After 15 years in government and politics, I started my own company – Karina Cabrera BellFeatured
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken in your career and how did you build up the courage to do it?You hear it all the time. Follow your dream. Be authentic. Find what lights you up. But the truth is it’s hard. What if they don’t like the real me? Or my new job or idea? Why? Because people can be harsh. But I didn’t want to live this way. After 15 years in government and politics in the east coast, my husband and I moved to the Bay Area. He got the fancy job. I didn’t. I was in this new city with two little kids and no family or friends. Everyone kept telling me to become a lobbyist or work for a big tech company. I decided that for the first time in my life I would take a pause and figure out what I wanted to do. I no longer wanted to live for the approval of others. I no longer wanted a job for a fancy title or just for the pay. I wanted to add value and impact in the world.After some reflection I realized that I care deeply about women and leadership. What does that mean exactly? Well I want to live in a world where there are more women in leadership. I want to do my part to open doors for women to succeed in the workplace. So I started OpenAccess, a boutique talent strategy firm working with companies to close the gender equity gap in the workplace. From executive search to career development programs to DEI strategy, we partner with companies committed to increasing the ranks of women in leadership. Why women?Because gender inequality persists.●  Women are underrepresented in leadership.    ○ 5% of S&P 500 companies have women CEOs.   ○ Only 27% are at an executive / senior level.   ○ Women of color represent fewer than 4% in the mid to senior ranks.●  Pay inequity endures.   ○ White women are paid $.77 on the dollar for doing the same work as men.   ○ The numbers drop to $.61 for African American women and $.53 for Hispanic women. *●  Family-friendly workplaces are too uncommon.   ○ Only 15% of workers have access to paid family leave through their employer. *I am proud that my company is working hard to change these stats. We are partnering with innovative companies committed to advancing women in the workplace.This decision to start my own company is the boldest thing I have ever done. And you know what? It’s the best thing I have ever done. Karina is the Founding Partner at OpenAccess, a boutique talent strategy firm working with companies to close the gender equity gap in the workplace. A relentless champion for women and girls, Karina is also the Founder, CEO, and podcast host of The Reach Mama Network, a company that connects professional moms of color to opportunity and profiles high-powered moms of color about their career journeys. Karina has over 15 years working in all levels of government, including The White House, US Senate and City government. At the Obama White House, Karina lead the Congressional Affairs and Outreach/Recruitment efforts within the Presidential Personnel Office. She also worked in the U.S. Senate as Senior Policy Advisor for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Department of Energy and in local government for the New York City Comptroller’s Office, and on numerous political campaigns including two presidential campaigns (Obama 08’ and Kerry 04’). Karina has been featured in Forbes, ABC News 7 and Univision and she serves on the Community Advisory Panel for KQED Public Media and on the board of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.