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Ep12. Bianca Erickson
Customer Service Support Specialist: Show Notes/ Transcript
This week we meet Bianca, or Gabby as she prefers to be called. I think Gabby’s stories show the power of storytelling. We get to feel what it was like to come to America with only basic English language skills, and how the kindness and warmth of a teacher can change a life for the better. And we get to experience Gabby’s decision to change the way she approaches others.
LinkedIn profiles give business context and our stories share who we are, so be sure to check out Gabby’s LinkedIn profile too.
Welcome to the Connection Requested podcast. I'm Mark Tweddle co-founder of You Tell Yours, providing online team-building events to connect your remote team.
This podcast is about making better connections with other humans.
I don't know about you, but I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn.
So this podcast is how we are going to get to know them.
I want my LinkedIn connections to be more meaningful and the best way I know to create that connection, that human understanding, is through storytelling. So each week, I get a guest to try some of the same exercises that we developed for our team events.
This week we meet Bianca Erickson.
So be sure to check out her LinkedIn profile either now, or after listening, to find out about her work, her skills, and her experience.
Enough explanation, let's jump right in with the Name Story.
Two minutes to tell the story of your name with no preparation.
No one else can tell that story better than you. You are the subject matter expert after all.
My name is Bianca Gabriela Occena and the story of my name. Well, my mother was a huge fan of soap operas, but Spanish ones, growing up. So she saw the name Bianca and it stuck to her ever since she was a teenager. That's how she came up with Bianca. And Gabriela, she was a big fan of the tennis player.
I think she's from Argentina, Gabriela Sabatini. And she loved her name. She was like, okay, I know what name I'm going to give my daughter. Ever since she was like 15, she's like, okay, Bianca, Gabriela. And of course, my last name is from my father and he's from Hispanic descent, Dominican.
And yeah, and that's where my name comes from.
Yes. I actually love it. I love it. People usually think that I'm Hispanic, but I'm not, I'm Haitian. It just sounds Hispanic. My name is constantly being misspelled, especially Occena And that was one thing that I was excited about when I was getting married. I was like, okay, finally, I get to be Erickson. Sounds American and everybody knows how to spell Erickson, so I don't have to constantly spell Occena for them. So that was nice. Yeah, so, but I love my name. now I'm Bianca Gabriela Erickson
Did you have any nicknames?
Gabby. Yeah, that's my nickname.
So do you prefer being called Gabby?
I actually do. My first name is Bianca, but nobody calls me Bianca. My mother's the only one who does. So it's pretty weird when somebody calls me Bianca. Yeah. I'm Gabby.
Thanks. Bia...Gabby. Thanks Gabby.
I really loved listening to Gabby. And as you heard, she stalled a little during the first story and so I prompted her because, you know, the point of this storytelling is to speak and not to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
And I'm glad I did. Otherwise, I'd probably still be calling her Bianca, like her mother.
So now let's hear Gabby tell a two minute story, starting with the words "The Teacher I Remember".
The teacher that I remember, her name was Miss Turk. And she moved out of Florida. She used to live here in Sarasota and, she was my ESL teacher when I moved here to the United States from Haiti. I remember I had barely any English. I only know just the basics. Good morning.
And when I was put into her class, after going to the other classes like chemistry, social studies, and American history, everything was so confusing and overwhelming. But as soon as I got into her class, I just felt comfortable. Although I felt like crying the whole day, that day, as soon as I got to her class, I don't know, something just felt bright.
She knew how to talk to me. She didn't act like I was a burden. The fact that I didn't know much. And she tried her best to communicate with me. Also, her class was filled with other kids that just moved to the United States as well. We connected, everybody connected. Everybody had fun in her class.
I remember it used to be the class that I looked forward to in high school. I just know today's an ‘odd’ day. So I'm not going to have her today, but ‘even’ days I know she'll be there. We got close to each other and I remember she ended up paying for my prom and yeah. So I always think of her whenever, I think of a role model of a teacher, somebody who should be in the educational world.
