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The Power Of Authenticity And Speaking Your Truth With LaToria Pierce

The greatest brands, be that personal or as a company, know how to tell a story. Often, the kind of story that captivates comes from a place that is authentic. In this new series on storytelling, Rosie Zilinskas invites someone who can speak about the power of authenticity and speaking your truth. She sits down with engagement specialist and entrepreneur, LaToria Pierce. A storyteller at heart, strategic thinker, and strong leader, LaToria has figured out that her story is her imposter syndrome’s kryptonite. She inspires by sharing how she learned to overcome the fear and doubt that held her back from rising to the occasion. Bringing the component of storytelling to the business space, LaToria makes room not only for herself to show up as authentically as she is but also for others to do the same. Join her in this great conversation as she imparts more wisdom about her mission, the power of creating space for communities, and how to write stories that are powerful and real.  


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The Power Of Authenticity And Speaking Your Truth With LaToria Pierce

Storytelling Series Episode 1 Of 3

This episode is the first in a three-part series on storytelling. We just finished the negotiation series, and now I want you to understand a little bit about how you translate the information that you have discovered about yourself in the negotiation series into a story about your performance. It’s going to be powerful and impactful. LaToria Pierce is here to help us and she is a powerhouse. She says that her story is her imposter syndrome’s kryptonite. She is going to talk to us about authenticity and speaking your truth. She is a storyteller at heart, a strategic thinker, and a strong leader. We’re going to have a great conversation with her. LaToria Pierce is an engagement specialist and entrepreneur in the Greater Washington DC area. A storyteller at heart, her work spans tech startup media and marketing industries. She’s passionate about making space and building solutions that enable brands, communities, and individuals to tell their stories. Stay tuned to this powerful conversation with LaToria.

Before we go into the episode, I wanted to remind you that there is a free quiz that you can take on If you log onto the homepage and you scroll down slightly, you’re going to see a section that says, Let’s Find Out Where You Are In Your Career. If you click on the radio button that’s called Take The Quiz, there will be a popup that comes up and it says, “What’s the key blocker in your career path?” There are three key blockers that you may be operating under and you may not even know it. If you click on Take The Quiz, it’s going to be about ten questions. It shouldn’t take you more than three minutes then you’re going to be able to get some additional resources by taking the quiz.

LaToria, thank you so much for being on the show. I watched one of your videos on LinkedIn and you were talking to a group. You said that your story is your imposter syndrome’s kryptonite. What do you mean by that? It’s like your origin story is your imposter syndrome’s kryptonite. That was something that was given to me by my therapist Keith. We were talking about how a lot of times in life we don’t feel like we can rise to the occasion. An opportunity may come and we start to doubt and question ourselves, but we really got everything we need in us for whatever the task, experience, or opportunity ahead of us is. The essence of that is saying that something within your lived experience and something within who you are, your character, and your integrity has already been gifted to you or embedded in you for the moment, opportunity, and experience that you’re facing. It’s the thing to take down that imposter syndrome that’s trying to convince you that you’re the imposter. That was the essence. Our conversation is largely around storytelling. It’s perfect because we’re coming right off of an eight-episode series on negotiating and figuring out your why, how, all your skills, and stuff. I love that we’re going into the storytelling series now because what you said is perfect for the segue. An individual or a woman that is trying to advance in her career, and wants to have that conversation with her manager. What you said is perfect because everything that you need is within you, but we need to illustrate to our audience how they will now arrange all of the research that they’ve done because I’ve told them, “Go on different websites and figure out how much you’re worth or how much you want to earn. Figure out your skills. Figure out all of your accomplishments.” They’ve already done the research. Now it’s a matter of how will they communicate with their manager. Let’s start there. What would you recommend our audience do after they’ve done all their research? I love that you said that because, in anything, research is important. Whenever we think about opening our mouths or getting started to communicate or express something, we trip up with the concern of saying it the right way. We get caught up in that thought of, “Am I going to say it the wrong way? Are my words right?” It’s like the cat doesn’t have to have our tongue. It’s knotted up in insecurity and doubt. The presentation is important. When I say presentation, I don’t mean articulation