Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives

Ep303: Culturally Relevant Career Tips to Empower You, with Oscar Garcia

February 22, 2022 Rosie Yeung Season 3 Episode 303
Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives
Ep303: Culturally Relevant Career Tips to Empower You, with Oscar Garcia
Show Notes Transcript

Almost all the career counselling, mentorship, corporate training etc. I’ve received have been almost exclusively from white people. Nothing wrong with that – I’ve been blessed to receive great advice and support from many white leaders over the years.

But I’m not white. And I had to filter a lot of the info I got through my cultural lens.

So when I discovered Oscar Garcia, the special guest for this episode – I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Oscar is a Hispanic-American immigrant who went from being an ESL student to an author and founder of his own company, Aspira Consulting. Oscar’s mission is to empower you, so opportunities come to you.

If you, like me, have been craving career advice and mentorship from a racialized corporate leader who is relatable and relevant, Oscar provides that in this episode.

👉🏻And if you know someone who needs culturally relevant empowerment, please share this episode with them. You can share straight from wherever you’re listening to this podcast right now, or from my website,

Thank you, JEDI friends!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Three key components of culturally relevant leadership training
  • How we can translate lived experiences and immigrant experiences into relevant job experience for recruiters
  • What the best universities and professors can’t teach you
  • How people from humility-based cultures can still promote their accomplishments
  • How racialized people and immigrants can be fully themselves and feel empowered to succeed in Western business culture

Link to episode transcript here.

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Find more support and resources, and contact me directly at:

Guest Bio and References/Links

About Oscar Garcia:

Oscar is the Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer of Aspira Consulting, a Silicon Valley training and consulting firm providing culturally relevant career and leadership programs.  He is an introvert turned international speaker.  Oscar has given over 500 seminars and trained over 20,000 professionals across five continents.  His training style is of a “practrainer” - he actively practices what he trains others to do.  He is an ESL (English as a Second Language) student turned contributing author to “Hispanic Stars Rising Volume II: The New Face of Power”, where his story, I AM A MINORITY, highlights the importance of embracing the struggle, valuing our identity, and the power of vulnerability.  As Chief Empowerment Officer, Oscar empowers you, so opportunities come to you.

Find Oscar on:



“Career Talk with OG” Podcast:

(or wherever you get your podcasts) 

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Episode Transcript

Please note: the transcripts attempt to stay true to the essence of each conversation, while maintaining clarity and readability. As a result, certain "filler" words, and nuances of tone, emotion and emphasis will be missing.

If you're able, you're strongly encouraged to listen to the audio podcast. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human editors, and may contain errors.

[intro music plays]

Rosie: Hey, JEDI Friend! Thanks for tuning in to the Changing Lenses podcast. I’m doing something a bit different in this episode – I’m sharing the 4-part series of LinkedIn Lives I did with career advice for racialized people, and JEDI ideas for employers and recruiters. You’re going to get the edited audio of each session in this podcast over the next several weeks. 

And just a heads up for any audiophiles listening – my guest was travelling and had to record in a public area with lots of background noise, so thanks for bearing with any distracting sounds we couldn’t edit out.  If you’d prefer to watch the full video recording of the whole Live episode, you can find it on my website, 

So the idea for this first episode came to me when I realized that almost all the career counselling, mentorship, executive coaching, corporate training – all the professional development stuff I received over my 20 year career – were almost exclusively from white people. Nothing wrong with that – I’ve been blessed to receive great advice and support from many white leaders over the years. 

But they were still white. And I’m not white.

And that meant there were some things – many things – we couldn’t relate to each other about.

So when I discovered Oscar Garcia, the special guest for this episode – I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Why? Well, Oscar is a Hispanic U.S. immigrant who went from being an ESL student to an author and a “practrainer” of over 20,000 professionals across five continents. Today, he is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Aspira Consulting, where his mission is to empower you, so opportunities come to you.

If you, like me, have been craving career advice and mentorship from a racialized corporate leader who is relatable and relevant – then keep listening. I think you’ll enjoy what Oscar has to say.

And if you loved Oscar as much as I did, please share this episode with someone you know who needs to be empowered too. You can share straight from wherever you’re listening to this podcast right now, or from my website,

Thank you, JEDI friend – and enjoy the episode!

