Breakenridge is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications and the Author of Answers for Modern Communicators: A Guide to Effective Business Communication.
After more than 25 years of mentoring women and professionals in business and communications, Deirdre Breakenridge, an author, speaker, and consultant, launched her podcast, Women Worldwide, on C-Suite Radio to give women, and some men, a voice and platform to discuss their challenging yet rewarding career journeys. Interviewed by Breakenridge, women and men around the globe share their incredible stories; those who have experienced the heights of success and at times, the agony of defeat. With a vision to impart wisdom and to help people to soar to new heights, Women Worldwide uncovers different perspectives and ways for C-Suite listeners to find their inner strength.
The interview began with Breakenridge asking Garcia to share his journey as an immigrant to the United States. Garcia responded,
I guess my journey is what you might call a typical American immigrant journey. I got to this country from Brazil when I was six. I actually arrived one week before first grade. And I didn’t speak a word of English… My first day of school I couldn’t understand what was going on and the teachers just concluded that I was dumb. Because of my appearance — I have fair skin and blue eyes and then had blonde hair — they didn’t see me as the typical Latin American immigrant. They just assumed that I was a dumb kid.”
Garcia described how he was essentially ignored by his teachers for the first five years of school.
“But in sixth grade a very special teacher took me aside on the first day and asked me a bunch of questions. And I have a vivid memory of her just smiling and beaming and her her chin lifting up to the sky and she let out a deep breath and said, ‘My son, you’re not stupid. You don’t speak English. And she realized that for five years I hadn’t failed in school; the school had failed me. And she made me her project.”
Garcia then described how that teacher had kept him after school for 90 minutes every day for a full year.
“We caught up with all the English I hadn’t learned and she had me begin to memorize public documents– the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address. She had me speak in the front of the room. She had me do elocution. She had me recite so that every syllable could be heard in the back of the room. She had me put marbles in my mouth and do it again so she could hear every syllable. And by the end of that year I was not only caught up, I was way ahead of my classmates.”
After Garcia recounted his personal journey, Breakenridge shifted the discussion to issues arising from Garcia’s latest book, The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis.
You can hear the entire interview here: