Jasmine Escalera, PhD, is a career coach on a mission to help women of color confidently make their next career move and get paid their worth.
As a woman of Latino descent, Jasmine often felt out of place while navigating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)—a field very much dominated by white men. Eventually, it became clear to Jasmine how underlying feelings of doubt were a major concern for women of color in the workplace. This realization that stemmed from her personal experience led her to supporting women through building their confidence within themselves and their careers. Today, Jasmine is continuing on her journey to help women of color reimagine their life and live their purpose to the fullest.
We asked Jasmine about the founding story behind her coaching career, what keeps her committed to her journey, and what’s next for her and her company.
Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Jasmine Escalera Coaching?
A: Growing up in the projects of Brooklyn, New York as a Latina, I was taught how to be tough, confident, and hold my own. My parents were the pillars of strength and my community represented the very definition of resilience. But neither my parents nor community could prepare me for the academic and professional settings I would step into as a brown girl in the highly competitive and white male-dominated field of STEM. They sure couldn’t guide me through the strong desire to conform, code switch, and change who I was just in an attempt to achieve the success I wanted. They couldn’t prepare me for the scrutiny and harshness I would endure as I aimed to figure out a world that truly was not built for people who looked like me.
As I tried to identify the formula to make it work, all I could do was make myself small, so no one noticed my differences—my skin color, where I came from, and how I spoke. In doing so, that tough, confident girl turned into a doubtful and fearful career woman. Through this experience, I learned that this is the journey of many women of color in the workplace. It is the journey of so many of my clients who are women of color, first-generation daughters with families that want so desperately for them to achieve what they couldn’t. Yet, they were unable to provide guidance on how to do so because they themselves were unable to achieve this same level of success or make it into the spaces we have the privilege to occupy today.
Q: What problem does your business solve?
A: As women of color, we not only have the skills we accumulate through the hard work of school, college, and navigating our careers. We also have the strength, determination, and drive of each individual who has come before us—the communities who champion us and watch as we excel; the culture that connects us to something so deep and rich.
It was the reconnection to my people, culture, and community that pushed me past the challenges, doubt, and fear while igniting within me the passion for pursuing career success on my terms. This strength later propelled me into entrepreneurship to support, guide, and coach other women of color to see their greatness, connect to their stories, and create careers that were perfect for them.
Q: Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?
A: Entrepreneurship is not easy—far from it. But what pushes me when I want to quit is the intense desire to flood the workforce with amazing women of color ready to take it over. They are prepared to be who they truly are and own their greatness to the fullest. They are ready to take their seat at the table and pull out the chair beside them for the next women of color.
Q: How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences. Would you do it all over again?
A: I didn’t always know that I would quit my career and become a business owner. I didn’t always know this would be the fight I would fight. But now that I am, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q: What’s next for you and Jasmine Escalera Coaching?
A: Continuing to find the best ways to support women of color in navigating their careers. I am developing supportive group coaching programs where women of color have the opportunity to create a community experience that embraces our most confident and authentic selves, all while we together work toward outlining career goals, developing new skills, and becoming the empathetic, compassionate, and influential leaders needed to transform the workplace. I aim to create the spaces women need to focus on our careers in a safe and powerful way. Moreover, to take back our power as we redefine career success on our terms.
Jasmine is a member of Dreamers & Doers, a private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through thought leadership opportunities, authentic connection, and access. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to their monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.