[intro music ends]

Rosie: Welcome everybody to today's LinkedIn live session.

I'll just do a few introductory comments. We are here to talk about culturally relevant career tips to empower you. I am Rosie Yeung. I'm your host and your JEDI journey guide. And I'm here to help people with privilege dismantle, systemic inequity while helping people without privilege survive it. Now, if you haven't heard the term JEDI before, it isn't just an awesome warrior in my all-time favorite movie. In this context, it's also an acronym that I use, which stands for justice, equity, decolonization, and inclusion. These are all causes, which I coach people on and am deeply passionate about. And as I mentioned a little bit earlier, I am coming to you live from what we now know is Canada. It is actually the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat ,the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Mississaugas of the Credit as well as other nations indigenous to this land. And this is colonized land that is also known as Toronto, which is my home. And it is also the home still today to many diverse first nations, Inuit and Metis people of Turtle Island.

Now I'm super excited that this is the first live in a series of lives on how to survive the job search and how to survive in your career. And it's all about supporting racialized people. Also sometimes referred to as people of color, I prefer the term racialized, while they are looking for work.

All the job advice that I've gotten in my life from high school counselors to professional career coaches have been from white people. All the books that I've read on finding a job that you love, all the online articles and podcasts and HR handbooks on how to write a good resume that will get you noticed. Almost all from white people.

Now I bet there are some of you out there thinking, uh, Rosie, do you not like white people? Like that's wrong with getting career advice from white people. Nothing wrong with that. And yes, I do like white people. Most of my mentors, people who've really helped me in my career. I've learned a lot from them, nothing wrong with white people. That is not what I'm trying to say or that's not what this is about. And in fact, we need to be learning from the people who are frankly controlling the job market. The problem I have is when I'm only getting advice from white people. So it's not about people being white or not white. It's about the diversity and relate-ability of the advice that I'm getting and that you're getting, because no matter how much I've assimilated into white culture and believe me, I'm pretty assimilated. I still don't feel like I quite fit. And the techniques and the tips on what to say, how to act when to be aggressive, when to be quiet, they don't feel natural. And they often conflict with my own cultural values that I learned from my Chinese family. So in a day and age, when employers are starting to accept the idea that employees need the freedom to be themselves, I still feel like I can't fully be myself while following all the old ways of working. So here's where Oscar Garcia enters the picture. Literally he's in this picture because he's live. Ola, Oscar. Hello. Nice to see you. Friends, I am so excited and honored to have Oscar join us today. If you are not already following him on LinkedIn, please go ahead and do that right now. I knew Oscar was awesome from day one. When I read his profile and his tagline that says introvert turned international speaker, I'm like, wait, what? Amazing. I'm an introvert. I need to know how to do that. And then his tagline also says that he provides culturally relevant career and leadership training. So that immediately peaked my interest. I mean, what is culturally relevant career and leadership training? That sounds like something I'm looking for. So how do I get some of that? Well, that's what Oscar is here to talk about today. Finally, a person who isn't white. Has a successful career now, but didn't always, and he went from being an ESL student, English as a second language student to an author and a "practrainer" of over 20,000 professionals across five continents.

I love his mission and his motto, which is to empower you, so opportunities come to you. Isn't that what we all want. That's what he does every day as the founder and CEO, the chief empowerment officer of Aspira Consulting. So Oscar, we are ready and willing to be empowered so opportunities come to us, but really quick, before we get going, I do want to try to make this as safe and open a conversation as possible. Both for you and for you who are listening to us and tuning into watch. There might be some sensitive or triggering topics that come up in our discussion. I might've just triggered you in some of my introduction. And so I commit to all of you, regardless of race, regardless of gender, you are all welcome here. And I am listening and sharing from a place of love and respect. Your story matters, Oscar, all of your stories matter in your truth as welcome here. So all of you who are watching as well, same thing to you. You're welcome here. We want your questions. We want to answer your questions, which we'll do at the end after Oscar and I do a bit of Q and A, so please feel free to be honest while also being kind and courteous and respectful in the comments. Enter those questions. We're going to get to them. Thank you for being here today with us. And Oscar, welcome and thank you for generously spending our time.

