Complimentary Session

Women’s Movement from A Hispanic Woman’s View

Riding the Waves of Feminism

by Dr. Patricia Arroyo

Women's Movement Hispanic Viewpoint Gender Diversity


Gloria Steinem, the iconic torch bearer of the women’s movement, will speak in a few days at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. As I reflect upon the women’s movement over the decades, I’m especially drawn to the unsung women of my youth, such as the wisdom and experiences of my mother. She was a “career woman” in a male-dominated industry, banking. Hispanic and a high school graduate no less.

Gloria Steinem was right. In the 1960’s, her name was a bad word in my home. “‘Women’s Lib’ movement, getting on your high horse,” my father snickered. My mother, however, was making her rise in banking. She started off as a bank teller with a high school education at Security Pacific National Bank.  We didn’t come from a family of higher education, nor did any of the Mexican-American families in our small southern California town. My grandparents on both sides immigrated from Mexico around 1918. One grandfather worked the orange groves, and the other worked at the railroad. My grandmothers stayed home with their sprawling families.

In the early 1960’s, racial integration was on trend during my early grade school years.  We “were bussed” to a distant school until third grade, after which we attended schools that we walked to. Our schools were mixed, roughly half Mexican-American and half-white. A very small percent was African-American. The bigger divider did not seem to be race. We all spoke English, especially those of us having Spanish last names. We all got along, played on the same sports teams, and did the same activities. The bigger divider, however, seemed to be who was “well-off or not well off.” Who had better clothes, or lived in bigger houses in the better parts of town. Who was going to “get out” to have a better life.

My mother rose from a bank teller, to a supervisor, to a branch manager, and finally to lending. Eventually, she retired as an Assistant Vice President at Bank of America after nimbly making it through several rounds of industry re-consolidations.   She was unique among her relatives. They either ran small businesses, had “supplemental income jobs,” or were stay-at-home mothers. My mother was a “career woman.” She and my father, who ran his own business, both worked full-time.

“It’s About Empowerment.”

Equality was the goal of the national women’s movement, however empowerment rang more true within my family and community. Work, education, and upward mobility, it was all about empowerment. Choices. The power to have choices. My mother commented, “we already know we’re equal, who has time to march in DC., I have mouths to feed, I have to work.”  Whoever held the money, held the choices and decisions. Sometimes that choice was to leave a bad marriage.  Without that choice, I saw some women confined to miserable and marginalized lives.

It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t work and have a career. Nor did it ever occur to me that I wouldn’t go to college, although no one around me did.  Both seemed natural. Whether by design or default, my parent’s work schedule left their five children as “latch key kids”, which ultimately fostered independence not restriction. They also fostered the belief that I could go out into the world and do whatever I wanted. They didn’t instill limitations, impose stereotyped gender roles, or pressure to remain close to home. “Getting out” was a desired objective.

Below are some of my reflections on the lessons and messages that I gleaned from my mother over the decades, from what I now understand to be the Second Wave of Feminism in the 1960’s. The era where inroads were made in the workplace, higher education, family and reproductive rights, and civil rights. Equality during this era hit a flat note with us because we lived an experience that was not just gendered, but it was gendered across race and social class lines. We lived it all at once. It wasn’t until the 1990’s with the advent of the Third Wave when this experience was crystalized into “the intersectionality of oppression” across gender, race and social class. By that time, I was among a half of one percent of Hispanics who earned a Ph.D., and who would became a strident diversity advocate for Hispanic students  during my first job at Dartmouth College. It was also a time when the term Latino/a came to replace Hispanic, given the influx of immigration from Latin America.

Here are a few reflections from my mother that came during the  “Second Wave of feminism.”

~ On the Women’s Movement ~

Feminism was more about empowerment than equality. “We already knew we are equal. I have to provide for my children.”

~ On Career ~

Working was about self-reliance to acquire a better life, and to have power and choices within the family. This choice allowed one to leave a bad marriage.

~ On Racism ~

On the anger others had about discrimination, “Just work harder, 100+%, 200+%. Shouldn’t you be doing that anyway?”

~ On Sexism ~

I just knew I was smarter than the men, and could out strategize them to get things done.”

~ On Being Hindered “By Being a Woman” ~

“You still have to excel at what you do.”

My mother didn’t see obstacles or experience being held back because of “being a woman,” even though she worked predominantly among men especially as she rose the ranks. She had a high confidence in her intelligence, skills, and work ethic.

~ On Mentoring Programs ~

Laughs, “We had none of those. My peers became my friends and allies. We bonded and respected each other based on our skill and work ethic. We helped each other.

My mother’s two closest friends and allies were Irish-American. Brenda, a talent like my mother. Mike, an advocate for talented women in the workplace.

~ On Childcare ~

I paid the next door neighbor teenager 50 cents an hour and half of my next raise.

This stopped at the age when we become latch key kids.

~ On the Women’s Liberation Movement ~

(which really did look like a white women’s movement at the time.)

Who has time to march in D.C.? I have to work, I have five mouths to feed.