and eloquence. It’s the preparation. We can liken it to anything else we do in life. When we go into the kitchen and we prepare to cook, even something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we already know what our ingredients are. I don’t have to tell us that. We know we need a utensil and we know that there’s a process by that we like to prepare our sandwiches. Your process may be different from mine, but the common thread is at the bare minimum, we need peanut butter, jelly, bread, and a utensil. It’s the same thing when we think about how we express ourselves. We don’t just show up and wing it, especially when it’s a serious conversation. We come prepared. It’s gathering that information. Whether I’m talking to my mom about something important or within the workspace, especially being a female founder of color in the tech space, where I’m expressing something about myself and my vision for my company, one of the things that I try to do is I think through those ingredients first before I talk to anybody else about it. I always encourage folks to find a little space. This could be in your car or while you were at the gym. You put in some headphones or preferably grab a few minutes of silent space and think through what you want to say. Sometimes some folks don’t trust their own ear so they need someone else. It doesn’t hurt to have a person or a good friend that you can call. Talk through some of those talking points or some of those preparation points. This is the most important thing because this comes down to just the human experience. Speak from your most authentic self. Focus on that and prepare. Even if you bullet it out and you get there, your hands are shaking and your palms are sweaty, that’s all right. Take a deep breath, what then comes from that is the depth of your authenticity. The reason why I say that is because, in this life, we have many different titles depending on the environments we’re in. At the end of the day, when it comes to self-expression, your truth is your truth. It doesn’t matter if that conversation is personal or professional. You make up your mind and that’s an influential internal thing. You say, “I’m going to speak my truth,” and then the delivery flows.
NWB 54 | Power Of Authenticity
Power Of Authenticity: In this life, we have many different titles depending on the environments we’re in. At the end of the day, when it comes to self-expression, your truth is your truth.
Take those nuggets and ingredients that you prepared. Review them, whether it be a personal review or you get with someone that you trust and that you’re comfortable with, and you talk through it. When you show up, it’s like you’re advocating for yourself. That ability to advocate starts with your authenticity. Keep it real. Tell it like it is. That effect, nobody can make that up. Nobody can teach you. It’s magic. It just happens. The more we do it, the more confident we become in the process. When we’re talking about storytelling, it is exactly what you said. It’s coming from a space of you being prepared, but telling your truth. In that video that I watched about you, you mentioned that especially when we’re talking about business, we sometimes try to not necessarily hide but not highlight ourselves or almost keep ourselves in the closet a little bit. Do you want to talk a little bit about that? That for me has been a process. You learn every day that if you dim your light or you don’t spread your wings in a moment or opportunity, you lose time to feel good, cultivate your own happiness, and see what could happen. In the last 2 to 3 years, I put in a lot of work to learn how to spread my wings as far as they would go, turn my light up to their maximum, and see what happens. It’s important because when we dim our light or shy away, it’s typically a thought that makes us be like, “I’ll be bold enough,” and then the thought comes. We’re like, “Nevermind,” or we shrink. It ends up being this very weird version of self-defeat. If you dim your light or don't spread your wings in a moment or opportunity, you lose time to feel good, cultivate your own happiness, and see what could happen. – LaToria Pierce Share on X Going back to that authenticity piece, one of the things I told myself is to say what you mean to say. Say what you feel. I already know that I’m not reckless. There’s going to be some protocol naturally to the things that come out of my mouth. I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t filter myself and if I said it like I feel it, whatever that organic voice is or that organic expression. I then told myself, “It may be scary when I speak about certain things, but give yourself three months and collect the data. If it works against you, you start a bunch of fights, you lose friends, and people close the door on you, come January 1st, don’t do that. What if something different or unique happens? Something stirs up inside of me and then it changes things around me like I’ve never seen it before. Now I’ve discovered a new way to get from point A to point B to accomplish my goals, to not only express myself but to have moments where I can help other folks glean from that experience and try it out for themselves. As we talk here, I’m only 10 days out from that 3-month experience. It has brought to fruition many amazing things. All that to say, just know that when that thought comes and you side with it to go ahead and be quiet, mute