How Divergent Thinking Fuels Creativity

By Jennifer Grazel
RBC Capital Markets, LLC
Published November 9, 2021 | 2 min read

In an effort to champion the contributions of Hispanics to the U.S. and share insights on supporting the next generation, we’ve curated a roster of award-winning creatives, innovators and corporate leaders as part of our “LatinX Lift” series. Jennifer Grazel, Head of U.S. Brand and Marketing at RBC Capital Markets, shares her perspectives as a key contributor to the initiative.

Divergent viewpoints powering creativity

It’s been my great delight to launch our LatinX Lift speaker series, a 4-part virtual event convening some of the greatest Hispanic leaders in our country. It is part of our ongoing commitment to champion the contribution of Hispanics to the cultural, social and economic wealth of our nation. Shepherding genuine diversity and inclusion is an imperative for any organization that hopes to thrive over the coming era.

Our most recent session, “Hispanics and Philanthropy: Doing Well for the Next Generation,” was introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose work as an award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor is a testament to how having a divergent viewpoint can power exceptional creativity. Listening to Lin and our fellow speakers discuss their inspiring and personal journeys as Hispanic immigrants led me to reflect on my own story.

Image of Jennifer Grazel
“…What I had initially perceived as a weakness was in fact my superpower. I discovered that coming from a different heritage provided me with a number of significant and unique benefits.”

- Jennifer Grazel, RBC Capital Markets

 

Turning perceived weakness into strength

I first came to the United States from Puerto Rico at a young age. At first, my status as an outsider felt like a weakness. Being put into school while not being able to speak English was incredibly tough. You have to push yourself to achieve every level of academic excellence. But slowly overtime, I began to build my sense of self-worth.

Yet it was only as my subsequent career developed that I began to realize that what I had initially perceived as a weakness was in fact my superpower. I discovered that coming from a different heritage provided me with a number of significant and unique benefits.

 

Fueling self-belief, challenging unconscious bias, and harnessing “otherness”

First, at a very early age I gained an important level of self-belief. Often when I take on audacious projects, my friends and colleagues might say ‘Are you sure you can do this?’ But, it honestly never occurs to me otherwise. Having to prove yourself so early in life elicits a level of self-assuredness and a belief in yourself that you can achieve anything.

Secondly, I’ve learned that being different generates an eagerness to challenge ingrained, and often unconscious, assumptions. My differing views and opinions have proven valuable to me in my career time and time again. As an immigrant, to a certain extent I will always feel a bit like an outsider, but as an outsider I am afforded a unique point of view. It gives me the ability to see things differently – and that has always made a massive difference.

Lastly, my “otherness” has created a constant restlessness within me – a constant ambition and drive for greater.  I noticed a similar restlessness within our LatinX speakers as well. Perhaps this feeling comes from an ingrained sense that we can’t take anything for granted. But, I also can’t help believing that perhaps it’s this drive that is our greatest contribution to the country we are now proud to call home.


Jennifer Grazel

Jennifer Grazel
Managing Director and Head of U.S. Brand and Marketing
RBC Capital Markets, LLC


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