Career: Claim Your Past to Create Your Future


Her name is Deborah Rosado Shaw, not Barrington Harrington Carrington, III (pronounced, the thuuuuuuuhhhhhddddd). She was born and raised not in the Hamptons, but in Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx, some of the toughest and poorest neighborhoods in the nation.

She defied statistics, stereotypes, and low cultural expectations to escape the barrio and climb to the top, currently serving as the External Chair at PepsiCo's Ethnic Advisory board, starting two successful businesses, and writing a road map for career advancement called Dream Big: A Roadmap for Facing Life's Challenged and Creating the Life You Deserve.  She has also appeared on the Oprah show.  President Bill Clinton sings her praises.

How did Deborah Rosado Shaw succeed where so many, even those blessed with advantage, failed?

By claiming her past--a foundational strategy to creating a future marked by quantifiable success.

Being authentic at work is hard given workplace politics, lack of diversity, and competition.

I certainly made this career rookie mistake.

I pretended to be Christiane Amanpour, perhaps the most fierce female war correspondent.

Well, ummmm.  She's taken.

Oh yeah.

I was in Brownsville, Texas and Providence, RI, the local markets where I learned how to be a professional.

NOT a warzone.

Try claiming your past, being real.

What do you have to lose?

Your most successful self.

4 Claim-Your-Past Musts to Advance Your Career:

  1. Claim it.  That authenticity will unleash your power, eventually leading to rewards.
  2. Blend your past and background with where you are now and where you're headed. Be smart about this as every workplace, field, and audience is different.  You don't have to wear those awful 1970's boxy man-suits and blouses with the knot.  But leave your sexy club clothes for a Friday night FAR from anywhere your colleagues may party, better yet, in another city, with no pictures to be tagged on Facebook.
  3. "Pa' 'tras ni 'pa coger impulso" which means, don't look back.  Wait, Viviana, how about claiming my past?  This is different: If you make a mistake at work, learn from it, and move on, preferably forward.
  4. Trust your gut.  That collective instinct of those who came before us is called women's intuition.

Watch the interview here:

Next 6 Minute Career Climb:

Should I climb the corporate ladder or start my own business?  Deborah Rosado Shaw provides unique inside into today's workplace context that may help answer this question asked by millions of Americans, especially minorities.

TWLC's 6 Minute Career Climb reveals the secrets of HR and highly compensated and successful business leaders to negotiate the best offer, strategies to turn professional obstacles into assets, all to keep you and your career advancing.

Why 6 Minutes? Let’s face it, 5 minutes isn’t enough.  And we’re too busy for 10.  Bonus: videos allow you to listen–and learn–while you multi-task: make your cafecito, travel, on-line shop, prepare din.  Click here to watch previous webisodes chock full of career advice.


How have you "claimed" your past?  Did it help or penalize you at work?

What career topics would you like TWLC’s 6 Minute Career Climb to tackle?