Rachel Montoya, Controller
Rachel Montoya is okay being wrong. She has a strong sense of empathy, a superpower for pattern recognition, a toughness that anybody would admire. All of these contribute to her great leadership skills. But none is more important the awareness of how wrong she can be. It allows her to look at life in a curious way and see every mistake as part of the learning process. Often, women find it scary to ask questions in new leadership roles because it feels like they should already have the answers innately somehow. Rachel isn’t afraid.
When this was pointed out to her, Rachel laughed. She followed that up with a profound observation. She tends to do this a lot. She is very charming and quick to laugh. But, she is also incredibly good at connecting with you with her vulnerability and hard sought wisdom. According to Rachel, imposter syndrome is natural. Everybody goes through it.
As she says, “Everybody thinks they are supposed to have all their stuff figured out and nobody does.”
The way she deals with this common feeling is by becoming a learning machine. She has this unique ability to take a step back and ask: What mistake am I making here? What can I do better? She has cultivated a wonderful community that allows her to do this. They support her, champion her, and allow her to look at emotionally difficult mistakes as learning opportunities. In fact, she sees this community as one her secrets to success.
Although she attributes it to luck, it seems like she was able to form this beautiful community of mentors by being able to ask for help when she needed it. And maybe, more importantly, to understand where she doesn’t understand the entirety of the problem and to empathize with people with different worldviews than she does.
“Even if it’s not how I agree or how I process things,” she says, “[I am trying to allow people]… some space to be themselves and maybe in exchange, they will allow me some space to be myself…cause that’s where creativity happens.”
Rachel Montoya is an incredibly inspiring and inspired leader. And she’s just getting started.
She recounts a conversation she had with an Uber driver in Mexico, “He had this idea there was no way he can fail at things… he can do anything. he can be anything. [And while he told me this I thought]… I can do this too. I don’t care if I am 40 something years old. I can do this.”
Yes, she can. And yes, she will.