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An open letter to Black professionals: You were never the impostor

Ten years ago, in my very first management role at a large consumer packaged goods company, an employee who reported to me (and who had also applied for the same role) asked me, in front of my entire team, “How does it feel to know you were a diversity hire?”

Even though I knew that I was the most educated person in that room, and had five years of experience in the industry, That question has haunted me throughout my career and I am sure haunts many other Black professionals in our current climate. This incident was a reminder that the feeling of impostor syndrome isn’t just the nagging voice in our head; it’s vocalized by coworkers, leadership, and reinforced by biases and stereotypes. It can be impossible to push away those galling feelings of inadequacy, which persist despite evidence of our success.

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