Happy New Year! Welcome back to another feature article, today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Candace Bethea. Her brother Chris nominated her a few months ago, shout out to Chris for bringing the I Am Woman community another amazing woman to learn from. Over the course of her life, Candace has lived in upwards of about 10 states and is currently soaking up the joys of New York city living. She has a PhD in Mathematics and is working on having her small business take off in the next year. Talk about a well rounded woman, am I right!
As I mentioned, she was nominated by her younger brother Chris. Having a little brother comes with laughter, support and for many; the responsibility of shaping them into decent men. I know this is something I often think about being as though I also have a little brother. During our conversation, I asked Candace about her relationship with Chris & if there was any advice she could give surrounding a big sisters relationship with their younger brother. Her immediate answer was to be a good example of how to treat women. She explained how she took notice of how kind her brother treats not just women but people in general and while she says she cannot take credit for that, she wishes she would’ve been better in her youth at treating the girls her age with the same kindness she watches her brother treat others with. For those of you who are parents you typically are aware that your children watch everything you do and in turn mimic it. This is also the case in an older sibling, younger sibling dynamic, so for all my older sisters out there be sure you're treating your girlfriend with kindness, respect and love not only because they deserve it, but you also never know who may be watching.
Like I stated in the opening paragraph, Candace does have her PhD in Mathematics which led us to an interesting conversation on diversity in the field of STEM. I think it’s important to start this topic off by stating, Candace is the only black woman she knows with a PhD in math. During this discussion Candace commented on the tremendous lack of diversity that stuck with me, she said “STEM fields are really, really bad for diversity. It’s so bad for diversity, that being a woman counts as diversity, even though women make up like 50% of the world.” She went on to explain how as a woman of color, a lot of the conversations surrounding diversity in STEM were extremely frustrating because they were primarily focused on how to better incorporate white, upper class women. I was blown away by how far behind the STEM world was, being as though there is so much more to diversity. It’s not that these women don’t deserve representation because of course they do, but so does everyone else. Conversations like these always leave me thinking, what can I do to help? For anyone with ideas or suggestions, please be sure to leave them in comments below or send in an email!
Despite some of the difficulties Candace may have faced while gaining her PhD, she came across her toughest obstacle in the workforce. She expressed her difficulty in connecting with other women in the office. Since graduating, Candace has worked in several different places within the corporate world and as we know, for the most part corporate America has a reputation for being void of personality and never short of angst. Candace expressed how she has struggles not only making connections with other women, but also remaining true to who she is outside of work. She explained how in the business world, the culture brings about a more masculine attitude from her, where in her daily life she has certain feminine characteristics about her that she masks at work. This was another conversation we had that I would like to explore more with I Am Woman, because for many years the business world was a man's world. Over time women have begun to infiltrate, however it seems that women are infiltrating and taking on masculine personalities. I can’t speak to whether or not its to fit in or do better, but it is an interesting trend to follow. If there is anything to learn here, I think it would be to try your hardest to remain true to yourself. We all have to make adjustments here and there, but don’t ever lose sight of who you are in the mix.
Before I wrap up, a huge shout out goes to Candace’s mom. When I asked her who has been her biggest inspiration throughout her womanhood, she immediately answered, “my mom.” She explains how her mom was a single mom, when she was young and she worked full time, while getting her PhD, in order to get the best job possible, so that she could provide for her daughter. What an incredible woman, am I right?
With that being said, thank you all for reading! I hope Candace has inspired you, as much as she has inspired me. If you know someone who reminds you of Candace, nominate them to be featured next by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or sending me a DM on Instagram @iam.wwoman. Please be sure to show Candace some love in the comments and have a wonderful rest of your day!
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