yourself, dim your light, and tuck your wings, you are removing time and opportunity from yourself to see what would happen if you showed up, not just for you but for someone else. Another thing I always try to think about is that when we face a hurdle, what we decide to do in that hurdle dictates what happens not only for us but also those who come after us, other women of color, other people in general, and folks who may be a bit more soft-spoken or have the same qualities as us. Those bold moves that you make and even the baby steps count. They’re not only for you but you’re paving a path for somebody that’s coming behind you as well. That should be enough motivation to say, “Let me try.” When we face a hurdle, what we decide to do in that hurdle dictates what happens not only for us but also those who come after us. – LaToria Pierce Share on X In the work that you and I are doing, we want to be able to spread the word and help those women that are coming up behind us because you’re a person of color. I don’t look like I’m a person of color because I’m very White-complected, but I’m 100% Mexican. All my family is dark-complected. Mexican is a combination of Spanish people with indigenous. I am more light-complected from Spanish heritage, but I have sisters that are dark-complected. It depends. When you have that thought and you’re like, “What if this happens,” and then you shrink yourself inside your brain and you’re like, “Nevermind, but instead go for it. Do it because otherwise, you are allowing that fear to manage your life. That’s so unfortunate. I know that you’re a storyteller at heart and also a strategic thinker. How do you blend both of those in the business world? That has become my superpower. I’ve learned that bringing that component of storytelling into the business space makes room for me to show up as LaToria and for other folks to show up as themselves. I have been on calls with millionaire male investors and I have seen tears in their eyes. We look as different as night and day. We’ve had two different life experiences, but at that moment, it creates a sense of intimacy. Intimacy for the word of connection. That is a powerful thing. It starts with me listening to myself. Life gets noisy. The more titles we have, the noisier it becomes. My best friend and I were talking about how there’s this expectation to put others before ourselves if a sacrifice has to be made, especially with women. For example, in the work that I do in the future of workspace. When COVID hit 100% of the folks who exited the workforce in December 2020 were women. Why? It’s because children couldn’t go to school. There was no discussion. The automatic expectation was that all mothers would stay home. That’s what happened. It’s a societal expectation. As women, because we nurture and care for those that we love, we jump in and do what we have to do. When we think about that, it’s like, “I’m already having to sacrifice anyway. I’m already having to take on extra expectations anyway.” If we’re going to do it anyway, let’s use our own voices, or let’s tell folks what we need to do it right. The truth of the matter is the environment can only go far without us. That workforce exit was a major concern to employers because we know for sure that GDP shows that when women are not a part of the workforce, there’s an economic effect. It’s a major and measurable one. There’s a contribution that comes from the skillsets, presence, and expertise of women in professional spaces. What I mean by that is the workforce is already telling us our value. We have to know it, hold onto it, and speak up for it. What’s the worst that can happen? We’re like, “I don’t want to find out.” It’s like, “Let me think and talk about that.” If we think about it, the worst that can happen is an irrational thought. That’s the reality of it. The worst that can happen never happens, especially when you’re advocating for someone and especially when it’s yourself. That’s what I did. This is going to sound weird, but this is how I get myself to be brave. Sometimes I’ll say, “LaToria, what would a 90-year-old LaToria say to a 39-year-old LaToria? Would she be like, ‘Girl, you should have taken that opportunity to say X, Y, and Z because that would’ve been good for both of us. Me now and you then.’” I think about that. If I think that I would arrive at 90 and regret that in my late 30s when I had them, I was using my voice, I was right at the moment, and it was that action moment, what would I have done? When I think about having kids and grandkids, what would I tell them? My mother always says, “You can’t invest in anyone else until you invest in yourself.” That even comes down to the conversations we have in the workspace to express our needs, desires, and vision. That’s one of the things I did. I’m like, “What are the things that are important to me, my character, integrity, and everyday life?” Let me make room for those things in the workspace and look like the same person in both environments. That’s what I try to do. I try to bring all of LaToria to the workspace. If somebody doesn’t like it, that’s okay. We can have a discussion because there’s a culture, an environment, and a place where I belong, and I am just right. If that’s not here, it’s somewhere. We’ll find it as long as we speak up. If we give in and we acquiesce to that fear, we’re holding ourselves back. That storytelling piece comes from us saying, “I’m going to say what I feel and bring what I know.” I’m going to draw from my character and integrity, and in the same way, I inject that in my personal life, I’m going to make room for that and plant seeds of that in my professional environment as well. It is amazing what will happen. The leadership and the execs above you, you’ll end up leading them and managing up in certain ways. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful manner. I mean it in a growth manner and a relational approach. It’s amazing what could happen when we take our truth because that’s what storytelling is. We put it into places that matter to us outside our personal life. Thank you for clarifying that storytelling piece. You said it’s telling your truth and putting it out in the world. That’s what we’re talking about. I’m glad you said that because I was going to ask you about whenever we’re talking about storytelling, what exactly are we talking about? I love that you clarified that it’s telling your truth. From having diversity, not just with women but with women of color in leadership positions, you can tell that companies prosper better. There’s a lot more diversity, but all that diversity brings points that maybe that particular company had not thought about. A lot of times because of that different perspectives, they do better financially. It helps everybody to have not only women in those leadership positions, but women of color, whether they’re Black, Hispanic, indigenous, or whatever. We all have to tell our stories. I love the fact that you said that you may not be liked by everyone, but there is a place in the world for you where you belong. With equity, inclusion, and now belonging, especially people in the corporate world have now discovered that people just want to belong. They want to come and they want to do a job. They want to be accepted as they are for who they are and do a good job. How many stories have we heard that when you are accepted and you’re welcomed, you’re more productive, you do better, and you thrive? We all want to live a good life. This is why you and I are doing the work that we’re doing. Let’s say you have a mission to build others up through your words and empower communities through the work. Tell me a little bit about the work that you’ve done. You’re a founder of tech startups. Tell me a little bit. I see the passion in you and the work that you’re doing. I want you to tell us a little bit about your story. How did you come up with your mission? Why is it important for you to empower communities? Thank you for grabbing that. That is more of a life mission for me, inspiring through my work and empowering communities through my work. I have this crazy background. It looks crazy at first and then you arrived at certain places in your life and you’re like, “That’s why I had to go through that experience.” It was this mashup or this mosaic of business meets social impact, and then marketing, and then tech came in there. A bit of my origin story, I was that kid who always loved storytelling. When I was 4 or 5, I would watch Sally Jessy Raphael, Oprah, and Donahue. What stood out to me was all the emotions that were provoked when you saw these folks. Sitting on stage having conversations and being young, I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I saw the people and their reactions. I was always a talker. I looked for spaces where talking and conversation seemed to thrive. As I got a little older, I loved storytelling. I loved the movie space. After middle school, I would get it home, and back then it was like the landline phones. I would call Paramount and Warner Brothers. My poor parents would be like, “You were on hold with Paramount all the way in California for two hours. This cost us. Let’s shorten the time.” I had so many questions because I wanted to know how they create these works of art and allow people to have a voice. I wanted to understand that. That was always in me. I went on to do work in the domestic violence space, a lot of work in the community, supporting businesses, from small businesses to global brands and nonprofits by connecting with target consumers and underrepresented communities, all around products and services that would empower our better lives. From the automotive industry to the healthcare training institute industry, the DV industry, and working with organizations like AARP Foundation, FinTech companies like LifeSense, and partnerships with organizations like Wells Fargo Foundation. It all came together up to the work that I’m doing now at Handoff, and building software that enables job sharing. At the heart of it all was creating solutions that would allow somebody to have a stronger step and a more solid foundation. In the midst of that, producing some talk shows and sparking dialogue and conversation that made room for folks to have their voices heard, especially those that we weren’t hearing. No matter how the work changes, being a founder in tech was definitely something I didn’t see a couple of years ago, but then you learned that technology is just a resource. You can use it to close the gap. You could put it behind in any kind of art and any industry, and it could help you to scale or to do some good.
NWB 54 | Power Of Authenticity
Power Of Authenticity: Technology is just a resource. You can use it to close the gap. You could put it in any kind of art and industry, and it could help you to scale or do some good.
