Katherine Martinez

Journey of Three - Katherine Martinez

Katherine and her classmates, April (L) and Yumiko (R), are ready for the EDI session!

Katherine and her classmates, April (L) and Yumiko (R), are ready for the EDI session!

The ability to give and receive feedback is not easy to master, regardless of the environment. Giving your mom feedback about how her beef noodle soup could have used a bit more salt is just as challenging as giving your boss feedback in regards to how he handled himself during a review meeting. While most understand how powerful the impact of feedback is in the workplace, the comfort level in approaching and delivering feedback can deter even the most confident and outspoken individuals.

During our most recent session titled "Powerful Feedback", Anh Vo gave an useful perspective on how to give and handle feedback. I distinctly remember getting feedback that left me confused. “Why did she just tell me that?” “What did he really mean?” “Oh I get it, she doesn’t like me.” These are just a few of the thoughts I've had when approached with feedback from others with little to no structure on the specific feedback. Getting feedback like that can be very frustrating and leave an overall negative impression. I appreciated Anh going over the types of feedback: Evaluative, Interpretive, Supportive, Probing and Understanding. That was when the light bulb went off in my head that feedback is not criticism! Asking for feedback can put a lot of pressure on people as they don’t feel it is appropriate to criticize others, however that isn’t what the intent of feedback is! The intent and impact of feedback is to motivate, enhance morale, increase performance, and produce better results.

The group was given the opportunity to practice how to give and receive feedback during our afternoon session through role-playing specific workplace scenarios. I felt the role-playing really helped myself and others become more comfortable about how to read and understand a situation before addressing the feedback that is needed. Anh really stressed the importance of giving feedback to be behaviorally specific, be aware of the impact, make the intentions clear and ask for what you want and need. It was very interesting for the group to practice both sides, it really brought perspective.

I appreciated the fact that the more effective you are at giving feedback, the better it will be received. Knowing that really helps me want to be more open to giving feedback to others besides my peers and manager. At work, my leadership is often looking for feedback and doesn’t usually receive it directly from the source. It is often brought up to them from the specific individuals’ manager. After attending Anh’s session, I will work to continue on being more direct in giving feedback personally to my leadership. The value from the feedback coming from the source is extremely powerful. A person who can take time out of their day to give feedback shows their dedication for their job and those who influence it!

Journey of Three - Katherine Martinez

Fact: I get anxiety thinking about what someone’s first impression is of me!

Did they meet me before I had a chance to have my morning coffee? Did they catch me right after a long stressful day? The overall dreaded first impression feeling I have after meeting an Executive...“I hope I didn’t end my career before I even had a chance to start it!” After attending Vanna Novak’s session focused on how to effectively Speak to Persuade, I left with a greater understanding of how to present myself and the content in a natural and authentic approach.

We started the day by being videotaped doing a 30 second intro of ourselves and addressing an audience with a topic of our choice. Talk about yourself and pick your own topic…sounds easy enough, right? No, it isn’t. After the group had a chance to be videotaped in the morning, Vanna spent time later that day to critique everyone’s video. The group had an opportunity to provide feedback, and it was very useful. What I took away from the exercise was I needed to work on my voice inflection. The impression is my voice inflection (the pitch of my voice going up at the end of my sentences) can take away from my efforts of displaying confidence and authority. A person’s voice - the rate of speaking, volume, articulation, quality and pitch accounts for 38% of one’s impact on being an effective communicator!

Within the first 10 seconds of someone seeing you, they will have already made as many as 10 judgments about you, thus forming their first initial impressions of you. Many of these initial impressions are based on the physical appearances. A person’s physical impression makes up 55% of their impact as a communicator. What Vanna showed me was how I can steer one’s impression of me through projecting a perception, which later becomes reality!

“Being an effective public speaker means being no one but yourself at your confident best,” was one of my favorite quotes of the session. It reminds me that I have more power than I think I do in controlling how others perceive me during presentations and when speaking to an audience. I learned a lot this past session- I learned more about myself and discovered more about the type of leader I want to convey to others!

Journey of Three - Katherine Martinez

Coming into the Personal Branding and Network for Leadership session, I was very excited at the opportunity to work on my brand and improve my networking skills. Speaking professionally about myself is something I struggle with from time to time. This can surprise people as I am generally not a shy person; I enjoy conversing with others and value relationships. My cultural background doesn't encourage self-branding, so the takeaways I learned from Colleen Fukui-Sketchley's session really helped me gain a better appreciation for branding and how it can help accelerate your career.