Oscar: Ah, thank you, Rosie. Thank you for having me here. Listen, my friend, you are a pro at this. I think I'm going to hire you so you can help me with my career talk. That was awesome. I love it. I love it. But thank you very much. And you know what, you mentioned about, you know, my profile and what it says on my profile that drew, you know, attention to me. One of the things that I have found is somehow, some way, there's energy out there that we, put out, and we're attracted right, to certain type of energy. And I'm attracted to people that are going places that are kicking butt, taking no prisoners, people like yourself. And so thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the kind words and for again, the invitation to be here with you and everyone that's on here. Again, I mean, you know, like we say, in Spanish. Mi casa is tu casa. My house is your house. So you're welcome here. Again, feel safe. At home. And just like Rosie say, you know, at the same time, be respectful and kind, okay folks. Otherwise I'll shut the door to my house. Okay.

Rosie: We don't want to be shutting out Cancun okay Oscar. And you know, thank you for saying that. And also thank you for saying that in Spanish. I want to talk about that too, because that is one of the things that I love about being dual culture is when we can bring in that other culture, but not always. So, okay. I jumped ahead because first, like I just, I said culture.

But even the word culture has been used in different terms. Like in a Western business setting, they talk about company culture, but I never felt like that was my culture. So when you say that you bring culturally relevant support. What does that mean to you and what are you trying to do for the people you're supporting?

Oscar: Yeah. So here's the thing, let me give you three things then I help people with, and then I'll give you a quick little story about this. So what I mean by culturally relevant career and leadership training is my goal is to help people accomplish three things. Number one is to embrace our journey. We all have a story to tell, right.

 And to teach us how to embrace that journey. And sometimes that journey, oftentimes that journey is painful. There's a lot of ups and downs, but to learn how to heal from that and embrace our journey. Number two is to value our identity. Who we are. For the longest time learning. And it's, and it tends to happen too,

and in American culture, western society where the dominant culture puts down, you know, minorities and you know, whether it's overtly suddenly or, or, you know, whatever, and you grow up sort of like feeling less than, than you talked about them in your intro. And then the third part of it is the power of vulnerability. Going back to your point about company culture, oftentimes, in Western culture. And we see this too in movies and sports and in different aspects is that tough person, that person that can handle it, you know, whatever obstacle is thrown their way. And you know, even within Mexican culture, there is also that, that part of it that, you know, men don't cry, you know, that type of stuff, but believe it or not vulnerability is actually a strength. So those three things.

Now a quick story to highlight this is and where I came up with this is that was my parents' translator since kindergarten, until they passed away almost seven years ago. And I remember going to doctor's appointments with my mom and my mom was diabetic. And one day her doctor recommended she go and see a nutritionist to help her with her diet, eating and the type of foods to control her diabetes and so forth. And so there we are, my mom and I speaking to the dietician I'm translating and the dietician pulls out this, um, like pictures, different foods. And the foods that were on there were white bread, you know, orange juice, very American type of a food, of a menu. And I'm looking at that and I'm like, my mom and I, and I'm thinking it's like, wait a minute. My mom eats tortillas. She does not eat, you know, slice bread. Okay. Orange juice. What are you talking about? Orange juice. She's over there drinking Coke. Okay or soda. And it was just like, it didn't make any sense. That menu, you know, those instructions, that diet, the nutritionist guidance was giving my mother was not culturally relevant. Cause it was meaningless, right? I mean, we walked out of there and like it was just a total waste of time. And guess what, we never went back to the nutritionists because again, they're not even helping, you know. Mom's like, it's just a waste of time. And so fast forward now to our career and leadership. And so many times, gosh it even starts in, you know, in school, in high school, whether it's our high school counselor, or whether in college, the career services department, or oftentimes, you know, as a professional, when we reach out to someone that does resume coaching or career coaching, or sending up your LinkedIn profile, many times these folks don't know how to provide and take our story and be able to translate our story in a way where we can then highlight, like I mentioned, our journey, our skillsets, our expertise in a way where we feel empowered and be able to communicate then so that we can attract those opportunities. So that's what I mean by providing culturally relevant career leadership.

