Tall, dark and Ghanaian-gorgeous, Bozoma Saint John looked like no one else growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She credits that otherness with making her courageous at work, and everywhere else. Boz told her story onstage at Together Live, Seattle, and her point—Never Hide—applies to every blessed one of us.

“I’m very tall. And I wear extra big heels so everyone has to look up at me all the time. I also wear my hair very high–that way you have to notice me when I walk in the room. This is part of my tactic, since I was probably 11, 12, 13.

I literally cannot hide. I cannot walk in to any space without people being like: What’s going on over there? So I just started to embrace it, because there was literally no other choice. If people were going to look at me anyway, then I might as well put on a show.

I was 5’10” by the time I was 12. I didn’t look like anyone else in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’m actually really appreciative of that experience as a kid because it taught me to own all of it. I never hide now. I don’t walk into my office hiding. If there’s an idea I have, I say it. Because I have learned over time that there’s no being somebody else anyway. No one else has the ideas I have. No one else is me. There is no trying to just go along, because people look at me as different anyway, so I need to bring something different to the table. I lean into that.“

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