MSNBC’s Daniela Pierre-Bravo’s Id Is Her Superpower


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When Daniela Pierre-Bravo, 31, now a bookings producer for MSNBC’s Morning Joe, first started to pursue a profession in tv, she knew that it might be a difficult highway as a girl of coloration to interrupt into an trade that isn’t identified for its variety. Her state of affairs had an extra layer of complexity, as Pierre-Bravo was an undocumented immigrant who got here to the U.S. from Chile when she was 11 years outdated.

Pierre-Bravo’s life modified drastically in 2012 (the 12 months she graduated from school), when President Barack Obama launched the Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented immigrants who have been dropped at the U.S. as youngsters from deportation.

Though DACA opened the door for Pierre-Bravo to work legally, she nonetheless grappled with the identical challenges that a big majority of girls of coloration proceed to face within the office immediately, the place inequities, microaggressions, and even overt racism are nonetheless rampant.

In her new guide, The Different: The way to Personal Your Energy at Work as a Lady of Coloration (out Aug. 23), Pierre-Bravo shares her journey in an effort to assist girls of coloration reshape the best way they consider profession development. She spoke to Nicely+Good about how these girls can use their variations as a bonus to advocate for themselves with out dropping their sense of id.

Nicely+Good: You’ve talked overtly concerning the challenges you confronted attempting to launch your profession as an undocumented immigrant and as a DACA recipient. How did these experiences tie into the thought to jot down this guide?

Daniela Pierre-Bravo: I co-wrote my first guide, Earn It! Know Your Worth and Develop Your Profession, in Your 20s and Past with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski in 2019, and I talked a bit bit about my story and the challenges it introduced as I tried to domesticate a profession.

Regardless that my expertise as a DACA recipient was portrayed in that guide, I felt like there wanted to be much more of an area for having this dialog [with] girls of coloration. Much more than that, it is for individuals who have felt like “others” of their lives and the way that is associated to the flexibility to convey extra energy into the office.

My sense of “otherness” comes from rising up undocumented. Sure, I am Latina; sure, I am an immigrant, and I face difficulties with that. However I am a white Latina on the finish of the day, and I’ve been afforded sure privileges that, for instance, my sister who’s Afro-Latina, in all probability did not have simply due to the colour of her pores and skin. I wished to have a guide that was particularly written for our neighborhood by our neighborhood. The guide isn’t just solely my voice and my sense of how my very own otherness muted me and acquired in the best way of my very own profession; it’s additionally the tales of Black girls, Asian girls, Center Japanese girls, Afro-Latinas, and so on., who’ve additionally had issue in reckoning with their very own id, with their sense of otherness and the way that is hindered their skill to take up extra space within the office.

W+G: Early on within the guide you write: “Your skill to point out up with authority and confidence at work received’t have an opportunity to develop at work in case you’re always constraining and checking your self, or staying in your lane in order to not ruffle any feathers.” Was that one thing you ever struggled with?

DPB: It is so necessary for me and for everyone else to grasp the origins of how we labeled ourselves “others,” as a result of, sure, I’ve battled with that sense of strolling on eggshells after I’ve been the youngest lady, the one lady, or the one Latina, and that inside menace of stereotypes goes up, which is what a number of different girls who I spoke to for the guide felt.

We have to perceive that our sense of “otherness”—our sense of feeling not ok—comes all the way down to an expertise the place anyone advised us we weren’t the identical as them, which might have been early on in your life, reminiscent of in your highschool or school days. That has an impact on how we present up within the office. It exhibits up in a gathering when you could have one thing of worth to say, for instance, concerning the neighborhood that you simply’re part of, or one thing you could perceive higher than anyone else within the room due to your id, however you’re feeling prefer it may not be nicely obtained. If you happen to have been to say these issues confidently and to advocate to your concepts moderately than staying quiet, that may have a ripple impact in your profession progress and what rooms you have allowed in to have a seat on the desk.

W+G: You additionally wrote that: “Our duality is our superpower, however once we always outsource for acceptance or to belong, we’re masking key components of who we’re.” Did you personally have experiences the place you felt you needed to disguise sure components of your self to have the ability to obtain skilled development?