Rosie: Oscar, thank you for sharing that. You know what , my grandmother had Parkinson's my mom has Parkinson's and they're Chinese. It is hard. I really relate to that story about the medical care. I know that's a little bit off topic about career, but as ever when we experienced marginalization or things that don't fit us, it is pervasive throughout all the different aspects of our life and in society. It's definitely not just career. So you're totally right on. Yeah, from the foods we eat to how we live, like the, yeah. What makes us comfortable? What makes us not comfortable? Is there an example or a story maybe you can share about where you received culturally irrelevant advice in your career that you're like this doesn't, this doesn't even, it's not even going to help me, like kind of like with your mom and just, well, that was a waste of time. Like what is some stuff that hasn't helped you, but people think it's so well intended.

Oscar: Right? Well, you know, so here's the thing is, is like, for example, early in my career, meaning like my senior year in college and you know, you start looking for jobs. You going to graduate so you've got to go get a job.

And I remember getting some help in putting together my resume. And so they asked a few questions about, okay, so what have you been doing in college? Have you been volunteering? What kind of jobs have you had? What about summer jobs, et cetera, and so forth and I would share the typical jobs that I would do during the summer. Maybe working in retail or volunteering during the school year for this nonprofit and taking a leadership role.

But here's the other piece of it though is, is that what I started doing, actually, since I was 11 years old in fifth grade, all the way until probably my early thirties is every weekend, I would help my parents with their meat business. My dad in Mexico was a butcher. And so for a long time, every weekend, while I was in college, I would drive home and help my dad make chorizo, Mexican sausage.

And then the next morning I would wake up and go to the flea market and sell it. Well, it didn't even cross my mind to even talk about the experience of working in my parents' business. And, and also, you know, I didn't share that or I wasn't asked, like hey Oscar, you know what, like these things that you're telling me, like, you know, to put on your resume, your resume kind of looking a little skinny. Are you sure you haven't done anything else? In other words, asking more deeper probe questions. And see, when I look back at that experience of helping my parents with their business, I learn skills, like for example, a strong work ethic. Okay. I learned how to prioritize my schedule, how to balance, because there were times when listen, I wanted to be hanging out at that fraternity party with my fraternity brothers, you know, drinking upside down margarita is and getting drunk and, you know, in college, but my little rear end had to go home for the weekend to help my parents, right. Or figure out how to write that midterm paper or study for that final. These are all skills that we need to use. And we learn in terms of balancing our workload in a typical work environment in just life in general. And so that's an example of how when, you know, like today, when I talk to professionals in helping with the career, I go deeper and ask them, especially if they're minor and I'm like, listen, you know, let me share my story here. Is there anything like that? And it's amazing when people begin to be like, oh my gosh, first of all, I didn't even realize that I could change the narrative and look at that life experience and be able to translate it into a skillset and then be able to tell that story to that recruiter or that hiring manager.

Rosie: This is gold. For all of you that are watching and listening. I hope you're writing this down because that is such an excellent example, especially for people a little bit earlier in their career, or just graduating, where they may not realize the experience that they have. And I think what you just shared also points out how these experiences become normalized, especially for immigrant families or families who don't have a lot when they're starting out and this is just, it's not, what do you mean? It's not career experience. This is just me helping the family. Cause that's what we got to do. We're busting our butts and working hard and sacrificing. But that's not something that goes on the resume because it doesn't look and sound like what other people who don't have those backgrounds and experiences put on their resume. And no one's teaching you that. Other than you, who's teaching that.

Oscar: And you know what, Rosie, here's the thing too; is that when I look back at my life, I'm very blessed, very fortunate that I went to the top public university in the US. UC Berkeley. Okay. Very difficult. Very challenging to get in there. Into that university.

But I'm going to tell you something. UC Berkeley or a college professor never taught me how to overcome life's challenges. You want to know who taught me how to overcome life's challenges. It was a dishwasher and a housekeeper. That was my dad and my mom. Because the crap that they went through and how I saw them overcome those life challenges, that is what has helped me overcome the life challenges, and even be able to grow and succeed in my career.

And then please, don't, I'm not minimizing the college degree at all, but I'm just emphasizing the point that we put so much emphasis on getting that college degree, that MBA, PhD, you know what? Listen folks. Okay. There's a bunch of knucklehead, PhD, highly educated folks out there that can't even like, the minute poop hits the fan. They're like what do I do? They start Googling it. Dude like go find a mop and a broom and a dustpan and start cleaning that crap up. Okay. That's what you need to do.

