By Sara Caycho
I am excited to share with you my story as an intern at Dare to Overcome 2022 in Washington DC, and how this conference changed the way I see life now, pushed me to work for my dreams, and help me start my own company.
I arrived at the conference wondering what my real purpose was and how I could work in this field, and if this was only a dream or a reality.
I am a first-generation immigrant. When I went to college, I was constantly bullied and turned down because of my strong accent. It did not matter how much work I put into my classes, how great my research papers were, or that my poetry was published in other countries, or how great my guests on the television production classes were. Everybody always focused on my accent no matter what I did. I had to decide that my accent represented my beliefs, religion and my culture. This is who I am and I did not want to give up my identity.
Because of this rejection, I lowered my standards and expectations to places and jobs that did not challenge me. Believe it or not, days before the conference I was going to give up on my dreams and, even the conference itself, because as some think: “My dreams are too big and the people around me do not understand it.” What would a person like me would do in Washington D.C. and in a Dare to Overcome Conference for the Fortune 500?
How did I did end up at the Conference? Let’s say it was “Divine Intervention”
I was preparing some material for a workshop about Religious Freedom and the laws.
I saw the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index from the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. I thought it was not for me. Days before the conference a friend who I had not see for two years wanted to meet with me to give me something and ask then to ask something. Later that day, my friend handed me a copy of the REDI Index that she got while she was interning for a Congresswoman in Washington. I saw the internship and I applied thinking I was not going to make it because it was right at the deadline, but I got accepted.
I remember the first meeting of the interns and Dare to Overcome Global Chairman Brian Grim saying: “I dare you to overcome, and be the best of the best. I know you can, because you are here!” We looked at each other and made these words our commitment to the conference. We took the challenge.
The conference was amazing because of the open-hearted people that were part of it.
The sponsors, the attendees, the interns, the organizers, all were amazing teachers in one way or another showing me the way to greatness and that it was possible for me too. I remember some of them telling me to break out of my shell during the first hours. Others helping me to feel comfortable, others cheering me up when I was tired. There was a moment touched my heart deeply: The interfaith prayer and when we could hear and respect the prayers of others in the conference. It was very beautiful.
As I was accepted as I am with my religious beliefs, my accent and me — I could be me. My talents could shine my light on others as they shone theirs on me. It was an enriching indescribable experience. And what I thought was my weakness became my strength.
With this new mindset, as I returned to Florida, I created Speaker with Accent, a corporation that provides a variety of services, but the main is Public Speaking services for individuals and organizations promoting inclusion in all aspects.
What is my conclusion?
If you had the privilege to attend Dare to Overcome, maybe we have the same conclusion. (If you did not attend, you should attend next year.)
My conclusion is that I was empowered and renewed by the conference, by the amazing sponsors, and by the attendees. When you are able to bring your whole self to a place, expect greatness!