DPB: Sure. One instance is after I acquired promoted to being a reserving producer at MSNBC, the place I used to be now serving to to decide on the editorial protection for the following day’s present. I had the ability of bringing in voices to be on TV, and typically these voices have been minority reporters or minority consultants who had by no means accomplished TV earlier than. I had the ability to convey them on and to get that publicity for them. However the issue was that even after I had the seat on the desk to precise my concepts, I used to be afraid I wasn’t sensible sufficient and that my concepts wouldn’t be well-received by higher-ups or different individuals round me.

For me, it was additionally about not being Latina “sufficient—or being “too” Latina—within the areas that I used to be in. I spent so a few years attempting to suppress who I used to be as an immigrant… I’ve at all times been pleased with it, however I’ve at all times felt disgrace about being undocumented. There’s a number of inside disgrace and inside guilt that will get buried in these early experiences and emotions of being an immigrant who should not be right here due to these messages I heard on a regular basis rising up.

At any time when I entered a room after I discovered success initially of my profession, my intuition was to subconsciously disguise that a part of myself and to tread calmly. I needed to reckon with this concept that, sure, I could possibly be 100% American, and sure, I will also be 100% Latina, and I haven’t got to be ashamed of that.

W+G: You point out that whereas many individuals expertise imposter syndrome sooner or later of their lives, proof exhibits that minority communities are disproportionately affected, and that it ought to fall closely on office management to create a way of belonging and inclusion for girls of coloration. What particularly would you prefer to see workplaces doing higher on this regard?

DPB: Imposter syndrome is a label that’s laborious for me to speak about with all of the noise round it as a result of for girls of coloration, imposter syndrome is one thing completely different. There are the emotions of feeling such as you’re not ok, which comes from your self. However then there are the true, structural and systematic ways in which we’re oppressed.

Within the office, once we speak about variety, inclusion, and belonging, it’s a call-out to leaders, managers, [and] people who find themselves recruiting girls (and males) of coloration to offer them fairness and never only a seat on the desk. This implies listening and implementing their concepts once they do speak about them, not overlooking them for promotions and development, and actually giving them help. If a girl is employed for a particular position, that lady must be given help to do what she got here to do.

One of many largest complaints the ladies I talked to for the guide had was that they have been getting used to focus on variety and inclusion, however then they weren’t being given the help that they wanted to truly do their jobs. I feel for leaders who actually need to be a part of this dialog in an actual and significant manner, it isn’t sufficient to easily convey girls of coloration on board.

W+G: Within the guide, you give recommendation on the best way to flip the tables while you’re met with microaggressions. Having been in these sorts of conditions many occasions myself, I can say that’s typically simpler stated than accomplished. What sort of recommendation would you provide somebody there?

DPB: I hesitate to place blanket profession recommendation on this as a result of there are some conditions the place in case you name out a microaggression, [you] can have actual repercussions. Sadly, we now have to fastidiously strategize how we need to take care of it till the system modifications.

If you happen to’re ready the place a remark was made and also you did not say something within the second and it is sitting with you, interfering together with your skill to work, I’d completely say have a dialog with that individual and ask for clarification on what they meant. In the event that they double-down on what they stated, or if it’s a recurring state of affairs, I’d think about escalating it with HR.

It’s additionally necessary to have a help system you may depend on for self care. Throughout the pandemic, I began a digital girls’s profession and mentorship neighborhood known as Acceso Neighborhood, the place we now have small periods the place we’d meet to speak about these items and share tips about the best way to take care of them.

W+G: Has having such a public-facing profession lent itself to extra challenges associated to your immigration standing or vice versa? Has it impacted your psychological well being in any respect?

DPB: I work in information, so on daily basis I see the implications of hate and vitriol. Within the guide, I additionally speak about an occasion in 2019, the place I did a chat in my hometown of Lima, Ohio, after my first guide launch, which was promoted on the native information the day earlier than. That night time, I acquired a very nasty e-mail about how I didn’t belong right here due to my immigration standing, and it had me weighing if I ought to skip the occasion, which I in the end didn’t do.

