya
I do the next thing, and then I’m going to leave here. And then one.

00:18:29:08 – 00:18:30:20
Claudia
Step at a time.

00:18:30:20 – 00:18:55:10
Yrthya
One step at a time. so it was hard three months into it. Then when I was finally able to say, okay, this is what’s going on, then it felt a lot better because, it was like, oh, okay, you’re pregnant. That’s why, like, you haven’t been here for the last two hours. So it was good. So it was, it definitely was.

00:18:55:10 – 00:19:17:21
Yrthya
You know I think a lot of the doubt and the fear also came from like not being able to authentically be able to share all of the things that were happening with me. And then once I was able to balance that out a little bit better, it was great. And I remember that moment when I actually told, general counsel, my name is Mylan Dinnerstein.

00:19:17:21 – 00:19:36:05
Yrthya
She’s no longer there. She’s now at a at a law firm. but I walked into her office and I was like, oh, Mylan, I really I have to share something with you. And I just want you to know, because we need to plan around it. But I’m pregnant. And she let out the most joyous shriek that I ever heard.

00:19:36:07 – 00:19:38:13
Claudia
Oh, nice. Oh, good.

00:19:38:13 – 00:20:01:01
Yrthya
She was. She was so just, like, genuinely happy for me. And also the power and the difference of women being in positions of power and supporting each other. That she’d like just fully understood what that moment was about and was also like fully supportive, which I think then made my sentiment about the whole thing different. Right.

00:20:01:04 – 00:20:21:15
Yrthya
And also helped me lean into the job as the person that I just, I brought all of who I was in that moment to the job. Right. And consequently, just like loved my time as the first chief diversity officer for the state of New York. Yeah. despite of all the challenges. Yeah.

00:20:21:16 – 00:20:57:18
Claudia
You said that it did bring out the challenges of, you know, a male dominated work environment. And also, I mean, 2011, like 13 years ago. A lot has happened in that time, especially for women, especially for women in the workplace. Of course, it’s never enough. But, I’m sure that must have been hard. So, you know, I’m wondering, is that like a lessons that you take away from this time and why has this been apart from, you know, being pregnant and being the first chief diversity officer?

00:20:57:18 – 00:21:01:13
Claudia
But why is this has this been such a pivotal moment?

00:21:01:15 – 00:21:30:09
Yrthya
Yeah. I mean, I think back on that time and like you said, so much has changed. I think the expectations that were placed on sort of all of the folks in those leadership positions, which I’m sure have not necessarily shifted as much, but were probably even more egregious than I remember, that I was on the road a lot, which is like not a thing that pregnant women managed just very easily.

00:21:30:11 – 00:21:55:15
Yrthya
Right. But I was grabbing the train early Monday mornings from New York City, going to Albany, staying there Monday through Wednesday, and then coming back on Wednesday afternoon and then going to work in the city Thursday and Friday. And then I would do that all over again throughout the entire time that I was pregnant. because I didn’t take any time off before the baby came.

00:21:55:17 – 00:22:17:21
Yrthya
And then after the baby came, I was doing the same thing. But I was also, you know, breastfeeding my child, which made it even more complicated. And the thing that I think is interesting about that is that, like, all of those things are just barriers and obstacles that make it more difficult for me to not only be a parent, but to also perform a job.

00:22:17:23 – 00:22:53:08
Yrthya
I’m just managing all of the logistics of all of those things. While the demand to produce is still the same, right? So that all those things were terribly difficult. I think the things that I learned, however, in spite of how difficult the situation was, one that those things exist and we need to change them, of course, to I really hadn’t understood just exactly how tough I was, like how much physical, emotional and intellectual strength I had as a human being.

00:22:53:10 – 00:23:13:10
Yrthya
And I think that those things helped to amped up my ambition for myself because I then understood exactly how much more capacity I had than I’d ever thought about myself, which is, you know, kind of like, not the best way to learn that lesson.

00:23:13:10 – 00:23:14:17
Claudia
I just got to say that.

00:23:14:17 – 00:23:39:01
Yrthya
Yeah. Oh, yeah, it’s it’s not the best way to learn that lesson, but, you know, always looking for silver linings. It’s just my way of living life. I thought, oh, wow. I was I had underestimated myself so much. Right. And I’m actually quite capable of doing way more than I’ve been giving myself credit for. so it wasn’t the best way to learn that lesson.

