Courageous, woman leader, Latina… are some adjectives we can use to describe Patricia Arboleda; however, this hardly defines her.
Patricia Arboleda is an executive coach with vast experience in Corporate America. For many years, she learned to deal with the stigma of being an immigrant woman in a “men's world”, advance professionally and achieve success, at least what success means to the rest of the world.
The truth is that one day she realized that, despite the countless accomplishments she had achieved, she did not feel fulfilled… something was missing. From there, she began a journey of self-recognition that led her to find her purpose and build a successful life according to her own standards.
Want to know more about Patricia? Enjoy this interview we did with her.
Patricia Arboleda, CEO ‒ Executive & Leadership Coach
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.
When I was working as a senior leader in a Fortune 500 company, everything looked great on the outside. I had a high position that everyone would think was perfect. But it was nearly killing me.
I was working 60-70 hours a week, traveling all over the world with little or no time for self-care, feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my son, and having important health issues because of it.
I was feeling stuck, unfulfilled, and sad, knowing that I was missing out on my life; that I was meant for more, but not knowing what that “more” was or how to even get it. I was working myself to the bone expecting my manager to offer me the next big promotion, thinking that the next VP role was going to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside.
It was a confusing moment for me because I thought that by changing jobs I would solve my problems and give me a better sense of balance. But at the same time, I was afraid of change ‒ I had a great salary and didn't want to put that at risk.
In the end, I changed jobs within the same company but soon realized that the problem wasn't the job, it was me. So, I started a journey of self-discovery. I wanted to figure out why high-achieving women end up burning out and feeling unfulfilled. After conducting plenty of research, training, and work with coaches, I finally found the answer.
It turns out that in male-dominated industries, women are working twice as hard to prove themselves and trying to be flawless while doing so. They end up burning out and feeling that no matter how much success they have, their professional life lacks meaning.
Perfectionism is killing us, it’s making us get stuck and unfulfilled.
Once I found the root cause of why diverse leaders are not moving up the executive ladder, I made it my mission to address the issue and provide solutions to drive change from within.
What is your business name and how do you help your clients?
My business is called Arboleda Coaching. It focuses on helping women define success on their terms, take their careers to the next level, and build the courage and habits to create the future they want.
I have designed keynote speeches, presentations, round table discussions and workshops to inspire them to see their dreams to fruition through individualized plans that work. These plans and person-to-person coaching sessions leave them with actionable insights and strategies to put into action. Along the way, I also developed Women’s Leadership Programs to help large-scale organizations close the gender gap in leadership roles and provide more opportunities for women in the workplace.
My goal is to create real transformation and I see it happening! Companies that have implemented my programs have reported that more than 70% of the participants have taken promotions to new roles, promotions in place, and/or pay raises.
Organizations have built a pipeline of diverse leaders, increased engagement, and developed and nurtured key talents. Little by little, we will close the gender gap in senior roles.
What kind of audience do you target your business towards?
Arboleda Coaching focuses on women in Corporate America, from senior executives and mid-level managers to rising stars. Women that wish to advance in their careers and get promotions, change jobs, look for work-life balance, or shift the course of their professional life and become entrepreneurs ‒ these are the audiences I seek to help every day.
And I focus on them because I believe diversity and representation should be encouraged in the corporate world. These types of mentoring are keys to making connections between women employees and organizations because they allow them to see and learn what it takes to get to those senior leadership positions.
That's why the women who work with me find that connection because they see that whoever is training them is a person like them. These women see my experience as a Latina who rose through the ranks of corporate America and confirm that it is possible, that they can make it too.
What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?
I want to make an impact on others and in the corporate industry as a whole. Female leaders struggle to find a balance between their profession, their private life, their values, and their passions because of the lack of opportunities or resources available to them.
I realized that during all those years in corporate, what I was most passionate about was having the ability to transform and help others grow personally and professionally, and that's what I'm working toward.
Today, I see how the professional development model is changing, moving away from a purely hard-skills-based approach. I like to feel that I am contributing to a change in perspective, and that I am doing so by encouraging the combination of traditional training with coaching and accountability. The human factor is becoming more valuable.
I want more and more companies to see this as a growth opportunity for everyone; because what will make talent and a company thrive, is the existence of a mentor and a system in place that challenges employees to learn and evolve.
Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?
My son has always been my biggest inspiration and my driving force. From the start of my career in the executive world when I achieved professional success to give him a better life, to the moment I decided to make a change in my professional path, he was always one of the most important reasons I had to take the leap. I wanted to be more present in his life and for him to see me happy and fulfilled. Everyone deserves that gift.
He has also been my teacher in many aspects, and from whom I continue to learn so many things every day. I am very proud of him and of all that he has achieved through his effort and passion.
What is your work inspired by?
Courage is what drives me. I want to help women gain the courage to get where they want to go.
I always say, “Don't be perfect, be courageous.” And do you know why? Most of the time, we get paralyzed by an obstacle, the fear of being wrong and not achieving our goal. We wait for the conditions to be given to us, or worse, to have everything we think we need to take action.
That thought that we cannot make mistakes, that everything has to be perfect, is a limiting belief. It keeps us from going after the things we want, both in our professional and personal lives. So, it's a way of reminding me and all women who feel the same way to be brave to face those challenges; to be willing to fail, to not have everything figured out, and to try as many times as possible because at the end of the day, all that leaves us with a lesson and definitely, it makes us grow.
Thank you Patricia for sharing so many insights with us… How can people connect with you?