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Welcome to the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast, where we share extraordinary stories from everyday people. Each episode features candid and inspiring interviews with entrepreneurs, creatives and business leaders who share how they discover and grow their careers, overcome big challenges and make a positive impact on society.

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Feb 1, 2021

Elaine Montilla is an accomplished senior executive who has been an IT leader in higher education for two decades. As an immigrant, Latina, lesbian woman, Elaine has overcome many challenges to build her successful IT career. She is currently Chief Information Officer and Assistant Vice President for Information Technology at The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, a Forbes Technology Council member and contributor, and an AMA Women’s Leadership Center presenter.

Elaine is also a TEDx speaker and the founder of, a company and social media brand dedicated to empowering women and minorities, especially in tech, with a mission to demonstrate how businesses can be powerful platforms for social change. 

During this episode, you will hear Elaine talk about:

  • What inspired her to start
  • Her story of moving from the Dominican Republic to New York and discovering her interest in IT while attending college, where she learned English and programming language at the same time
  • How her first job working in a restaurant kickstarted her IT career
  • The obstacles she overcome to build a successful IT career in the US as an immigrant, female, Latina, lesbian human being… and how she battled imposter syndrome while advancing in her career
  • Why you can’t believe everything you think, and how challenging your own thoughts is critical to overcoming imposter syndrome and unconscious bias
  • How important it is for your career development to "be comfortable being uncomfortable” and have difficult conversations
  • Why it is important for leaders to admit their mistakes and to be vulnerable

Learn more about Elaine and her work at and on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Watch Elaine’s TEDx talk: The Value of Mentoring Women and Minorities in Tech

Watch the video of this interview on YouTube!

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Click here for the episode transcript.