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NextGen Collective spotlights public speaking pro Yvonne Armenta. Read on about her work, the personality trait she attributes to her success, and more.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in San Francisco and now live in San Diego.
What do you do today?
I’m a public speaking creative and speaker and founder of Chats with Yvonne, a space where I help Latinas and introverts reconnect with and love the art of public speaking. Beyond providing you with the skills required to be a great speaker, I challenge you to also reflect on your experiences to create a map for your public speaking journey that feels right. There is no one way of public speaking and while we acknowledge best practices in the field, we approach them knowing that they may not always consider our cultural practices and forms of communication. We’re multi-faceted, so we must get creative. I call this public speaking con cultura. I have also been in the tech industry since graduating college in 2017, and I currently work as a community manager in the adtech industry.
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
Hands down, my mom, for her resilience, work ethic, tenacity, and kindness. She came to the United States when she was 15 and has been able to single handedly create a life for herself and my siblings that I will always be grateful for. It’s because of her that I have the opportunity to live out my wildest dreams and I don’t take that for granted. My mom taught me to pursue, even when it seems too far, to speak even when it feels out of turn, to give, especially when others need it most, and to uplift women. Always.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for Latino professionals early in their careers?
Exposure to people, places, things. We often don’t fully give ourselves permission to explore our interests or deviate too far from our plan, whether that’s because we experience the pressures of being the first in our families to be in certain rooms, needing to “succeed,” or wanting to pave the way for others to gain access so that they too can creatively disrupt an industry. By tapping into our interests, we can get exposed to people, ideas, and professions, and, as a result, find a career path that best aligns with our truest self.
What lesson did you learn early in your career that still serves you today?
My first job out of college was on the diversity, equity, and inclusion team at Uber. I had a series of phone interviews and though they never interviewed me in person or saw my face, they offered me the position. I always found that to be incredibly unique and, to be honest, it made me feel the most comfortable I have ever felt during an interview, especially as an introvert. It taught me to always look out for the people that aren’t in the room, who’s narratives are not always catered to, and that public speaking is one of the most important skills to have.
What is part of your daily routine that you look forward to every day?
My movement! I challenged myself at the beginning of the year to move every day. I had foot surgery a couple of years back and the recovery process kept me unable to walk for a while, so it truly helped me appreciate my body and its ability to move. I look forward to my walks, dance sessions in front of my mirror, power boxing classes, running, or jump roping. Anything that gets me off of my computer and moving my body.
When you get a new idea what’s the first thing you do with it?
I write it down in my “ideas” notebook (yes, I still like to handwrite). Then, I sit on it for a day or two, reflect on my passion for the idea and my expertise, and then decide if it’s something worth pursuing. When I get that yes from myself, I move the idea over to my laptop and start creating a plan for execution. I ask myself things like: What is my desired outcome? Who is the audience? What do I know? What things am I missing? Do I need collaborators?
What behavior or personality traits do you attribute to your success?
Being an introvert is 100% my superpower. I haven’t always thought this to be the case because we’re in spaces that reward extroversion more often, but being an introvert allows me to listen before I speak, be detail-oriented, observant, and creative in my approaches to my craft.
What is one non-work related goal that you would like to achieve in the next five years?
I would love to become a professional coffee taster, connoisseur, and barista, and travel to at least three different parts of the world to taste coffees. Cafecito time is my favorite part of the day and a personal passion of mine.
Your theme song.
I was here – Beyoncé.