Technical Excellence and Leadership Skills

VT11 Strip Off Your Camouflage and Reveal your Inner Badass: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome


1:30pm - 2:45pm

Level: Introductory

Typically, as the only female in the room, I get it. There was such a small percentage of women in engineering, and an even smaller percentage of women in engineering that joined the military. People of color were even more scarce. It was so easy for us to develop imposter syndrome and tokenism.

So many of us pretend to be something we are not just to fit in and not be ostracized because of our differences. And yet the thought that you achieved your position because of a quota that needed filling feels horrible. No competent woman I know ever wants to feel like the "token female." And Imposter Syndrome is real (Clance and Imes, 1978) when you doubt your abilities and question whether you deserve to be in a position. It applies to both women and men. As a result, when you couple Imposter Syndrome with "tokenism," many will tend to start less secure in their positions than their counterparts.

I needed to reframe my thinking. I concentrated on my values, my strengths and what I brought to the fight. That's when I realized that I was actually in that position because I was a badass, not a token, and it has changed my world.

People need to hear that it is ok to have imposter syndrome; 94% of everyone in the world has had it at least once in their lives. The question is, how do you overcome it? Here's where I can help by giving them actionable takeaways to apply immediately.

You will learn:

  • Recognize: what is camouflage? Am I wearing it?
  • Evaluate: Is my camouflage holding me back? When is the best time to shed the camouflage?
  • Act: How to begin to take off the camouflage and be your genuine self