Rosie: And because I know you. I know you were thinking words other than knucklehead and poop, when you were sharing that story too. Just being real folks. Just being real, but this is streaming live everywhere so we're toning it down today. You're totally right. And I think this is also where I go back to what I said at the beginning where we're not trying to hate on anybody. I value education as well. There's huge value in that, but it's when we don't appreciate again, the diversity of experiences and we're devaluing things that add so much value. Like respect to the parents. Respect to the people who came over here from another country or whatever they went through. They may not be direct immigrants, but whatever they went through in their lives, but it's not something that you get a degree for. It's not something you get a certification for, right? But it has value.

Oscar: Yes, yes.

Rosie: Oscar, going back to what you said at the beginning where you brought in a little bit of Spanglish and if you haven't watched Oscar's lives before check it out. Not only is it incredibly useful information because he talks about this and so much more, but I also love that you can engage with your audience and just in general, feel free to use Spanish and use terms that as a non-Spanish speaker and, you know, someone who isn't Latino by background, I won't necessarily understand, but I actually really appreciate that because that's the whole point.

People from the same culture will understand without having to do a whole explanation. And that's also what it is in the US and Canada, where there's a lot of in jokes that if you're not from there, you won't understand, but you're expected to understand. So how did you get to the point of maybe being comfortable?

Cause that's also where I felt embarrassed. Now it's exotic. So it's kind of okay to use different languages. People want it. They want to learn Chinese words or they want to learn Spanish words, right? And they butcher them, but it's in a way it's like, oh, it's cute. It's nice. But I also don't feel like they really appreciate the true meaning behind things.

So yeah. Like how do you marry the fact that you do speak two languages and you can't say the same things and when is it okay to use Spanglish? When is it not? What are your thoughts on that?

Oscar: Yeah, that's a great question. Now, Rosie. So here's the thing is first off, It's who I am. I'm bi-cultural, I was born in California, parents from Mexico.

I lived my first five years in Mexico and growing up my dad was very strict with my younger brother and I, in terms of speaking Spanish. So we grew up speaking Spanish at home and keeping the Spanish language. And as I got more comfortable with who I am and my identity. What I realized is that it's almost like there's three cultures in me. So there's the, like you, right? I can hang in and roll in the American culture, corporate culture, et cetera, and so forth. I have been around a room full of white people. I'm the only minority there. I can also hang out with Mexicans and family and friends. And hello, right now, I'm in Mexico.

But there's also the third group. And that is those of us. That again, that are bi cultural, and it is customary to blend in the two cultures, the two languages, English and the Spanish.

So I've grown up with these three I guess if you want to call them that. And for me, it's just becomes now automatic that it’s just me. I roll with it. I say it. And if someone doesn't understand, well, ask me questions.

Okay. Or if you do understand it well then awesome. Well go for it, but yeah it's like a stick shift. After awhile, you get to know how to drive and you can be eating a hamburger and, you know, shifting gears and talking on the phone and all that type of stuff, you know?

And so that's part of who I am now.

Rosie: No, I love it. And I'm glad that you're at that place because I think that is part of being the real you and bringing your whole self to wherever you are.

Okay. I really want to ask you this because I find that a lot of cultures, frankly, wherever we are in the world, we probably been colonized, right? Cause that is how it has happened globally.

And the term Asian covers huge, vast number of different countries, different cultures. But I do find that there is some similarities around shame and being very deferential to others. Bing very humble I think sometimes to our own detriment and I struggled with this in business because I feel like to succeed we were taught in Western culture to be aggressive and to ask for what you want and to talk about all your accomplishments and sell yourself and promote yourself. But growing up as a kid, you know, cause that was our way in, at least in my family, I was like, oh no, Rosie, she's whatever, that A was really terrible. So your daughter got an A+, like that's so much better, right? And that's how I grew up. So now this third culture that we live in, I love that point that you made it's, I'm not a hundred percent Chinese and not a hundred percent Canadian. I'm Canadian Chinese and that's its own culture in a certain way, right? How did you navigate or maybe what advice do you have for people navigating when my culture might not be to what I feel like bragging about myself and yet that's what I seem to need to do to get ahead?

Oscar: Yeah. So first off, the humility is a positive trait, but I think, and you said something earlier is you said that it can be to a detriment. I think any trait, they value to one extreme or the other there's detriments. There's pros and cons, right? I grew up too. My dad would say, Hey, you know, don't brag, let your work, like your actions speak louder. And I'm like, oh yeah, that kind of makes sense.

