Women Leadership Codie Sanchez – Helping the World Rewrite Stories

Codie Sanchez – Helping the World Rewrite Stories

Codie Sanchez is a force of nature. She has an indomable spirit, enormous ambition and an unlimited supply of drive. She dreams big and makes those dreams happen. And she enjoys her life. If you have signed up for her Monday Slay newsletter you are proud to be one of her favorite “animals”, “humans” or “homo-sapiens”. She motivates and lights you up from the inside out with her provocative and wise advice. Just take a look at her #1 reason you aren’t getting what you want blog post and you’ll come out on the other side ready to take over the world. This is another look at what makes Codie an icon.

NENANI: What makes you the most proud in the work you do?

Codie: Want to know a secret? Sometimes, even to this day, I get nervous that no one will show up to my speeches. I think still, who am I to speak to hundreds? Who am I to give insight, when I still have so much to learn? Then I take a deep breath, and tell that voice in my head I didn’t ask his opinion. I’m proud of continually overcoming my personal fears and walking the talk. I hire almost exclusively women, minorities, diverse humans, immigrants and conscious humans who are looking to make an impact. I don’t go out and only speak about how to build businesses and lives that matter, I actually do that in my business.

In a time when there are so few barriers to entry for being an “expert” I’m very proud of only discussing strategies that I have used to build businesses, that I have worked through quantitatively and that I have discussed with those that have created things greater than I. These are not ideal thoughts, they are proven strategies.

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez

NENANI: How did you prepare for your current role, both in education and prior experience?

Codie: I got lost to get found. I’ve always believed in following your adventure and if it feels good, (within ethical boundaries) doing more of it. I keep it simple. We overcomplicate things in life. I’ve never been particularly good at or interested in, coloring inside the lines or following the path most traveled. My motto is two fold: what would happen if I always asked for what I wanted, and how would I go about getting it if I assumed it was easy? That has led me to do things earlier that most wait for retirement to do. The key has been doing them while pursuing a lucrative career that stretches me, because if you think like me, travel is amazing but hostels are not. With the technology and freedoms available to us, it is an incredible time to be alive.

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez

We can talk about education, I went to ASU undergrad, Georgetown grad school and did programs for a PhD in Brazil through FGV but here’s the thing; the best education I have ever been given is from the adventures I’ve taken and the jobs I’ve stretched into. From Vanguard, to Goldman Sachs, to State Street to my current role, I’ve worked at some of the largest investment firms in the world and each time I’ve tried to take a role that pushed me outside of those lines just a bit further.

NENANI: What is your passion? Can you describe how this came about and how you live this passion?

Codie: I remember the moment it all crystallized for me… before any money, success, travel or titles.. I was a journalist. I graduated early and spent a year traveling in Mexico, writing about the brutal mutilation of women in Juarez, to narcos in Tijuana to rape centers in Agua Prieta. It was heavy stuff to see and touch and feel as a 20 year old. But the truth is I loved it. I pictured myself on CNN as a war correspondent, bullets whizzing and me fighting the good fight and telling the story of the underdog. And then the last story I wrote changed my life. It was a story about lost humans, about abandonment and fading away into nothingness. What happens it that when millions of people cross the border illegally families get separated.

Some go onward to the American dream, but many are left behind. They were often elderly. So these old folks homes pop up all along the border and they are no YMCA. They are overcrowded, derelict and dangerous. We spent weeks at one. We stayed in a center called Rancho Feliz, sleeping on floors and keeping warm by a small gas stove at night. During the day we sat alongside beds, pushed wheel chairs, and listened to increasingly more unbelievable stories. It was heart wrenching. But you know what changed me? It wasn’t the heartbreak, or the brutality of aging. It was one woman. They say you’ll do for the one but not for the many. Carmelita was my one. 90, smiling, bedridden with her teddy bear, Alberto, always in hand. She had lost her entire family decades before and to this day didn’t know if they were alive. She went from coddling her grandchildren and watching her kids grow, to spending days alone and immobile. Yet despite a world completely against her, she did her rosary every day and believed eventually God would reunite them. Such faith.

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez

So we told her story among others. We took their words to the airwaves. Amazingly, just as we did, the nation loved them. We won awards, saw our names published across the country, graduated with honors. Our 15 minutes glittered. We went back to Agua Prieta to give them copies and, little gifts. Carmelita beamed her big huge smile. But then she said something I’ll never forget, “Cariño, (dear) now that America knows about us, they’re going to help right? They’re going reunite us and fix it.” She saw the world so beautifully. I still cringe at my naivety; how did I not see this coming? Even more how could I explain to her that no help was coming, that they would once again fade into the background. It was in that moment that I knew that it wasn’t enough for me to tell the stories. I wanted to re-write them. But how?

Remember, I was a 20 yr old kid. Before my days of being one of the youngest at firms like Goldman Sachs or heading a business in Latin America, or closing my first big dollar deal, I was a public school kid. I was kind of a rebel to be honest, who hated and was horrific at math, from a middle class family, with more disdain for authority than authority myself. So I had to think long and hard about how you make change when you have nothing. I had no power, no platform, no network, no money. What I did have was a journalistic inclination for questioning. I sought out one of my trusted mentors who told me, “Go find where the power is that lets this happen.” I asked, “Where?” He said, “Follow power to its lifeblood, money.” So I fought my way to finance. Here I climbed at some of the most competitive institutions, built businesses, studied at Georgetown, made money, gained titles, and like the investigative journalist I was, documented every step of my climb. I’ve interviewed hundreds of execs, psychologists, leaders, athletes and change makers, seeking out humans who excelled at the highest pinnacles to learn their ways. Then I built up until the moment I actually had some authority of my own to throw around.

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez

Why did I do all this? Because my why is to bring more humans like you, who want to make an impact, into the epi-centers of power, and money.

I have a core belief. I believe if we have more diverse and conscious humans in positions of power we can, in fact, change the world. We can re-write the stories instead of only reacting to them.

NENANI: What powerful advice would you give to other Latina professionals, whether coming from other countries or already in the US, to grow in their career and life?

Codie: Life is funny. You go to high-school, take your core classes, learn about biology, while you work your part time job at the mall, and then head to college (if you are lucky). What do you do in your first year of college? You pick your major. We, in our infinite experience of ice cream scooping and after school sports, now choose what to focus our lives in. Then most of us follow the path prescribed by our guidance counselors, and grasp upon our first job. You have some success; you actually get paid! You start getting promoted, and before you know it we get rings on our fingers, mortgages under our names, and little mini humans following us around. In your schooling and in your life, where was the self-reflection class? How many parents say, “Tommy you want to be an artist, yay! Go be Picasso Jr!” Typically, they say instead, “why don’t you practice the “art” of business?” So we let others become the architects of our lives. Akin to letting someone else build your house blindly, you wake up one day and realize that you’re living in another’s home. It doesn’t quite fit, does it?

The extraordinary thing is that there is a correlation between passion, your unique skill, and living a successful life. You just need to take a minute and enroll yourself in the class of self-reflection. It starts with asking the question… what do you want? And then, What are you willing to do to get it?

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez


NENANI: Anything else you would like to share with us?

Codie: You only get one shot at this life, no one wakes up on their death bed and says, thank god I played it safe.

Image courtesy of Codie Sanchez

Thank you Codie for sharing your inspiring story with us and encouraging us to go for what we want!

Do you want to learn more about Codie? Follow her on Instagram @codiesanchez IG, Twitter @codie_sanchez Twitter and on her website 


Latina Leadership Collective
Boca Raton, Florida