00:23:39:01 – 00:24:18:04
Yrthya
But I’m grateful for that lesson, and I think that it really changed the way in which I have approached my career, since then. And then I think the other thing that I, would say that I learned also from that experience is that, you know, I had sort of thought that a career happened to you, like things just sort of came up and would work out and you’d get promoted and then you’d, like, work really hard, and then someone would notice and and then you, you know, move up.

00:24:18:06 – 00:24:46:18
Yrthya
And the thing that I learned from that entire experience, from beginning to end, is that I needed to be more in charge of my own career trajectory, that I needed to put, you know, time and energy and vision, especially, to what I wanted to accomplish. And part of that vision, which goes back to our sort of first your first question about, what does happiness or joy look like for me?

00:24:46:20 – 00:25:27:14
Yrthya
But part of that vision was that I needed to get to a place where I had balance across my career, my family life right. And that that vision of my career needed to include that and that I needed to take the steps that I needed to take the steps to do that. And so I learned those things from that pivotal moment, and all of the, you know, all the hard work and all of that, that was for me to be able to sort of like, focus, my talent and aspirations and opportunities that I found in my life to get to this moment.

00:25:27:14 – 00:25:28:04
Yrthya

00:25:28:06 – 00:26:02:22
Claudia
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. It is, I think often the case that women tend to underestimate themselves. And that’s why so many women, you know, put so much effort into getting yet another degree and yet another qualification. And in the meantime they could have already been earning money or, you know, having influence and get on with it. I mean, with the work, with the real stuff, like so in your field, diversity, equity and inclusion, you stayed in that field after your position, right?

00:26:03:00 – 00:26:05:12
Claudia
For a number of companies.

00:26:05:14 – 00:26:42:19
Yrthya
Yes, more or less. I mean, I kind of ended up merging my two interests. So I’ve been I had been doing philanthropy mostly even up through that time that I went to Toyota, and working in the nonprofit sector. And then I started in diversity, equity and inclusion and continued that and went into the corporate sector and then have been lucky enough that for most of the roles that I’ve had in the private sector where I’ve done diversity, I’ve also been able to do some philanthropy or corporate responsibility together with it.

00:26:42:21 – 00:26:52:04
Yrthya
and so most of the roles that I’ve had in, the private sector have included both things. But yet still in Dei.

00:26:52:06 – 00:26:58:17
Claudia
And what would you say has changed over the past ten, 12 years. And I.

00:26:58:19 – 00:27:28:17
Yrthya
Yeah, I mean I think we’re traversing a very, you know, challenging moment for diversity equity and inclusion. right now in the last couple of years of post George Floyd, I think there was sort of like an upswing in work around diversity, equity and inclusion. a lot of energy, some of it maybe not devoted to the most important things that companies could be doing in the space.

00:27:28:19 – 00:27:54:12
Yrthya
And now there’s been, you know, documented a little bit of a backlash, against the field. So I think it is a moment that is requiring us as diversity, equity and inclusion professionals to focus on what it is we want to change and how we accomplish it and deliver, you know, deliver change and true impact for companies and organizations.

00:27:54:14 – 00:28:28:12
Yrthya
And, you know, some of it is also criticism that’s not necessarily well deserved for the field, because it hasn’t really had the kind of investment and and time span to sort of mature and change things. of course for the better. But I think companies and you know, there are so many reports about it at companies where diversity has been taken seriously and there has been a change at the board and leadership level.

00:28:28:12 – 00:29:08:02
Yrthya
You do see a performance that is markedly different. I mean, McKinsey has been studying it for the last 12 years, and they’ve a lot of evidence to show for the fact, that companies with higher diversity at the top typically perform in the top quartile when compared to other companies. So I do think that it is still an important field as just a challenging moment of us to pivot and focus on the things that are transformative for companies and organizations and that will deliver lasting, change and value for those companies.

00:29:08:04 – 00:29:23:19
Yrthya
But I wholeheartedly still believe that it’s something that we should be doing. and I hope, I really hope that the companies who believe in it will continue to invest in it and show through it. why it matters.

00:29:23:19 – 00:29:50:05
Claudia
Yeah, clearly. What are your like, top three goals or what would you say is really most important, not only for you to do in your daily job, but also looking at talent that is behind you. That’s coming up next, because I would believe, especially in this field, yes, you are in the moment and you look forward, but you also want to take, you know, yeah, the talent that’s behind you with you and, and guide them into a different future.