I debated whether or not or not I wished to offer this incident house within the guide and ended up together with it as a result of I wished individuals to grasp what’s at stake once we do resolve to consider these hateful, biased and prejudicial issues that individuals may throw our manner. That’s the message of all the guide, which is realizing that by believing these feedback, we’re tainting our personal narrative about ourselves and that takes away our energy.

W+G: And on the opposite facet, has typically being the one minority labored to your benefit in some methods?

DPB: Having the ability to communicate Spanish has allowed me to have the ability to collaborate throughout platforms and do reporting in Spanish, which has, after all, been useful to my profession. I feel in any office setting, bringing that duality and that second language or second tradition is at all times going to make what it’s important to provide and what you convey to the desk extra wealthy and strong.

As soon as I actually embraced that duality about being 100% Latina and 100% American, I used to be lastly in a position to be extra assured in writing about my story. I used to be extra comfy expressing concepts as a result of I knew there have been different individuals on the market who could be mirrored in my story and within the tales that we put on the market for the present.

I feel that’s the ability of understanding your individual id; to know and to understand that this nation and the demographic of this nation is rising towards being extra various. Gen Z is essentially the most various technology on the market, and I feel that is what we now have to recollect: that fairly quickly, we’re not going to be the one and the few. That’s why it is so necessary to essentially perceive the best way to use our seat on the desk.

W+G: It’s no secret that girls are nonetheless out-earned by males on this nation, with the wage hole being much more huge for girls of coloration, and Latinas particularly being on the backside of the chain. What modifications do you assume must be made to assist us get nearer to reaching pay fairness for girls of coloration?

DPB: I feel that there are two sides of the coin right here. One falls squarely on management to open the enjoying area and actually double down and truly stroll the stroll on the variety and inclusion bit, to offer, as I discussed earlier than, extra fairness to girls of coloration.

The opposite half is to deal with what we will management, which is how we select to advocate and negotiate for ourselves. The large a part of the journey that I take the reader on, which is the extra introspective half, is to grasp the origins of our “otherness,” and the way our tradition hinders and likewise helps us. For instance, I really like my mother and my abuelita, and so they gave nice recommendation typically. However typically that recommendation was “Put your head down and do the work.” I heard the phrases “be grateful” so many occasions rising up. I feel we now have to reckon with our personal lived experiences as minorities and immigrants as a result of these are messages that aren’t simply a part of the Latino neighborhood. It is this sense of not realizing the best way to discern when the worth of your work is definitely value greater than it’s. It’s so necessary to be taught to discern when you might want to ask for extra and the best way to do it. Realizing the best way to discern while you’ve taken on an excessive amount of and advocating for your self can also be so necessary.

The second factor is to know the market charge, particularly while you’re in a job the place that data may not be clear-cut or on the market. That is the place getting a help system and never being afraid of asking individuals what their charges are, or asking individuals for his or her salaries is so necessary, and I’ve some language within the guide to assist with this. Clearly begin with a colleague or neighborhood that you simply’re comfy with; my Acceso Neighborhood is an instance the place we do speak about these items overtly.

W+G: Within the guide, you speak about the way you tried to downplay your Latinidad rising up. I discovered that super-relatable, as I’m Peruvian and spent my highschool years in a small, very white city in Oregon. I felt like I needed to work twice as laborious to be taken significantly by my friends and lecturers. What message would you need to ship to younger Latinas in related conditions, particularly in the event that they’re feeling insecure about bringing their true selves to work?

DPB: That’s the place I began pondering in a different way about myself, like, “Yeah, I am an immigrant, I am a Latina, and I am the one one right here, nice; let me use it. Let me convey different individuals to the desk.” Know that your heritage, tradition, and id are stunning, strong and wealthy and will let you see the world another way. Whenever you embrace your duality and really feel extra comfortable with who you might be, you’ll additionally permit different individuals to comply with in your footsteps.

This interview was calmly edited for readability.

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