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First impressions can take only 6 seconds to make! But if you’re neurodivergent, those quick judgments about you can be misleading.

That’s where the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast comes in! Join me, Carolyn Kiel, as I talk with neurodivergent entrepreneurs, creators, advocates & more about their lives and identities. Their stories shatter misconceptions, break stigma and showcase the vibrance of neurodiversity.

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Recognition for Beyond 6 Seconds:

  • Positive Change Podcast Awards 2022: First Place Winner - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion category
  • Positive Change Podcast Awards 2022: First Place Winner - Personal Journal category
  • Positive Change Podcast Awards 2022: First Place Winner - Mental Health category
  • Positive Change Podcast Awards 2022: Second Place Winner - Inspiration/Motivation category
  • Positive Change Podcast Awards 2022: Second Place Winner - Psychology category
  • Signal Award Silver Winner: 2022 Best Individual Episode-Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 
  • W3 Award Gold Winner: 2022 Podcasts General Series-Community 
  • W3 Award Silver Winner (x2): 2022 Podcast Features-Best Individual Episode
  • International Women's Podcast Association: 2022 Shortlist - "Moment of Raw Emotion" Episode Category

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.