Guest Blog: Ashley Carbonell

Recently, we shared a blog post about Wendy Kim and her free leadership program for Reality Changers graduates (click here to learn more). One of the participants, Ashley Carbonell, wrote a guest blog post to share more about her participation in the program and what she took away from the experience.

Ashley graduated from Reality Changers in 2015 and from UCSD in 2019.

“This past fall, I was chosen to be a part of the inaugural Reality Changers Beyond Blending In leadership cohort program, led by Diversity and Inclusion expert and author Wendy Kim. The 3 month program was geared towards women or femme in their final years of college or early in their professional career. The program offered building relationships, gaining communication skills, taking actionable steps towards your goals, and honing leadership competencies. 

At the beginning of the cohort, I felt lost and insecure. The pandemic had me questioning my worth and I dealt with immense imposter syndrome. I was stuck in a constant cycle of researching professional and educational opportunities, deciding that I wasn’t cut out for it, and then stopping myself from moving any further. I knew that I wanted to develop myself professionally but felt overwhelmed on where to start. 

Every week from September to January, I logged into Zoom to share a safe space with a group of fellow women of color. We shared our struggles, celebrations, and aspirations. We learned  the tools to reframe our thinking and empower our selves. We shared what it is like to navigate a world that wasn’t built for us, and persevere despite it all. We encouraged each other to grow and find our voice. 

I learned that my voice matters, and I am now excited for what the future holds for me. Thank you to my fellow cohort members for offering their support and encouragement. Thank you to Wendy Kim for facilitating this space. In her work across different organizations, Wendy has found that one of the most underutilized resources is leadership across underrepresented groups. To address this, Wendy leaders diverse leadership groups and trains them in the VOICE Framework, to support people from underrepresented groups to have greater influence and impact and to make a difference to themselves, their teams and organizations.”


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