~ On Birth Control ~

After five children, I had to go on “the Pill, and quit the Catholic church.”

~ On My First PMS Cramps ~

You think you can stay home a few days every month? You won’t have a career.

~ After Work ~

Yes, my mother still made the meals. However, the five children did the housework. All of it. My father did the yard, fixed the cars, and had t.v. time, until they divorced.


About the author, Dr. Arroyo

Being the middle of five children, I graduated with a Ph.D. at a time when half of one percent of Hispanics earned that degree. I assure you that neither my mother nor any of my aunts have a shred of deference or submissiveness in their DNA.











What Is Executive Coaching?


What is Executive Coaching

What “is” Executive Coaching?

Companies report ROI of  7x or more when using executive coaching.

“Now what is executive coaching?” Have you ever been asked a question as the person slowly pulls away from you? That is a common reaction after I tell someone that I do executive coaching. There is a degree of defensiveness as coaching implies that a person has a “problem” or a “weakness.” Who wants to admit that? In fact early on, remedial coaching was often used for executives with problematic behaviors or performance. However more recently, there is a spike in using executive coaching for top talent, high potentials, and star performers.  Executive coaching is now used to maximize leadership talents and abilities.  The return on investment is quite dramatic. Improved performance, more promotions, and increased compensation are all reported benefits from executive coaching.

Executive coaching helps you become a better leader.

Executive leadership is a complex phenomenon. Successful leaders develop their “soft skills” as much or more than their technical skills. Working closely with an expert best ensures this professional growth.

A mentor? A friend? A therapist? An executive coach is distinctly different. An executive coach is a trained and trusted professional who works in a confidential relationship with you.  Unlike a friend or a mentor, an executive coach relies on a systematic process and uses scientifically valid methods  to promote  skill development, behavior change, and personal growth.  Unlike a friend or a mentor, a coach holds you accountable to meet your goals.

Executive coaching focuses on skill development in areas such as:

  • understanding your unique strengths and how best to use them.
  • applying new tools and skills in ways that fit your leadership style.
  • improving communication and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • enhancing your 15 emotional intelligence skills.
  • learning to build and engage an effective team.
  • how to manage stress and work-life balance.
  • how to leverage diversity for bottom line results.
  • improving executive presence.
  • learn negotiating skills.

Executive coaching fixes “fatal flaws.”

Executive coaching addressed needed behavior change. Did you know that there are “fatal flaws” that may derail your career? Four EQ skills have been identified that can stall or derail a career. They are:

  • Impulse Control
  • Problem Solving
  • Independence
  • Stress Tolerance

Fatal flaws have a negative impact on how you manage yourself and your relationships, which ultimately reduces your performance. These flaws may appear as arrogance, quickness to temper, aggressiveness, difficulty staying calm under stress,  or inability to make independent decisions to name a few.  Successful leaders get results through teams of people. Successful leaders excel in managing diverse teams to accomplish company objectives. Fatal flaws will interfere with your ability to be a successful leader, and consequently, it is critical that you engage in a coaching process to assist in behavior change.

“High character leaders are nearly 5x more profitable than those rated low in character.”

Executive coaching promotes personal growth. Leadership is an inner game as well as an outer game of skills and tools. The inner games relies on personality strengths and weaknesses. Personal growth promotes strengths while overcoming personality flaws. Interviews of great leaders strongly indicates that overcoming personal issues were key to achieving success. Further, high character leaders were seen as being nearly 5x more profitable that leaders who were rated low in character.  Strikingly, the less profitable leaders were in denial of their problematic behaviors, which reflected deficiencies in Self-awareness–one key EI skill. Executive coaching is ideal to measure  problematic behaviors, provide feedback, and a systematic approach to improve.

Assess. Feedback. Accountability. Results.

Is executive coaching really needed? Can’t someone learn this stuff by taking a seminar or reading a book? Unique to executive coaching is the idea of “accountability.” In more passive forms of learning such as reading or attending a seminar, a transfer of knowledge may take place. However, very little actual behavior change will occur unless there is regular practice. Regular practice requires focused goals, discipline, commitment, and accountability to perform.

Accountability keeps you focused, on track, and challenged with progressively more difficult goals. Research repeatedly shows the ineffectiveness of training seminars alone. Results are dramatic when seminars or trainings are coupled with ongoing executive coaching. It’s really hard to change on your own without support, guidance, encouragement, and expert information. My clients truly value the privacy that coaching offers when learning a new skill, rather than feeling exposed and vulnerable in the workplace.

When do clients typically seek out executive coaching?  

There are many scenarios when an executive decides to start executive coaching. Here are some examples.

1)  High Potential Leaders are those highly talented executives who have recently been made aware that specific interpersonal behaviors are hurting their career progress. These ambitious executives may feel threatened for the first time in their career, and seek to turn outside the company for support. For example, an executive isn’t aware that his/her dominant style is alienating others and is unable to lead through people, thereby losing talented team members or sales contracts.  Or, a rising executive is quick to temper in executive meetings and is labeled  “hot headed” rather than “management material.”