But there's also a time and a place when we do need to brag. And from a career standpoint, I tell people, listen, you got to brag on that cover letter. You've got to brag on that resume. You got to brag on your LinkedIn profile. You need to let the world know that you are a bad ass, because if you don't in those situations, then you're going to get passed over.

It's going to take longer for you to move up in the corporate ladder, et cetera, and so forth. What I believe that it comes down to is understanding. And also to go back to something you said earlier is the corporate game, understand what the rules are. How to play the game, this corporate game, and know when it is that you need to let folks know the skillsets, the amazing work that you do. Now, one of the things, and this is on LinkedIn, one of the things that I have learned to do in terms of promoting myself and the work that I do on LinkedIn, without coming across like that, like bragging, you know, and just letting the world know, you know, this and that is; I use what, what is called the boomerang effect.

Now, if you know how to throw a boomerang correctly, the boomerang goes away from you and then back to you. And so the boomerang effect specifically is where let's say, for example, like I'll use myself as an example. I do a talk like this one. Okay. So you invite me here and we’re on Linkedin live and I want to share a little snippet about this; so the way I would write it and talk about it is I would highlight you first, the work that you do, you know, the points, you know, that you cover, et cetera, and so forth, and maybe talk about, you know, two or three other points about what it is that I covered and, you know, and then tell, you know how honored it is I am, but I would leave by highlighting the work that you do.

And then I would end with, again, my points that I cover a little story. What most people do is they talk about themselves. I'm so honored that I was on Rosie’s. Well listen knucklehead. What does that got to do with me as your reader? Okay. I don't give a crap at your on here. I want to know what's in it for me, right? And then for you, Rosie, if I highlight you, you are going to feel very special as you should be, because you are, you're like, wow, this is kind of cool. See folks, this is not rocket science. It's boomerang. It’s things most of our cultures teach us right? Highlight other people and that's a way where we can be humble, but we can kick some ass too. Be humble and be a butt kicker.

Rosie: Again, just pure gold. Okay. I do want to say, I think you're right. That a lot of cultures teach that, but I feel like that gets lost in capitalism, right? Cause it is all about how can I get ahead? How can I be number one? And so thank you for bringing us back to it's okay to highlight. Not only is it okay, but I think it comes naturally to most of us.

Like a lot of us, I think are very altruistic and generous. And especially when we're talking about equity, diversity and inclusion work. People who care about that are already caring about other people. So you're just telling us basically to be ourselves, be more ourselves, right?

Oscar: Yes. You guys. I mean, like here's the thing people. Like when it comes to networking, right. That's another area that many of us are afraid. We don't know, especially with, you know, like you and I Rosie, we're, you know, introverts, right. But oh my God, networking tends to have a negative connotation. And what I realized is that in Latino culture and many other cultures - Asian culture, you know, many other cultures, it's about relationship first, business second. Relationship first, business second. But you get into the corporate world and it's business first. And if a relationship ever happens, oh well, that's great. And it's like, no folks. We need to come back and stay true to what our culture teaches us. That relationship is first, then business.

I remember back in 2019 when I went to Panama to do a week long series of trainings. And I got done doing my first workshop and this gentleman comes up and introduces himself and, you know, say hello, et cetera, and so forth.

And it turns out that he is Mexican living in Panama. And he said to me, hey, I would love to invite you to my house at night. You and your team for dinner, a complete stranger. Imagine in the US, that you Rosie, you do a talk and someone comes up to you and said, hey Rosie I loved your talk. Come to my house for dinner. That's weird. But in Latino culture, that's not weird. That is kindness. That is showing that I trust you. And I welcome you to my most sacred sanctuary inside my home. And so folks, don't, whatever you do, like Rosie said, be yourself, know that the cultural values that we have are awesome and they will continue to help us move ahead. All we need to do is just maybe add a little bit of ketchup to that taco.

Rosie: There's another sauce that you mentioned me too, before, too, that I can't remember, but it's like, what is the sauce that is very commonly used in?

Oscar: I think you're talking about tajin.

Rosie: Yes, the tajin! Yes! We need to just put some more tajin in what we're eating.

