It’s another week, and we have another powerful conversation to share with you from a powerful woman. Today, we’re talking about AUTHENTICITY and what it means to be our authentic selves in the workplace.
Another core value at Ascentim, we define authenticity as being true to yourself and showing up as who you really are. Going deeper, it is also about being true to your values and beliefs in all the spaces you enter into, with all the hats that you wear, and threading consistency of self throughout your life.
Meet Trina Hill
Trina L. Hill is one of those women who wear many different hats. Wife, mother, caregiver, speaker, author, fintech executive. And now the CEO and founder of Tech Care, providing coaching, community, and compassion to help women of color in technology thrive.
I have known Trina in and out of the corporate space for a long time. And I can honestly say that Trina Hill is Trina Hill everywhere she goes. Her faith comes through in every interaction, and her passion comes through in everything she does.
She received a lesson on authenticity early in her career. It came when she and the person who became her mentor were the only women in a room full of men each week. They were expected to look the same, act the same, and speak the same as those men. Trina felt an internal struggle between trying to assimilate into that culture versus leaning into her emotional intelligence and desire to put the people first.
Ultimately, this other woman said, “I don’t think you’re really being who you are.” She could see Trina’s internal struggle and presented her with a profound choice. Trina had to choose if she wanted to be who she really was – what felt good and natural to her – or if she was going to do what was expected of her. And doing what was expected equated to being miserable coming to work every day. I think you can guess what she chose.
Twenty years of experience in the technology sector later, that guidance clearly paid off. Four years ago, Tech Care was just an idea. Trina contemplated how women in technology were taking care of themselves, did they have safe spaces, did they have support systems, and whether they were getting compassion at their jobs.
A Defining Moment
The turning point, though, was a call from a client who was struggling so badly that they were talking of suicide. This woman spoke of how overwhelmed she felt, that she could never do anything right and that she didn’t feel worthy. “Your worth is not defined by what the world says about you,” Trina counseled her. “Your worth is defined by what God says about you.” That call had a profound impact on Trina.
NOTE: If you (or someone you know) are contemplating suicide, help is available. The suicide hotline is available 24/7. Please call or text 988. You’re not alone.
Listen as Trina describes the phone call that changed everything.
After that phone call, Trina knew there was no more time to waste. She never wanted another woman to even contemplate taking her own life because of how she was treated in the workplace. Tech Care offers women of color a psychologically safe place where they can get reliable coaching from other women of color. Trina understands the nuances of their journey, something that is noticeably absent in most corporate settings. In those environments, either the color piece or the gender piece is usually missing.
Trina and I also talked about her faith. Specifically, how her identity as a Christian woman shows up everywhere with her because it is part of her assignment. She doesn’t shy away from it, even though she recognizes it might not be ‘corporately correct’ to talk about at work. But just as we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, Trina sees religion as a part of that.
Trina shared that it’s not uncommon for her to email or text someone in the middle of the day because God wanted her to pass on a message. She also shares that she accepts rejection when someone isn’t open to receiving it from her.
As a recipient of some of those messages, though, I can attest that those little notes of support or nudges from God are powerful. They came at the exact right time for me and they have always been spot-on. I am personally so grateful for Trina’s authenticity in honoring her assignment.
Reading the Room
While we work towards showing up as our fully-authentic selves, Trina offers one additional caution. We need to be refined in our authentic selves. For example, she notes that the things you do with your girlfriends are not the same things you do with your mom. The conversation and the way you engage are going to be different. Trina stressed the importance of knowing your audience and reading the room. This is an essential skill.
“You need to be able to read the room, and not lose yourself in the room,” she says.
Trina had some final words of advice for women who are struggling with being authentic in the workplace. She says it all goes back to two questions. Who are you, and then what do you want? Once you understand who you are and you understand your assignment (because Trina believes we all have one!), then you can answer the third question: What are you willing to pay for it? Because it’s going to cost you something – every choice does. But if you’re clear on who you are, the right choices become clear too.
Trina Hill is someone I am honored to call my friend. She is also my sister and my fellow journeyman on this path to purpose and passion. You can watch our full conversation here.
And if you are a woman in tech and you want to have that coaching, that community, the compassion, and care so that you can be authentically yourself and succeed in that space, Trina Hill is absolutely the coach for you and Tech Care is where you need to be.
Connect with Trina