I try to make sure that in any work that I do, I hold onto that personal mission. I find spaces and I’m always grateful for platforms like yours where I can have the dialogue that inspires the world. When I turn around and I do that work, whether it’s leading my team as a founder in the tech space, whether it was the days that I was deep into the heart of communities, in churches or schools, and having conversations around domestic violence resources, I always try to make sure that I show up and use my voice. When I didn’t, I was always blessed with somebody. I had a good mentor of mine. She’s no longer with us, but with Sophie Ford. When I worked in the DV space, she was the executive director of the organization I worked for. She brought me on to do some community engagement around the services that we were offering around domestic violence. I remember I was going out and speaking they had some folks on the political end and I was getting a little uncomfortable. She looked me in the face and said, “I did not hire you to do this work to dim your light or to tuck your wings. You turn that light up to its maximum and spread those wings because that is my expectation of you. Every single person that you’re spreading this message for needs to receive it. They need you to turn that light up to a maximum. I expect nothing less of that.” That expectation came from someone that I respect as someone who hired me. I was like, “You got to show up,” and I did. It made a lot of changes all the way up to the House and the Senate. I first came up with that mission. I was like, “What do I want to do no matter the work? No matter where I go or who I meet, what do I want to be known for?” Once I had that two-line statement, every way I walk in, I find a way to make sure I can birth and cultivate that. Thank you for your work in the domestic abuse space because part of my origin story is that I was in a domestic abuse situation. I had to leave in the middle of the day with my kids. I had a very long arduous four-year divorce that financially ruined me. That’s what I talk about because, for so many years, I was ashamed of having gone through that situation to no fault of my own. That was my life. A lot of the work that I do is because I want women to be able to have a career where they can support themselves. Like your parents, my mom was always the one that said, “You have to be able to take care of yourself and your kids. It’s important for you to have a career and work.” When I was married, my ex-husband stayed home with the kids. At the time, I was like, “I wish I was the one that stayed home.” It gave me the opportunity to keep working. The ability to have that job and that salary gave me the opportunity to leave a very unfortunate situation. I’m grateful for people like yourself because I had a lot of support with not knowing what to do. Thank you for the work that you’ve done with domestic abuse. I went to see a lawyer right after I left. A lawyer told me, “You’re a classic example of a domestic abuse violence victim.” The thought that went through my head was, “How is that possible? I am a working professional.” It didn’t dawn on me that I was in that situation because it happened very slowly. It impacts everybody of all races and of all ages. We need people like yourself with your work and your passion. It’s an important topic. One of the things that society doesn’t do is recognize that it’s predominantly women who go through these experiences. The data shows that, but the word is survivor. You survived that. We all have different stories and lived experiences where we’ve been a survivor, whether it’s a health situation or a relationship. We can all think of a moment when we had to overcome them. That is what you did. It’s important to look for ways in a society where we can create a sense of community and support for others. One of the things I love most about the work I’m doing, though it’s challenging, is when we think about ushering in a job share model. Job sharing allows for caregivers, which are majority women, to be able to have career-building non-gig work that allows for them to have better salaries and benefits while still having the time to be present at home for the people and the moments that matter.
NWB 54 | Power Of Authenticity
Power Of Authenticity: It’s important to look for ways in society where we can create a sense of community and support for others.