Oscar I'm wondering if you could just kind of give us some parting advice or parting last words? Maybe first to employers if they aren't from dual cultures or triple cultures, but they want to be culturally relevant. How can they do that when they only have one culture?

Oscar: Yeah. So listen folks. I'm very simple, very practical. Okay. There's obviously there's more to add to this answer then I can give right now, but listen.

Okay. If you are having lunch okay, at that same Starbucks. Maybe you need to go to the other side of the road and go hang out and eat, you know, Boba tea, or maybe you need to have, you know, Cajeta. Maybe you just need to start going to places where people from other cultures are. Hanging out so that you can get exposed to it.

Listen, even for me being Mexican, I mean, this is the first time that I've been to Cancun. I mean, this is a different part. Just like in the US, US is different. West coast from east coast, south, you know, north, east, there's differences. And so expose yourself to different cultures, different people, different ideas, right.

Maybe start following on social media and some people start following people like Rosie or other people out there their content, right. So that you can begin to understand in and begin to value these differences. So that's what I recommend for employers.

Rosie: Awesome. Thank you. Hope you guys wrote that down and Changing Lenses, it's my podcast. It's what I'm all about. I call it Changing Lenses because I believe empathy and understanding and inclusion comes when we can take off the default filters that we all come with, how we see the world, how we see people and can see people differently.

So I wonder as we're ending this amazing, wonderful, joyful conversation today, what's your call out to us Oscar; to change our lenses and to see people with different cultures, people who are racialized, people who are immigrants, how can we see them differently going forward?

Oscar: Yeah. So first off, what I recommend is that, I want you to see your journey differently. I grew up being told that I was a minority and that being a minority tends to have a negative connotation. First generation, first to graduate from college, low-income, language, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth. Okay. We've talked about some of those things, but here's the thing folks is when I got into the corporate world and I was in a team meetings and we started talking about how can we beat the competition?

We talked about how are we different from the competition. What does it mean to be different. How can our product, in other words, the word different kept coming up. And then all of a sudden, I just reflected on my childhood, in my life growing up and I'm like, wait a minute, growing up, different had a negative connotation.

I was told that I was different and that was a bad thing. And now I'm in the corporate world and I'm hearing that being different is a powerful thing. I'm like, screw this. I have been groomed to kick ass in the world because I've been different the entire time. I've been a minority! And I am damn proud of being a minority because anyone that's ever accomplished anything of significance is a minority.

It's only a small percentage.

That's where we start first, start with yourself and value your journey.

Rosie: Did I not tell you that Oscar was going to empower us today. Like if we are not coming away from this feeling a little bit taller in our boots or whatever. Well in Canada, I'm wearing boots.

If you're not walking away feeling a little bit taller. Wow. Listen to this again. This is just amazing. And Oscar, if people can't get enough of you, cause I know I can't. Is there a way that they can also contact you and follow you and learn more from you.

Oscar: You can connect with me on LinkedIn and Oscar Garcia at Aspira Consulting

I do also have a podcast called Career Talk with OG as well.

So a lot of great information that's shared there as well. So those are some ways.

Rosie: Awesome. Thank you. Yes. OG, the original, OG te OG, yes. Go check out his podcast as well.

Okay. We've got a few questions. So let me get to those.

We have a LinkedIn user asking what are some examples of corporate policies that we should challenge and that will make it more culturally relevant. Interesting question, what do you think, Oscar?

Oscar: Yeah, woah, well, that's kind of a broad question here, but, so here's again, coming back, cause I'm very practical okay is that, one of the things that I would challenge is where your company is looking for talent. It's just human nature, right. We tend to go to places that we are familiar or groups that we're familiar with, but, I would encourage or challenge your company expand its recruiting efforts.

Maybe for example is recruiting from Hispanic serving institutions. These are, colleges or universities in the US that, at least 25% of their student body is Hispanic.There's also historically Black colleges and universities as well. Those are just some examples. Okay. There's also professional associations that you can connect with in and do some recruiting. So that's one policy that I would encourage people to challenge.

Rosie: Awesome. Thanks for that Oscar.

And if you're in Canada as well, I know similar, like people have been asking the question, where can we go to find talent from diverse backgrounds? I would add to that, that it's not just about finding them. It's about attracting them. So how are you attracting them by creating a company culture that invites and welcomes a variety of cultures.

