Betty Francisco, General Counsel at Compass Working Capital

Get Konnected!’s “Get to Know” series explores the mentors that attend its bi-monthly networking events and make them possible. Learn more about what these Boston-area working professionals like to do in their free time, their career paths, and what mentoring means to them.

GK100 Mentor Betty Francisco originally moved to Boston for law school with the intention of becoming an immigration lawyer. However, while she was studying for her MBA concurrently, a mentor suggested the idea of achieving her goals of social change through an economic model. The New York native ultimately stayed in Boston after finishing her degrees and has worked within the community for over 20 years.

On working at Compass Working Capital. For us at Compass, the work we’re doing is empowering families to build assets, become financially secure, and reach their dreams. If I can be a part of that — even though I’m not doing the direct client work day in and day out — supporting the organization in my capacity as general counsel and talent support, I feel like I can make a big contribution toward the work we’re doing.

On getting involved with Get Konnected! When I think over the years I’ve known of Colette, it was her first GK100 event where I really experienced the power of the work that she’s doing in terms of bringing together multicultural professionals, but also now celebrating and creating visibility for those professionals of color in Boston.

On the importance mentoring has in her life. Mentors help keep you accountable. They help guide you. They help support you. They may prod you when you need it. They help push you and stretch you to go places you may think you’re not able to go. So, it’s important to have mentors throughout your life and mentors in different capacities.

On expanding the definition of mentoring. We have to broaden that definition of mentors to also include sponsors and champions. So, not just people that support you that you can go to with questions or that you can look for advice from, but also people that are going to use their influence to help you get access to opportunities or be put into positions that help you grow.

On her current mentoring relationships. I have mentored many women and I actually view those relationships as mutual. Even though I’m their mentor, they’re mentoring me at the same time. I learn so much from them and I view those relationships as mentoring relationships that are two-sided.

On having different mentors. It’s important to have different types of mentors at points in your career so sometimes mentors are going to help you just get better at your work, give you feedback, give you guidance in terms of how you might build up your skills. At other points in time they offer ways to build your network, to create those social networks that we really need to keep advancing in our careers.

On the piece of advice that still applies to her career today. It’s to be open to opportunity in the sense that don’t be hard and fast on where you think your path is going to go. You don’t have to plan everything in advance, but rather enjoy the journey just as much as the end goal.

On how Get Konnected! offers a platform for networking and mentorship. For mentorship, it starts with the networking, which provides this entry into relationship building. Networking is a way to start to build relationships with people that you want to get to know better, that you might admire, that you think you can learn from. Get Konnected! offers those spaces to do that, and also has topics sometimes that help advance the conversation and gets the right people in the room.

From the mentor side, I think that’s something that the network itself begins to foster on its own organically. Once you build relationships through the GK events, people feel a sense of accountability as far as they know they have to lift as they’re climbing and they want to help others. I think one of the things Colette has done with Get Konnected! is made it very clear that while this is a way to build relationships, there’s also an imperative for us — as people of color and multicultural professionals — to keep lifting each other and making sure that we’re all supporting each other in that journey.

On her favorite restaurant in Boston. It’s a little hole in the wall restaurant called El Peñol and it’s amazing Colombian food.

On the last good book she read. Sonia Sotomayor’s last book [“My Beloved World”].

On how she unwinds from a day at work. I say hi to my kids, try to watch SpongeBob with them — if that’s what they’re watching — for a little bit, and then I put on my pajamas.

On her favorite thing about working in Boston. Unlike New York, you may never see someone again if you do a deal or you work up something together … whereas in Boston, it’s so small that you will. Inevitably that fosters some sense of community and a way to be much more visible that you don’t have in other places that are bigger, so Boston is great in that way. It has its challenges too, but I think that this definitely, for me, has been a city where I can work, I can play, I can live in, and enjoy the best of what it has to offer.

On what she would tell her younger self. To take more risks, not to be afraid, to push the envelope despite fears of failure, and that failing is okay.

Some responses have been shortened or edited for clarity.

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