Skillz Blog

Skillz Senior VP of Engineering Speaks at The Alumni Society’s Catalyst LA 2018

Our Senior Vice President of Engineering, Miriam Aguirre, is constantly supporting and advocating for marginalized communities within the technology industry. She has spent time in the past speaking at events including Lesbians Who Tech, Wonder Women Tech, and more. Most recently, she spoke at The Alumni Society’s Catalyst Los Angeles 2018 on a panel of powerful Latinas entitled “Courageous Conversations.”

The Alumni Society is a prestigious community built to support and connect distinguished Latino leaders who have graduated from highly selective universities. It seeks to elevate Latino leadership in America by connecting members and partners with Latino thought-leaders through networking platforms.

Image Credit: The Alumni Society

Catalyst Los Angeles is an event hosted by The Alumni Society and Bank of America to foster learning and connections amongst some of the most brilliant Latino minds by way of an intimate local gathering. During this evening affair, Miriam spoke alongside Anita Ortiz, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Coast at Viacom, and Alejandra Campoverdi, Commissioner at First 5 California, with Bank of America’s Julian Parra moderating the panel.

Image Credit: The Alumni Society

Last October, Miriam spoke at The Alumni Society’s Leadership Summit in San Francisco, where she touched on the concept of imposter syndrome during the larger discussion. In the Catalyst LA panel, she was asked to further reflect on her experience with this common tendency, and explain how she overcame the challenges it brought into her life.

For context, imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which people may undermine their own accomplishments, despite evidence of their competence and success. It has also been found through research and personal narratives that there is a correlation between imposter syndrome and minorities.

Image Credit: The Alumni Society

As noted in The Alumni Society’s own event recap, Miriam explained that confidence is a key factor to eliminating that voice in the back of your head that can make you doubt yourself. While hiring new employees for her team, she was able to take a step back and see the paradox in action. She said, “I started interviewing a lot of people, and I started to notice that skill level and confidence level were not tied together at all. I started thinking of confidence as a skill instead of something that would naturally show up when I increased my skill set.”

During this panel, Miriam also explained that she draws strength from those around her. She looks to family and friends, and takes time to recognize their success in order to empower her community and instill even greater faith in herself.

Miriam is an inspiring figure to many marginalized members in the tech space, and we’re grateful for her continued efforts to speak out and improve the landscape for other emerging women and minorities destined to become future industry leaders!