All right. I'm going to go to a question now from Fariah. How would you go about trying to respect Western work culture and participating while still staying true to your values? Ah, yes. Oh,this is a great question. I have some Muslim friends who've had this, So Fariah she's a Muslim. She doesn't drink, but drinking is a big social thing after work. Yes, it is. That's what the people love, especially if you're in banking, financial. Yeah. What do you think about that Oscar?

Oscar: Yeah, two ideas that come to my mind.

One. Look at potentially starting, here in the US we call it employee resource group. Okay. But maybe starting off with a small group of employees at your company that share the similar culture or interest in knowing about the Muslim culture. Because once you start forming this group, it's a support group.

And, you know, it can lead to expanding that into changing some policies, et cetera, creating some events and so forth. The other piece of it too, is in terms of like, feeling awkward. See, here's the thing is. I know some people that also don't drink, not because of, you know, their religion or anything like that. They just don't drink. And so what they do is they walk around with a cup that has soda with a lime in it. That's it. And you know, you can't tell that there's no alcohol or anything like that. And that's what they do. And they're hanging out there, socializing. I think more the part though if you're feeling uncomfortable or awkward, I'm kind of guessing that there is some other elements that are going on here. Maybe some conversations where maybe people know that you don't drink. And so they're looking at you or making you feel awkward. And I think at that point, if that's the case, it's becoming more of this culture, right? Drinking it's accepted and anyone that doesn't drink, you're the outsider. You're the outcast. And I think if that's the case then maybe it's time to talk to your manager or maybe talk to HR, not from a position of like, they're bad people, but it's like, hey, this is me, this is how I feel. And I don't feel welcome. What can you recommend? What are some things that we can do as a company here to be more inclusive?

Rosie: I love that. And I think that sort of addresses Fariah’s other question too about how to start the conversations when we're talking about ERG’s or, you know, in some ways I know it's uncomfortable to do that, especially when everybody around you is drinking or whatever the majority is doing, that you're the minority in.

But I think to try as much as possible I think, to do what you said earlier, I was just to feel like you could be yourself and be like, no, no, thanks. I don't drink. And they don't have to know why. If you feel comfortable, you could share it. But I think there's because there's still that stigma, it's like, there's so much attached to being Muslim beyond just the not drinking that maybe there’s discomfort, but as much as possible Farah, I’d encourage you to be like, no, actually I don't believe in drinking. I'd like to go and have a good time and I don't need a drink for that. And to kind of make it as much matter of fact as possible versus an explanation. Cause I feel it also where a lot of times like, well, you don't do what the majority does justify that like explain yourself.

You don't need to explain yourself as much as you want, but if you just treat it as, no, this is the norm actually. Just because you're the majority that doesn't make it the norm. This is my norm. And I'm okay with that. Right? Yes. Empower. Be empowered like Oscar says. Okay. I think there was one more question that we couldn't get to, but we're up in time and I really want to let you know, Oscar he's a very busy person needs to do his stuff too.

So please feel free to message me though, if there's anything else that we didn't get to really want to talk about. I forgot to say that of course I'm on LinkedIn cause I'm broadcasting there right now. So connect with me, message me. I'd love to hear your questions. Love to hear your feedback too.

So thank you Oscar for being here today. It was a joy for me. I hope it was a joy for everybody who is watching. You just exude energy. And I don't know how you're an introvert, but yes, this is what amazes me. Thank you for coming here and being with us today.

Oscar: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you everyone for joining us.

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Rosie:That’s a wrap! This episode of Changing Lenses was produced and hosted by me, Rosie Yeung, with associate production by William Loo, on land that was taken from many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat, the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Today it is still the home of many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, with whom I seek to reconcile by learning the true history of colonization, including things that seemed legal and honourable – like treaties – but were often marked by fraud and coercion. I’m Changing my Lens by learning to see land, creation, even business and economy through Indigenous worldviews. And I’m making new friends and building relationships with Indigenous neighbours, cousins, aunties and uncles, in a genuine desire to know, love, and honour them, and live together in peace.

This podcast is one way I’m sharing what I learn to help settler-immigrant folks decolonize our thinking, and respond to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Miigwetch, 多謝, 謝謝, Merci, and Thank You.

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