Patricia Arboleda has always enjoyed helping others grow and develop. Throughout her more than twenty-five years in the corporate world, she strove to support her multicultural team members, at times making conscious decisions to reorient and learn how she could be a better leader. All the while, Arboleda herself was working her way up the executive ladder at a Fortune 500 corporation, well aware of all the barriers facing Latinas and often sacrificing her work/life balance in an effort to prove her worth. But a couple of years ago, Arboleda made a radical choice: she would leave behind the corporate world and fully embrace her passion for helping women and Latinx grow and be successful.
“I decided that it was time for me to make a shift in my career and do something that allowed me to do what I loved, which is supporting people [in achieving] real transformation,” she explains. “My purpose is to give driven women the tools that I wish I had had and help them be successful while having a balanced life.
“I have walked in their shoes,” she continues. “I know what they are going through because I have experienced it myself, and that’s part of my value proposition.”
In recognition of her purpose, Arboleda launched her own executive coaching firm, Patricia Arboleda Coaching. As CEO and founder, she supports companies in their efforts to close the gender gap at the executive level, and she empowers women to set and achieve their goals—whatever they are. “A woman empowered is intentional about her career,” Arboleda explains. “She is able to define success on her own terms and take the steps that will get her there.
“To do that,” she continues, “she has developed confidence and awareness. She understands what her unintelligent beliefs about herself and her environment are, and she doesn’t let those beliefs or fear take control over her life.”
That confidence and awareness, that “unshakable mindset,” is the foundation for everything, Arboleda says. And it relies on a person “having an understanding of the power of our beliefs and how changing even the simplest of them can have an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives,” she explains. “When we become aware that by reframing our unintelligent beliefs, we can completely change our results, that’s when we ignite our internal flame and accelerate our success.”
Everybody, Arboleda explains, grows up with some of these unintelligent beliefs. They are created based on “experiences we have as a child, things we are told, or things we listen [to].” We are often unaware that we have these beliefs, but they still affect the way we perceive and react to our surroundings.
For example, Arboleda pointedly remarks, if a young girl grows up believing that she “need[s] to be perfect to be accepted,” she will be more reluctant to take risks as an adult. She will also find it difficult to delegate, accept vulnerability within herself, and believe that she can be authentic in her leadership style.
It all starts with that self-awareness. Then it’s about developing the habits that will take people to their desired state. Through her coaching practice, Arboleda helps women intentionally define their career path and develop the skills that will help them rise and thrive. From creating their personal brand, building their power base, and claiming their achievements to setting strategic goals aligned with their values, Arboleda takes women on a development journey that sets them apart from the crowd, all while having a balanced life leading from the inside out.
And that development journey isn’t aimed toward perfection. Latinas, the CEO says, often grow up feeling they need to be perfect to be successful. Born and raised in Colombia, Arboleda has worked and lived in Latin America, Europe, and the US. She has led global teams, developed an international reputation for success, and blazed a trail for many others. But despite all her achievements, she felt a sense of anxious pressure, a constant worry that it wasn’t enough.
“When we are immigrants in this country, we have a lot of pressure to prove our self-worth. We usually sacrifice our personal time and get burned out because of the extra work that we think we need to do,” she notes. “We are often guilty of undervaluing ourselves and our value proposition. Most of us do not feel that we can bring our whole selves to the office, which creates considerable frustration. Recognizing the beliefs that stop us from moving forward, taking action to reframe them, and developing the skills that will empower us to be comfortably authentic in our leadership style is the foundation to create real transformation in our lives.”
Arboleda herself worked with an executive coach to combat these and other pressures. Today, as a coach, CEO, career strategist, trainer, and keynote speaker, she supports women in building the “habits and skills that will help them grow and succeed.”
And those skills translate, Arboleda notes, to whatever a woman wants to do—whether that’s making her way up in the corporate world, starting or scaling her own business, or transitioning to doing something else entirely different than what she is doing. Whatever it is, all that matters is that it brings her fulfillment.
So take action. Go after that dream. And don’t allow doubt to be in control. “Don’t be perfect,” Arboleda advises. “Be courageous.”
Steps to Success
No matter where a woman is in her career path, Patricia Arboleda provides the same advice:
- Be intentional about your career and know that you define what success means to you. Do what you love, and if you want something different, don’t be afraid to go for it.
- It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. If you decide to shift careers, make sure you align with your “why” and values.
- Focus on developing the habits that will make a difference—don’t overwork yourself until burnout. And most importantly, maintain a balanced life.
- Build a good foundation, develop self-awareness, and manage your inner voice so that it becomes your best champion.