When you create that kind of space, because balance is something that should be a norm, not a luxury, it allows for individuals who are at a point in their lives where they may be in a dark moment. They may be in a tough moment or an unhealthy relationship to say, “I have options because I have an opportunity.” It’s very important. I thank God for my dad coming into the picture but in the early years of my life, my mom was a teen mom. She had my older sister and me by the age of eighteen. She worked hard to still go to school and survive. There’s a part of our story where as a bread-winning mother and as a young mother, she also had to be in a space of safety. More support has to happen for women, for people, and for the men too who experience it in different environments. We have to cultivate that in different ways. It’s in community organizations, be it church or even the local YMCAs or spaces that are made for gathering to work environments. At the end of the day, behavioral science is a big part of the work that we do. Behavioral science considers the fact that it’s simple. A person’s thoughts and the things that happen in their external environment affect their behavior. There’s a lot we can do to help individuals through that process. It comes down to making space. As we’re talking about storytelling today, it’s like, “How do you make space?” It does start with a conversation. When we talk about conversation, there are connections and conversation. How does connection happen? When we’re okay with grabbing from our origin story and lived experience, telling our truth, and depositing that into the dialogue, it allows for something different to happen like what we’re doing here. It’s funny because when I first started working on my origin story, I’m like, “How am I going to see this?” Now that it’s out there in, I have a book with the chapter of my story. The only two people that I was concerned about were my children. My son is 24 and my daughter is 21. I said, “This is my story. I’m not trying to hurt anybody or anything, but it’s part of my life.” I can’t hide it or push it. I’m no longer ashamed of it because I know it’s not my fault. It happened for me, not to me. Even when I was building Handoff, I was nervous to tell my mom. We don’t run around talking about that. This is the first time publicly where that was a part of the conversation. I was like, “My mom is going to mind. I didn’t ask her permission.” I was like, “It’s my story. There’s a part where it’s all my own. Even though my mom was eighteen, I was one year old.” That became my story. That matters. If we put these barriers in place and that fear of thought to say, “I shouldn’t say anything. What if somebody reads it and this person is offended and it turns into an argument?”All those thoughts are irrational. It’s like, “Why do I want to share this? When is stirring up in me that says it’s time to talk about it?” A lot of times, when we don’t share, we hold other people back from their breakthroughs as well. It’s our story that lights a flame, sparks a thought, and deposits that last dose of courage to someone else who needs it to go the extra mile and take that one step that’s going to be life-changing or lifesaving for them. A lot of times, when we are victimized as survivors of anything, it’s almost like a prison. The biggest fear we have is this belief that we’re the only one. We’re dressed in this costume that says, “I’m the only one.” We wear a scarlet letter that says, “I’m the only one.” You then open your mouth and you learn that literally out of 5 women, 3 could finish your sentence with their own story. The best part of that is not just the pain of the story but the triumph. Sometimes you’re at step 10 and I’m at step 2. Telling me what you did to get from 2 to 10 gives me an a-ha moment of how I’m going to do that. The biggest fear we have is this belief that we're the only one. – LaToria Pierce Share on X Growth happens when we tell our stories and when we keep them real in telling our stories. Don’t take out the stuff that you think looks ugly. That is what I’m learning now because it’s real. There are certain things. I’ll do a quick analogy. My team and I were doing a Christmas elixir-type of party. A cool girl got on with us and sent us these little boxes. They had all these natural ingredients like chocolate, peppermints, and all these natural powders. It was rooted in its natural form. When you taste these things one by one by themselves, some of them taste bitter. Some of them had disgusting tastes, but when they mixed and blended all the ingredients together, it was magnificent. There was enough sweetness. The balance was there. It’s the same thing with our stories. If you remove those things that sound bitter, that look dark and don’t fit right because you feel like, “I’m going to be judged” or you’re afraid about how that’s going to look, you dilute the story. It doesn’t stick. People say, “How does the story stick?” Bring all the stuff. You can decide the dose and how much you want to give, but make sure that it’s authentic. Make sure that when you tell it, there’s no conviction that, “I was holding back.” You can decide on that delivery. It starts with that first time showing up. I love all that you said there because of the fact about the connection and the authenticity. Truth be told, it was my connection with my OB-GYN that I had with her because she was the one that was like, “You need to do something about this. You can’t be in this relationship.” It wasn’t that I was hiding it from my family. I wasn’t telling them what was happening because I wasn’t sure that I was in. I didn’t even know what was happening myself until my doctor was like, “This is not right. This is not normal. You need to do something.” That’s where the