inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Alicia Montesa

“I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m from a small town in WI and had always dreamed of big city living on the west coast – without ever having visited. About 8 years ago, against the advice of many, I quit my job, packed up a U-Haul and headed to SF. I haven’t left the Bay Area since. It was a big risk during the downturn of ’08 but I was beyond focused on making it and I did. I landed at Salesforce, which I later learned was one of the most reputable tech companies. I’m sorry to say I had never heard of it before that point but that experience ended up becoming a true launching pad for a rewarding career in university and diversity recruiting. I feel pretty fortunate to have had multiple jobs since then supporting others in accomplishing their professional goals and landing amazing opportunities. This work is so me in every way and truly can’t imagine doing anything other than supporting others in their career journeys. Fast forward, in total I’ve held positions at 3 innovative tech companies and a leading university. This has led me to my dream job situation today. I work as a Career Coach at a high school serving first generation college students (Fun Fact: I’m one myself!), am working on launching my own coaching biz and also hold the role of Co-Founder and Chief Networking Officer with a start-up dedicated to connecting young talent with industry professionals. Adding to all this, I found my man, Gaspar, and an awesome pup companion, Harris.

What # would define your life journey?
Over the last few years, I’ve sought out more and more opportunities that I knew would be totally uncomfortable but also challenge and test my abilities and strengths. I dedicated by myself to focusing on self-education and have participated in a handful of intense life success experiences. About a year and a half ago, I also took some time off of work to school myself on environmental issues– topics I continue to be extremely passionate about. So I guess this would all lead me to 2 #s coming to mind: #comfybeinguncomfy & #makinit.

Favorite website / app:
When I need a personal time out, I check out Calm for a few mins. Thinking about our next trip is always something to look forward to and leads me to TripAdvisor for top recommendations. I love unsplash which offers free high res photos for whatever your needs may be and as it relates to our dog, Rover regularly saves our lives!
G & A

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am without my husband, Gaspar. I didn’t know how important it was to have a true partner in life until I met him and a number of things I had wanted to accomplish starting falling into place almost immediately. It makes a huge difference knowing he not only always has my back, but the ones closest to him as well. He is one of the most sincere, generous and patient people I know. He’s also very confident and rarely spends time worrying about what others may think. I’ve watched him soar professionally with these traits and learn something from him daily. G also brought the concept of regular goal setting into my life, which has greatly sped up the process of making real progress on my greater objectives.

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I’ve worked at few well-known tech companies and have recruited engineers for years. I, myself, am not a trained techy. I have a Masters in HR! Understanding eng lingo at times has been a challenge and a lack of it can dampen your credibility with those in the industry. I’m fortunate to have made friends with incredible engineers over the years that have been open to teaching me some programming basics and that’s made a big difference in my ability to converse with just about everyone in the Bay Area. I’ve also taken advantage of a few free online coding courses, such as those offered by General Assembly.

Ideal Job:
I think I will always support others in their career searches or personal goal setting adventures in some capacity. I’d love to see myself continuing to work in this area but also having the ability to carve out more time for family, friends, dogs and myself. This likely will lead me to focusing more on my own career and recruitment coaching business. Perhaps this will allow me the flexibility to live wherever my heart desires, get more involved in the environmental movement and start seriously thinking about opening a French themed café. (Another fun fact about me is that I have had a French obsession by entire life!)

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Stop caring so much about what you think other people think or how they may be judging you. You have better things to do! Everyone is dealing with his or her own agenda and to-do lists and likely isn’t thinking that much about yours. Be bold, stand tall and most importantly, use your voice!
les baux france

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