WOW – Britta Guerrero

WOW Britta GuerreroWords of Wisdom is a monthly interview on the Metro EDGE blog with an executive who is making an impact in the Sacramento community. Think of these interviews as a mini Executive Insight where you will receive valuable career advice that will help you grow as a young professional! This month's interview is with Britta Guerrero, CEO of the Sacramento Native American Health Center. Britta was one of the panelists for our EDGEucational Forum on Institutional Racism back in February 2020. Read Britta's interview below to learn more about her and her advice to young professionals everywhere.

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career?

  1. As a person of color, in work environments, we are often required to “code switch” to present more professionally acceptable or appropriate. If you are required to be disingenuous, that is not your place.
  2. When you show up as a leader of color, you are changing the narrative. Trust your voice!
  3. Even if you LOVE what you do, it is still work. Rest when you need to!

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

Yes! It is a blessing to have people invested in you and your personal and professional success. The most important advice I have received is to be thankful for both your blessings and your burdens. You are learning valuable lessons from wins and losses and when you lose, which you will... don’t lose the lesson.

We move so fast we often forget to pause for reflections. Have these conversations with folks you trust. What did you learn? What went well? What didn’t? What can you do differently next time?

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

I require fresh air and quiet time. I need to connect with myself and the earth to stay balanced. I am a distance runner and a gardener. Running with the sunrise is cultural; greeting the day with good intention sets the tone and prepares your body to respond to whatever it offers. I run so obviously I need to eat! Growing food is super satisfying and nourishes me on multiple levels. I do not miss appointments with myself even if that means saying no to other people, places and things.

I also have fun! I don’t take myself too seriously and I laugh, I laugh a lot and obnoxiously loud.

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, podcasts, etc. that might help a young professional?

Living Indigenous Leadership- Native Narratives on Building Strong communities

Leading From Between-Indigenous Participation and Leadership in Public Service

How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi

The Wounded Leader: How real Leadership shows up in Times of Crisis, Richard Ackerman

Voices: RiverCity (Podcast)

ApacheSkateboards. Doug Miles. @apacheskateboards @instaapache Instagram

@BrownIssues on Instagram

@Calendow on Instagram

@CCUIH on Facebook

Diversify your social media! If everyone you follow looks like you, you’re doing it wrong!

How important is it to be involved in organizations outside of work (church, networking, philanthropy, community-based, alumni, athletics, etc.)? Why?

Building community is important. Intersectionality can help us to understand how community identity, power and privilege (including your own) can build alliances across sectors to better yourself, your community and this city. Don’t overdo just to be seen, be thoughtful and selective.

What do you love about Sacramento?

Well besides the trees? I love the food scene! The distance and proximity to mountains, ocean, and walkable/runnable spaces! The confluence of rivers! The local Tribes! The diversity! We were a well-kept secret but the secret is definitely out. We are evolving and I like it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?

Do what you said you would do! It’s important to be a person of your word and have a reputation for getting things done. Make yourself a resource to others and allow your work to speak for itself.

What are your social media handles if any?

@sacnahc on Instagram

@SNAHC on Facebook

@Sacramento Native American Health Center on Linkedin