connection and trust come in. If you are in a situation where you confide, whether it’s to a physician or a trusted family member, and having that authenticity, sometimes people will say, “That’s not right. You need to do something about that.” That changes your life, whether it’s your personal situation or at work. This is why you and I are passionate about the work that we do. It’s because we want to make sure that whatever message you’re listening to out there resonates with even one person. If you are in the corporate world and you’re trying to advance in your career, tell your truth and your story in a connection and relational way authentically. That’s where the magic happens. What happens is it allows that person permission to meet you in being human. It always will spark something for somebody. Maybe it was an experience their mother went through or as a child, something that they saw other neighbors go through. Here they are an adult and the decision maker, the boss, manager, CFO, or CEO. You’re sitting in front of them and you’re giving this authenticity. I’m a lover of quotes and I know you are too. I’m going to share one. One of my quotes is, “Vulnerability is strength. It’s not a weakness.” You are standing in your strength and moments where you are vulnerable. Brené Brown says, “People have to earn the right to hear certain things.” You’ll know the person you want to go to. When you show vulnerability, that’s not you being weak or you coming before them like, “I can’t.” That’s you showing exhibiting strength. It inspires even the folks who are the decision-makers in your organization. When we do that, it allows people to show up also as a part of a human experience. Not as your boss or CEO, but as whoever they are by name and as you’re there standing by name telling your story. You’d be surprised. You’ll be there asking for one opportunity, but because of how bold you were and intentional, they’ll lean on you for additional support. Just make sure you get paid for it. I’ll contribute to it, but that also comes with the cause. It’s the best thing that we can do. It also makes sure that we value every day that we’re alive. We don’t know enough about tomorrow to live today timidly. We don't know enough about tomorrow to live today timidly. – LaToria Pierce Share on X Many women are afraid of what they are going to say. “Maybe they won’t get it” or “I don’t qualify. I don’t have the qualifications for the job.” That’s exactly why I started doing what I’m doing. It’s because I am tired of seeing how women hold themselves back in their careers. It’s time for someone to be like, “No, you can do this. You are brave and bold.” That’s how I always end my show, “Be brave, be bold, and take action.” That is what I want women to do. I was thinking about it years back. I’m 53, and I’ve been around the block. When I was much younger and I had a problem, I would always go to 4 or 5 people. I have three sisters and a couple of best friends. I would gather information. Based on all the information that I gathered, I would make a decision on whatever was happening. Because I’ve gone through life and I have kids, now I’m like, “When I do have a problem, I rely on me. What do I think and feel about that?” I can talk to my family but I no longer go to others because I know the answer is within me. I know you know what to do and what the right thing is. We have to own that final decision. It’s important because the more we do that one by one, it makes our sight laser focused. We want to be able to measure growth. What you did that’s called doing the work. I love how you use the example of, “Maybe I won’t go for that job because I don’t have all the skills.” Let me tell you something. If you don’t go for it, the person who fills the job doesn’t have all the skillsets. If they start and quit tomorrow, the person who fills it will not have all the skillsets. I don’t care if they went to ten Ivy League universities, I would love for somebody to come and sit before my face and say that they could put a check in every single box on a job description. They would be lying and I would end the conversation there. The reason why I know that is that we all have an area in which we need to learn from the ground up or we’re still growing. None of us have ever fully arrived, even the folks who are the best of the best. You give them something and they’ll tell you, “Writing is my strength but math is not,” or “You let me dissect and I can do that all day, but public speaking, no.” We all have that. A part of being an expert is being a student. That’s another thing that I embrace. If I look at a job and I’m like, “For the most part, I got the core needs that’ll make sure that I don’t seek the boat.” I won’t lie. It’s rare that we try to throw ourselves in the deep end. If we approach a job, there’s a passion there, and a curiosity that’s been sparked, and there’s something we bring to the table. If you notice that steps 1 through 3, you’re like, “I didn’t do that,” the first thought should be, “Are there other skills I can pull from to reskill and upskill that can pour deposit into this?” One thing that women are known for is time, crisis, and prioritization management in their personal life. If you’ve been doing those things in your personal life, you can pull from that and pump it into the professional environment. You’re the same person. The dialogue is just different. The root of storytelling also is us making room day by day and moment by moment to build in our thought process and in how we express that. Don’t get caught up in articulation and eloquence. Focus on keeping it real and authentic.
NWB 54 | Power Of Authenticity
Power Of Authenticity: Don’t get caught up in articulation and eloquence. Focus on keeping it real and authentic.