That was truly amazing. Right now schools and education can be quite a divisive subject. And yet your story was completely disarming. Every kid should have a Miss Turk in their life.
And as a fellow immigrant to America, I really felt how difficult it would have been to arrive here without knowing the language.
I mean, I speak English and yet I still struggled with some really simple tasks. In fact, I was reminded yesterday when I phoned the customer service phone line. And I was asked to press the pound key.
In the UK, the currency is the British pound. So to me, when I arrived here, the pound key was the symbol of the currency. And it's positioned on a keyboard where the dollar key is on US keyboards.
There are no pound keys on phones.
Without knowing that in America, the hash key is called the pound key. I really felt foolish and confused. And I can still remember the awkward conversation with, and I think it was a bank employee or maybe T-Mobile, I had to ask which one is the pound key?
Is it the star or the asterix, or the plus sign or the hash key?
It was a while back and I guess hashtags, weren't a big thing then. And so whoever I was talking to had no idea what the hash key was.
I'm sorry for this attempt at an American accent, but "It's a little square made out of two vertical lines and two horizontal lines."
Something like that.
You know, actually, I'm not going to be embarrassed about trying to do an American accent. Enough people, when they speak to me, try their Scottish accent and...
I'm saying nothing.
Let's see Gabby's connection story.
The thing about connection is, it always was hard for me to connect with people. That's the one thing that I struggle with a lot, I was always a shy kid growing up, always reserved, and I always felt like judged.
This person doesn't want to be my friend, that they just I want to borrow something from me, or they just want to talk to me for just a little bit. And it's never like about friendship or relationship when it comes to me. I kind of felt like, okay, it's best for me to just stay in my corner and mind my own business. But I think 2020 really opened my eyes and the world shutting down and not being able to really socialize, not seeing my friends.
I really understood the importance of connections and I started wanting to connect more with people.
I go out more. I try to get into conversations with strangers.
It's something that I used to never want to do before.
And like what I'm doing right now, I would have never done that last year.
Growing up, my mom used to always tell me that people are worth it, Gabby. You know, just give it a try, you know, stop closing your heart to people, let yourself be loved. Yeah, I think that, I'm proud of myself actually doing that and changing my ways and exploring that side of the world.
want to do better. All my friends, their first impression of me, well almost all of them, they were like, "Oh, she's reserved. She doesn't want to talk to me. And she's shy."
It's always the first thing that comes into mind. Oh, she's shy, she's reserved. And I kind of want to change that.
It's kind like a change of identity for me. I'm 27 years old and I feel like I've had the same friends for almost 10 years now, which is a good thing. And I have loyal friends, but I kind of want to connect more and people are actually worth it. I've had some pretty bad experiences, but I've had more amazing ones.
I told myself it's time to focus more on those amazing encounters, amazing stories that I've heard from strangers and simple conversations with people that. I would have never thought I would be talking to. It's nice.
You know, it was inspiring to listen to Gabby talk about being shy, and being seen as being reserved. Then seek to change, to connect with more people, and to start doing what we can all do, which is to start simple conversations with the people that we encounter.
Even the worst of situations can have some good outcomes. Maybe for the pandemic, one of the good outcomes will be a greater emphasis on the value of our human connections.
I'm also reminded of some Norton who we met in episode five. He'd read a book they talked about from someone who had done an analysis of very wealthy people and found that their wealth didn't generally come from being selfish or self-seeking. It came from the opportunity and the support that comes from having strong, healthy connections with others.
Anyhow. Do you feel that you're getting to know Gabby?
If you looked at her LinkedIn profile right now, and you needed her help or advice, would you now be more comfortable having a call with her? I do hope so.
If nothing else. I hope that you've learned that Gabby is awesome.
I'd love to know what you think. You can email me at email@example.com or send me a voice message via the Connection Requested page on anchor.com.
Please share this podcast, preferably on LinkedIn, and keep on having fun, making the best of connections.