Newspaper article International New York Times

Facing Conflicts: Call out the Elephant in the Room

Newspaper article International New York Times

Facing Conflicts: Call out the Elephant in the Room

Article excerpt

As published in The International New York Times.

Amber Guild is president of Collins, a brand consulting firm.

Q. What were some early influences for you?

I grew up in two different homes. I had my father's home in New Jersey and my mother's home in New York City.

Q. Tell me more about your parents.

A.They never married. They became good friends, had me and then they separated. My dad later moved out to New Jersey with my stepmom, and my mother was in New York. Both were very politically active. I probably went to my first demonstration before I could walk. We were always protesting something or other at a rally.

And I grew up in these two different cultural households. My dad's household was all white, and my mother and my two older sisters are black. I'm the only one who's biracial. So I found myself always being a bridge in terms of culture and different classes.

In my home in the city, we were poor. My dad's household was working-class, but there was always food on the table. Growing up with those two very distinct experiences started to form my relationship with the world and with people in different communities, and seeing both differences and similarities.

Then, to top it all off, I ended up getting a scholarship to boarding school in Connecticut when I was 14, which was another radically different culture and experience.

Q. And how have your parents influenced your leadership style?

A.The organizing aspect of it -- organizing people in a way that leads to collaboration because you have a shared vision and mission. I started organizing when I was 8 or 9.

Q. Really?

A.It was with my classmates. Someone had been stealing from the cubbies in our classroom, and so I organized a couple of my classmates and we started the Star Detective Group.

I also learned resilience from my mother. …

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