00:29:50:06 – 00:30:36:17
Yrthya
You know, I mean, I think the thing that I say is always the most important in this field of diversity, equity and inclusion is to define what about a diverse and inclusive workplace? It matters for the place that you’re at. Right? So in other words, if I work at a music company or at a media entertainment company, I want to think about diversity very telling and how we impact, you know, that business through growing audiences and telling more diverse stories for success versus if I work at a legal firm, do I want to think about sort of how the talent moves for the organization to become, you know, sort of a partner in this firm?

00:30:36:17 – 00:30:58:11
Yrthya
And what are the fields of legal business that might, you know, facilitate that? So one of the I think, really important things to me in diversity, equity and inclusion as a professional is to be adaptive to the needs of the organization you are working for. And I think that that is advice that lends itself to every kind of field that you work at.

00:30:58:11 – 00:31:21:06
Yrthya
Right? Right. I think the the way in which you as a professional have impact and add value is in a way that is bespoke for the organization in this field, the industry and the company at which you work. So to me, that’s table stakes. Like you have to figure out how to do that for your company in a unique way and in a way that matters to the culture of that place and the bottom line of that company.

00:31:21:08 – 00:32:06:17
Yrthya
I think for people coming up behind, not just in the diversity, equity and inclusion field, I would say just as a professional in general, the things that are important for us to that I always think are important to understand, is that we work with people. And so it’s really important for us to be human beings, to understand the people that we work with, to respect the ideas of other people that we work with, and to collaborate with them and to engage with them, not just for your own career advancement, but because there’s like genuine right value, in doing that and understanding other people’s experiences and what talents they bring in order to move

00:32:06:17 – 00:32:34:03
Yrthya
organizations forward. So the advice I always give to the folks that I mentor is really about like, not just focusing on your own advancement, right? Also focus on getting to know the people in your organization, in your life that are also contributing important and wonderful, interesting things because those will enrich your life, they’ll enrich your experience, and they will make you a better leader.

00:32:34:06 – 00:33:00:13
Yrthya
Right. So I think to me that’s really important to to just be human and try to connect with people and be genuine about those connections, not just using them, because you think that may help advance your career, which I think is like a very apropos thing for a Dei person to say, because it’s really about like, you know, forward that ethos of inclusion and wanting to to get to know people.

00:33:00:15 – 00:33:22:02
Yrthya
And I think the last thing I would, I would say is, and you kind of talked about that point is that, you know, it’s not all about like the inputs that, you know, like, I’m going to learn this thing, I’m going to study this thing. I’m, I’m going to be, you know, it’s not just about the inputs of like how you become better.

00:33:22:02 – 00:33:52:09
Yrthya
It’s also about the output. Right? Like how are you focusing on what you’re delivering for your company and other folks. Right. And the well-being of your organization and the well-being of the people that’s tied to so many times I meet folks who will say, I don’t understand why I haven’t been promoted. I did this project, I did that, I did this thing right.

00:33:52:11 – 00:34:05:08
Yrthya
And I always ask, well, how did that change the life of your team? How did it make that project more impactful for the company? Like what is the output? It’s not just about what you’re putting in, but what is the output?

00:34:05:10 – 00:34:16:19
Claudia
Yeah. So you seem pretty zen to me. So what is your, what is your secret? Like? How do you relax?

00:34:16:20 – 00:34:38:00
Yrthya
I mean, I work out, fairly regularly. Not in, like, an intense way, although I used to, you know, play sports competitively as a child. So I think that kind of, like, orients your brain in a certain way to. What did you do? I work I used to play tennis. and, you know, it’s a very individual sport.

00:34:38:00 – 00:34:58:00
Yrthya
So you have to learn a lot about what you can control and what you can’t control. And usually the only thing you can control is yourself. And most of the other things you can’t you can’t control the way and you can’t really control the surface, your opponent or any of those things. Yeah. So I learned a lot about like what I can manage and what other folks can’t manage.

00:34:58:02 – 00:35:24:09
Yrthya
but I did do that. I have this, like little trick, which is pretty soon not going to work anymore because my daughter’s turning 12. But, usually when I come home from work, we have, like, a little time together. I’m not a ticklish person, but my daughter is very ticklish. So one of the things that I like to do, to kind of like be present in the moment, is to tickle her, because it’s the only way that I get to last minute tickling.