The more we do that, we’ll start to notice that no matter what room we show up in, whether it’s a demanding parent, a child who we’ve been enabling, a boss who is holding us back and/or not holding us back, but they’re too busy to see our potential, or it’s us. We’re looking at an opportunity and it’s like, “I want to start a business. I want to go for this.” We’ll be able to talk to ourselves and others in a way that says, “Here is who I am. Here’s my goal and the support that I need from you. As I have your support, here’s what I’m going to bring to the table, and let me tell you why.” This has been an amazing conversation. Would you be able to share with us either a couple of powerful phrases or a couple of tips that our audience can benefit from so that they can use them in their careers? One of the quotes that I heard was from a fellow founder and friend of mine, Wemimo Abbey of the Unicorn startup Esusu. He always says, “Be caught trying.” We could stay right there because I don’t want folks to forget that. That is such a powerful statement. We realize that starts with us. Whatever it is, whether we have a weight-loss journey, we want to let go of the past, we want to progress to a certain opportunity, or pursue a role or a promotion at work, when we think about, “What can I do to help myself get ahead or closer to that goal,” be caught trying. When we take that first step to make an effort, 100% of the time, somebody comes along and helps us get a step further. A good friend of mine, Eva, calls them our cheerleaders. Be caught trying. That means you don’t have to have all the answers or know everything, but you’re in action. You’re in motion of being ready. I have a million others in my head but I told myself, “Hold on to that one. I don’t want anybody to forget that.” At this moment, I want to encourage the audience. Think of that goal that pressing on your heart. It’s the heaviest one. It’s the one that’s in your ears and face. I want you to look at that goal and say, “I’m going to be caught trying.” Sit with that for about 24 hours. Let that quote and action-oriented phrase inspire your next step. You want to be caught trying. The main takeaway that I have from our conversation is to be true to yourself. If you try to hide yourself and your light, you’re doing yourself and the world a disservice. Someone needs you to do whatever it is that you’re trying to do to be a brighter light in the world. Give yourself permission to simply have a human experience. Step outside of all the titles and categories, personal versus professional. When I step into this environment, I have to be a different person. We all know the protocol. It’s somebody who comes to our house. There’s a way we’re going to make these spaces comfortable. Give yourself permission to simply have a human experience. – LaToria Pierce Share on X We all know the protocol, but when it comes to how we make room for ourselves and show up how we use our voice, go deep. Get to the root and surface of the authenticity of your core. Start grabbing from there, especially when you think about telling your story. The reason why you’re doing that is because you need it to be as real as possible. It’s keeping it 100 as we say or being authentic. That’s going to make that story stick. People think it’s all these skills that you’re taught, “We read all these books.” You can learn all those things, have more degrees than a thermometer, or listen to every TED Talk, and it still doesn’t work as long as you leave authenticity on the other side of the door. It starts from there. Decide as LaTortia, not LaToria the founder, daughter, sister, or any other titles that I’ve become but as LaToria Danielle Pierce. Whatever room I walk into, when a conversation presents itself as an opportunity or an idea, the first thing I’m going to do is get to the depth of my core. I’m going to pull from there. I’m going to find the things within my story, experiences, and desires. I’m going to prepare myself and express this thing to ask for what I need and to show forth what I’m willing to do to get to that goal. That’s the thing. Get into that authenticity. Flow is a beautiful place to be in. If we get a chance to do another conversation, I have an executive coach that taught me about being in the flow. I would love to share some thoughts about that as well. I encourage everyone to not only embrace but have fun, feel good, and come alive when you tell your story. LaToria, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. I am excited about what is in your future because you’re very passionate about your work and I’m excited to see where you go in your career and your life. Thank you for the platform and for having me. I appreciate you and your audience.

I hope you agree with me that LaToria Pierce is a powerhouse. You can tell that she is very passionate about storytelling. She left us with two great tips. The first tip she says is, “Be caught trying.” One of her friends, Wemimo Abbey has always said that to her. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or pursue a career goal, you need to try. The second thing that she says is, “Give yourself permission to simply have a human experience. How you use your voice to get to the surface of your authenticity and core are key, then the rest just flows from there.” That’s true because when I have been authentic and vulnerable, that’s when I think things start happening for me. Those two tips are fabulous. I am excited to see where her career goes. She is young, energetic, and passionate. She is a powerhouse. I appreciate you so much, LaToria. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.  

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About LaToria Pierce

NWB 54 | Power Of AuthenticityLaToria Pierce is an engagement specialist and entrepreneur in Greater Washington D.C. A storyteller at heart, her work spans tech-startup, media and marketing industries, where she’s passionate about making space and building solutions that enable brands, communities and individuals to tell their stories. In addition to creating impact through her work, LaToria enjoys getting creative and learning new dance styles (currently Samba), languages, and recipes.