The morning began with Colleen facilitating an exercise with the group to assess each other's perceived strengths and attributes. This was a very interesting exercise as the environment was very open, honest and safe. When I volunteered to have the group assess me, I was glad to hear that they perceived my strengths to be driven, dynamic, confident, a thinker, and passionate. Hearing that from my peers reassured me that I displayed an authentic identity. What I enjoyed the most during this exercise was hearing my peers' assessments of each other; it was inspiring. When it comes to your brand, you are in control. If you don't display certain strengths and attributes that are apart of your brand today, it doesn't mean that you can't working on developing new strengths that enhance your future brand. 

Who you are, what drives you, and what you can contribute are key elements to your brand. However to elevate your brand, you need to be able to network effectively. The Q&A panel with the executive mentors really helped put context around the importance of branding and networking. Lorraine Yu shared a few examples that she had in career where her brand was not reflecting who she really was. How she was able to work through it, identify her true brand, and transition into a career was very helpful for me. Your career is not always going to be smooth sailing, it is how you chart your course after a set-back that is the most valuable. Chee Chew and Nyle Miyamoto were very inspiring on how to stay authentic. Don't be afraid to be yourself and don't shy away from reaching out to those who may not be familiar with your cultural background.

Since attending this last session, I have been inspired to update my internal one-pager I use for my information interviews. I find myself more self-aware of my environment and identify opportunities to reach out to individuals who I would have never thought of reaching out to prior. As with everything I'm learning in this program, practicing and pushing myself outside my comfort zone is how I will grow. Looking forward to continuing my career development!

Journey of Three - Katherine Martinez

Katherine's EDI team reinforces what they learned about behavioral styles in their Geoteaming activity.

Like a coin there are two sides to emotional intelligence, self and social. The self-side is the awareness of one’s understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to be perceived. The social-side is the acknowledgement of other people's perspectives, willingness to support, and building/maintenance of positive relationships. From Thursday’s EQ session, both the 'Quest for EQ' Board Game and Geoteaming scavenger hunt helped me assess both my self-side and social-side.

My emotional intelligence is linked to my natural behavioral style of being a stabilizer-controller. My social-side is something that has always come natural to me. Thus when people first meet me, my level of engagement with them can be viewed as strong leadership quality. This can be a double edged sword for me. How did I traditionally lead? By developing strong personal relationships as a means to motivate others and accomplish tasks. Why is this ineffective for me at times? Under pressure, my behaviors can shift to be very direct and blunt which is off-putting for those who perceive me as friendly, warm and personable, prior to a situation.

What I struggled with before starting the EDI program is why my behaviors and actions change in a high stressed environment. Why do I become someone that I don’t think I am? It was during the board game that an AHA moment happened. During the game, we had an emotional intelligence self-assessment. It was through the self-side portion of the assessment that I realized that I don’t have a clear understanding of who I am in certain situations. While I am first to applause others on their accomplishments, my own accomplishments aren’t something I value enough at the same level. Recognizing others' feelings and wanting to understand why they feel the way they do is more of a priority than my own at any given moment.

My realization is this, while is it great to have a strong social-side, my self-side must be just as balanced to the social-side, if not more. An effective leader can inspire and lead others by embodying the values in which they expect others to have. Being more self-aware and self-guided in situations at work is something I have to continue to practice! I do believe that by focusing on my own feelings and valuing them just as high as I value others will also help continue to build my confidence and distress myself during key situations at work.

Journey of Three - Katherine Martinez


Self reflection is something I did not do very often until I started the EDI program, especially when it came to my personality and how my behaviors affect others in the workplace. Linda Callecod’s introduction to Behavior Styles really spoke to me about why behavior identifies are important to every professional. Perceptions influence behavior and if I am striving to be a genuine leader then adapting my behavioral styles at work is critical to my success.

My AHA moment was how other perceived me. During training, we had the opportunity to assess each other. I was pleasantly surprised to hear how people identified me based on limited interactions and physical mannerisms. I often feel like in a professional environment, individuals aren't able to see who I really am. It was refreshing to hear that others perceive me the same way as I want them to.

Identifying myself as a stabilizer-controller, I realize that my behaviors of being considerate, "wanting to please" and "wanting to be liked by others" can lead me to be overwhelmed when dealing with confrontation or "having to displease others."  I want to adapt my behavioral styles at work so I am not being viewed as shy or indecisive. 

These past few weeks, I have been self reflecting with the fact that I can be too timid and not direct with certain peers whom are very strong controllers. I have been working and practicing on finding a balance; when I need to display controller type behaviors to be more effective in certain situations. I have definitely felt more confident in meetings as of late. I have been forcing myself to speak up and get my points across in a direct precise manner! This is big for me! I realize that I like the feeling of being more direct without having to be someone I'm not. I am surprisingly optimistic that with more practice, adapting my behaviors to certain situations will come natural to me thus shaping me into a more effective leader!