00:35:24:10 – 00:35:51:13
Yrthya
So, you know, it’s sort of like taking the time to find those moments where I could just be present in a way that’s like, very genuine. The other thing is, is, like I learned from one of my mentors a really long time ago, I think mentors are good for helping to reorient your brain, but one of my mentors is a man actually is very fond of saying, you know, we are human beings and by that fact, imperfect.

00:35:51:15 – 00:36:02:16
Yrthya
So just realize that you go every day, you walk on Earth as an imperfect thing. You know, it takes a lot of pressure off. Yeah.

00:36:02:18 – 00:36:04:16
Claudia
Yeah. It sounds so simple.

00:36:04:18 – 00:36:05:08
Yrthya
Yeah.

00:36:05:10 – 00:36:09:18
Claudia
Good advice. And what energizes you.

00:36:09:20 – 00:36:35:03
Yrthya
a good song. I love to go salsa dancing. I feel like I don’t do that enough, but that energizes me. I’m also energized by complicated, complex things that involve a lot of people. So, I, I like hanging out with people and understanding their thinking and solving complex problems together with them, especially when they don’t see it.

00:36:35:03 – 00:36:56:11
Yrthya
The way I see it, I want to sort of like close that chasm and get to like their point of view, to see the world in a different way. I’m like really animated by just being thrown into a sea of uncertainty and trying to figure out with other people how we, you know, get to the other side.

00:36:56:12 – 00:37:00:05
Yrthya
I love that. Yeah. Yeah.

00:37:00:05 – 00:37:22:14
Claudia
Fantastic. Well, I thank you so much for sharing your story on, my podcast Shift Happens. That was really, really insightful. And I do believe that this, as you called it, the imposter syndrome and the doubting is still something we, especially as women still need to work on a lot.

00:37:22:19 – 00:37:23:17
Yrthya
Yeah, yeah.

00:37:23:22 – 00:37:37:03
Claudia
It seems almost innate and maybe it’s just how we’ve been socialized, you know, for hundreds and hundreds of years. Almost. Right. So, Yeah. Yeah. Great topic, great story.

00:37:37:04 – 00:38:15:19
Yrthya
I wonder too, if, sometimes I think about it as are we just as women being honest about the fallibility of the things that we’re doing and men are just more accustomed to not speaking about it, and we’re just more accustomed to talking about it. But for whatever reason, I do think that we’re very much in touch with this sense of doubt about our own, you know, and supported by evidence as well, doubt about our ability to do things that were perfectly qualified, sometimes more than qualified to do.

00:38:15:22 – 00:38:42:22
Yrthya
Yeah, but if I could say the things for me that I think is really important. And I say this sometimes is that, you know, that doubt and, or that fear, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that feeling and those sentiments, but it’s equally important to realize that it’s just a feeling. It is not like a logical expression of reasons for why you shouldn’t do things.

00:38:42:22 – 00:38:43:15
Claudia
Yeah.

00:38:43:17 – 00:39:02:08
Yrthya
And so if you acknowledge the fear, recognize it’s a feeling and a sentiment. But you continue with, you know, sort of like the knowledge that you have the skill set and the experience to be an imperfect human in that situation.

00:39:02:10 – 00:39:03:01
Claudia
Yeah.

00:39:03:03 – 00:39:06:02
Yrthya
Go forward. Yeah, yeah.

00:39:06:04 – 00:39:17:15
Claudia
That was, a very nice closing set. And comment. So I thank you so much. And that was a very enriching conversation.

00:39:17:17 – 00:39:21:09
Yrthya
Thank you, Claudia, and I hope I’ll see you soon again.

00:39:21:09 – 00:39:36:10
Claudia
Yes, most definitely.

00:39:36:12 – 00:40:10:11
Claudia
I so love the story of overcoming the imposter syndrome, but also accepting it and letting it be, and yet still carry on. And it’s true with Yrthya said, we need to be the architect of our own career, because the only person who has your career interests at heart is you. Also, one can turn the imposter syndrome around and work through it to discover for oneself how strong capable talent and resilient one is.

00:40:10:13 – 00:40:42:17
Claudia
And then a third take away that Dorothea had shared in her notes with me, being the first in a role means nothing. If you don’t leave enough behind for someone else to take up the torch. This was a wonderful and calm conversation with many insights on women in the workplace. Listen and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you for sharing your time with me.

00:40:42:19 – 00:41:07:10
Claudia
Shift happens has been created and is hosted by me, Claudia Mahler, editing Andy Boroson, social media Magda, Reckendrees. I hope you felt connected and heard by listening to Shift Happens and please leave a review and a rating wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

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