2)  Emerging Leader is an executive who is newly promoted to lead a team for the first time and is a ball of confusion about how to do this? Worse, this executive can’t reveal these fears out of concern of being seen as incompetent and a fraud. In some cases, these talented individual contributors truly have weak interpersonal skills and are unable to successfully lead a team. Others are evolving their leadership identity and what it means to lead.  In many cases, the company does not provide training and the executive truly is in a sink-or-swim situation.

3) Leader In Transition: This executive is in transition between new promotions or new companies and may need to learn new skills. Career change, either voluntary or involuntary, is a catalyst to identify direction, re-define purpose, find work-life balance, or find accountable support. Sometimes the executive’s career has plateaued but he/she doesn’t know why?

4) Problem Leader is one who is at risk of being fired or causing severe problems at work such as alienating customers, losing sales, or demoralizing team members. Often, this leader can be highly talented yet terribly unaware of how they are coming across to others or they don’t know how to manage their problematic mindsets and emotions. These executives are likely to have “fatal flaws” and need feedback and support to change.

5) A Leader In Crisis is human after all and faces real life issues too. Commanding top pay doesn’t address the crises such as divorce, loss of a loved one, or medical illness.  Further, the executive is at risk for keeping these issues a secret in order to maintain a high level of performance. Yet the crisis detracts from focus, energy, motivation, and time away from the office. Unlike a star athlete who can go on the disabled list for a period of time, a top executive doesn’t have the luxury of pausing to take a breath. Nor would many want to admit the need for such a pause given the unrelenting demands of a high pressure, high performance job.

What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a relationship designed to help you grow personally and professionally so that you can succeed in your career.

Get Even More Success now and sign up here for a free coaching session.

Star Leaders have superior emotional intelligence

Star Leaders Have Superior Emotional Intelligence

Star Leaders have superior emotional intelligence

Star Leaders Have Superior Emotional Intelligence. The Key to Success!

Star Leaders Have Superior Emotional Intelligence

Did you know that the top 10% of star leaders have superior emotional intelligence skills?  While EQ may get you in the door, it’s your EI that keeps you rising up the ranks. Using superior emotional intelligence skills is the decided edge skill that not only propels you into the top 10% executive leadership, it also is correlated with satisfaction in key areas of your personal life.

…….”the benefits of EQ-coaching are not just confined to the workplace — they produce higher levels of happiness, mental and physical health, improved social and marital relationships, and decrease levels of cortisol (the stress hormone),” writes Tomas Chammoro-Premuzic


Listen to Daniel Goleman explain how star leaders have superior emotional intelligence skills, which is the “must have” skill for Even More Success in the workplace.

Read More

Women’s Leadership Ambition Gap

Women's Leadership Ambition Gap

Women’s Leadership Ambition Gap. Lean or March In?

Women’s Leadership Ambition Gap

Lean or March In?

Sheryl Sandberg perceives a women’s leadership ambition gap and she has a remedy for it. Sandberg is the well known COO of Facebook, and is ranked #10 on Forbes’ list of Most Powerful Women. At age 43, she is a multi-billonaire, a working spouse and mother of two children. In her book, “Lean In”, Sandberg describes a Leadership Ambition Gap to account for why women are sparsely  represented in top leadership positions.

Read More

Rock and Rule…Yourself

What an emotionally moving and inspirational video about the power and brilliance found when you Rule Yourself! One thing that I have never found more true in today’s workplace is that the ultimate key to an executive’s success is not the company. It is the executive himself or herself. Own your training, own your development. Never wait for your company to invest in you. Invest in yourself. Companies may come and go, but you don’t. Rock Yourself, Rule Yourself. See the companies come courting you.

Read More

The Only Way I Know

For those of you who’d like a little motivation, here’s a dose on mega-drive. One aspect of great leadership is self-awareness and optimism. Tenacity in the face of adversity requires personal resilience and resolve. What keeps your competitive juices on high speed? What keeps your spirit soaring rather than sag? What keeps you in the game even when all else says otherwise? Here’s a song to help your spirit soar even higher!

Read More


 Champions, Once Again.

Do you know what’s better than success? Sustained success!

The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in a dramatic, game ending interception against the Seattle Seahawks.  Four Super Bowls titles in six Super Bowl appearances. Eleven AFC Championship titles. Brady has three MVP awards.  Belichick-Brady  have the most wins of any duo, surpassing Shula-Marino. The new records go on and on. As an executive coach and avid sports fan, I often draw on sports for inspiration.

Read More


Down by 14 points not once, but twice, the New England Patriots battled today to eliminate the Baltimore Ravens and advance to the American Football Championship playoff game.  Fierce. They battled fierce, that’s their mindset. Fierce.

“We didn’t panic, You can’t score 14 points in one play. We played one play at a time,” Gronkowski said. I’d argue that mindset is the foremost weapon in championship performance. Every team has top athletes. Every team trains. Every team has game plans. However execution of the plan, requires more than all of those ingredients.  Mindset pulls it all together to either choke or to elevate the play into the most memorable feats such as we saw in today’s instant classic. Focus, conviction, no fear. Fierce.

Read More