When Natalia Oberti Noguera walks into Bustle's studio to record Latina to Latina, she announces, "I can only be a part of this if you have someone who is black," according to host Alicia Menendez. It's a theme she raises all the time. "You gave the most Natalia entrance that I could have possibly imagined," Menendez replies, laughing. "I've seen you on panels, being like, 'Yo, everyone you just had was white on this panel.' And it's such a part of your ethos."
It's not just Oberti Noguera's ethos, it's also her business model. In 2011, she founded Pipeline Angels, a network that allows women and femmes to invest in the ventures of their community. "Women and femmes tend to be over-mentored, and under-sponsored," Oberti Noguera says, describing her business model.
Oberti Noguera pops up frequently on power lists of influential women in tech, but it took time for her to carve out her own identity. "Growing up in Latin America, I didn't really have that many role models," she says. She explains that she didn't get what she calls the "queer memo" until after college. "I didn't have that language. And as Mary Wright Edelman says, you can't be what you can't see."
Throughout the interview, Oberti Noguera encourages listeners to think about how language matters. "I personally prefer saying you know, for example, women, non-binary people, men of color," she tells Menendez. "If you want to be inclusive, be explicit." Oberti Noguera notes that inclusive language can actually be shorter and more direct. For example, she argues that using "children" in lieu of "daughters and sons,” and "parents" in the place of "mothers and fathers,” creates space for non-binary individuals and is more linguistically efficient. In the context of the #MeToo movement, the #TimesUp initiative, and conversations around mutual consent, Oberti Noguera re-examines the business language of "not taking no for an answer" and instead focusing on who "will get you to the right yes."
Oberti Noguera and Menendez talk about the nitty-gritty of how Oberti Noguera is opening up the venture capital space and how we should all aim to have the professional confidence of a straight white man.
Latina to Latina is a new Bustle podcast where Alicia Menendez talks to remarkable Latinas about making it, faking it, and everything in between. Starting April 10, every Tuesday there will be a new episode of Latina to Latina that will center on the challenges of existing, and then thriving, as women of color.
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You can read the full transcript of the episode here.