Words of Wisdom: LaToya Christian, GroupM

Welcome to Pass the Mic’s series: Words of Wisdom, a unique opportunity to hear from the industry’s leading women on their personal inspirations and discover their advice on advancing as a woman in the audio and advertising field.

We are joined by

GroupM's Managing Partner of Multicultural Marketing Strategy & Analytics,
LaToya Christian
. LaToya specializes in creating and implementing high impact brand strategies and campaigns as she leads client relationships across entertainment, technology and retail categories.

At GroupM, LaToya co-founded Lift & Rise, a community dedicated to advancing the careers of women across the agency network. Her dedication to lifting up others is infused throughout all aspects of her work—and she encourages her colleagues to bring “their unique ideas and thoughts and perspectives” to work each day.

Read along or listen in for LaToya Christians's Words of Wisdom:

What’s the best advice you were ever given: professional or otherwise?
LaToya Christian: What’s the best advice you were ever given?
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It's two pieces of advice that really stick with me. The first one was around being patient with myself and with life. And I remember it because it was someone who was sharing this with me very early on in my career. Sometimes you have a tendency to want to rush and get to the next thing and get to that next achievement or goal. I remember them sharing that with me and really taking it to heart and really implementing it in my life. It's made a lot of sense and it has worked for me. The other piece of advice, which honestly it was given to me more recently, like over the last three years, and it's so simple but it was just such a big moment for me.  I think it was also from who it came from. It was, you'll never have what you don't have the courage to ask for. I think for me, just sometimes being a woman and then also cultural nuances, sometimes you have a little bit of fear I guess, sometimes of just putting out there and really saying, “this is what I need, this is what I would like.” And after I heard that, it hasn't been a problem since then.

What does being a leader for other women mean to you?
LaToya Christian: What does being a leader for other women mean to you?
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Being a leader for other women, for me, I really just think a lot about how I show up and how do I want people to experience me.  I think of it from a standpoint of trying to be fair, trying to be positive, and really just showing up in the way that I would want other people to show up for me and how I want to experience other people. Especially in the workplace, because we spend so much time with one another. And I think that, especially for women, if there's a way for me to make a circumstance or a moment better for someone else, even if it's small, for me, that's showing up and being a leader and having them experience you in a really positive way. So, that's one of the things that's most important to me, how people experience me.

How do you use your “seat at the table” to elevate the other women around you?
LaToya Christian: How do you use your “seat at the table” to elevate the other women around you?
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Giving everyone the space to, and the freedom and the flexibility to, just be who they are. I really believe that, especially in corporate environments or if you're working in an organization that might have, sometimes a certain idea of how people should be, you know, it can be very stifling. And so for me, just giving the women around me the freedom and flexibility to show up how they choose best, and allowing them to be themselves and bringing their unique ideas and thoughts and perspectives, and just honoring their voice. To me, that's giving them a seat, that's giving them a space to have their ideas be shared with other people. And that to me is really important, especially for women of color, because I think sometimes we feel like we have to conform to be successful and that's not the case. So if I can shift that a little bit for someone, that's really important.

Who was your mentor?
LaToya Christian: Who was your mentor?
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I've been really fortunate to have an amazing collective of people surrounding me throughout my career, especially women. And even now, I do a lot of peer to peer mentoring. These are the individuals that are growing with you in your career and probably going through the same things that you're going through, at the same time. So those are some areas where I've had mentors. But, in terms of that one person, I was fortunate to come in contact with a woman by the name of

Jacklyn Monk very early on in my career. She has been an amazing mentor to me for a very long time. I really respect the way that she's helped me grow throughout the years and even to this day we're still very much connected.

What song, podcast, or audiobook would you recommend to your mentee?
LaToya Christian: What song, podcast, or audiobook would you recommend to your mentee?
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I would probably say that there are two that really come top of mind for me, especially when I think about when I was starting off very early in my career. The first one was

The Alchemist and that was a book that I was introduced to me in undergrad. And for me, it was a really interesting book to read at the time, because I think it was the first time I was really digesting a book that kind of forced you to look inwards. And that was basically the entire story of The Alchemist, looking within yourself and figuring it out. I think that's really important, especially when you're starting in your career and just trying to figure out who you are and navigating what could be a very new space. The other book that I constantly go back to, and it's just for me a life grounding book that I reference all the time, and by
Susan L. Taylor
who is the former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, and it's a book called
In The Spirit
. It's such a great book with a lot of life lessons, personal lessons, professional lessons and for me, it's a very grounding book and I've had it for a very long time and it's still very relevant, even still today.

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