Taking ownership and living our possibilities isn’t usually done alone – our stories include experiences with different people and places. The production of our first Mixtape helped to reshape my idea of self-determination.
Mixtape Vol. 1: Bloom was the first project I worked on as a full-time employee at YEBO. The goal was to coach four young people to tell their stories of transformation and growth and ultimately produce and publish a podcast featuring the stories. However, the theme of transformation and growth had a lot more significance to the organization than just the production of the content.
YEBO, as a whole, was going through changes. But for myself specifically, this Mixtape was the first serious step in intentionally building my professional capacity. As a young person trying to build a career, I’ve had to get used to a sense of humility because I often have no idea what I am doing. But intergenerational learning and professionals who invested in me contributed to the success of this project and my pursuit of self-sufficiency as a young adult.
In the beginning stages of this Mixtape, I had a lot of anxiety around the production of this project because the feeling of being unprepared and not skilled enough constantly lingered. When I went through coaching and producing my own story, I realized how vulnerable and hard it can be to share your voice and how hard it is to record it. When I received feedback during that process from Luis Antonio Perez from our partners with the CPR Audio Innovations Team, he reminded me that I’ve consumed stories my whole life, and I know what a good story sounds like. He also pushed me to let go of my perception of perfection and remember to show up as my authentic self in coaching and storytelling. That was this project’s purpose; to help four young people tell their stories through their authentic voices.
When it came time to work with storytellers, many executive functioning skills, like clear communication with storytellers, scheduling, and arguably the most crucial, project planning, came into play. I remember my supervisor, Cristina Chacon, emphasizing that it was essential to establish habits that helped me stay on track while also uplifting my leadership style. Creating the project plan for this Mixtape took me about two hours to complete, and I remember being so proud and showing Cristina. She was proud of me for getting it done and followed up with, “Great, and one day you will be able to get this done in 30 minutes on the toilet like I do”. This comment made me laugh and realize that learning these skills is building me up as a professional so that I could one day do a project plan with the efficiency of a seasoned professional like Cristina.
My boss, Cory Montalvo, said to me at the beginning of this project, “It takes humility to learn, but your ego keeps you going.” That idea helped me so much through the production of this Mixtape because even in moments when I felt like I didn’t have the skills, like when I struggled to phase out music properly while editing, I knew I could reach out to him or Rebekah Romberg from the CPR Audio Innovations Team to make the best product possible—moreover, learned how to ask for and to communicate with my peers and supervisor.
My biggest takeaway and lesson from this project is how to be a good teacher and a guide to other young people. Something often overlooked about intergenerational learning and guidance is that we young professionals are learning how to be better leaders so we can also guide someone else in their self-determination journey.
Sign-up to get YEBO announcements!