Dec. 16, 2022

How Doni Aldine Turned Her Global Experiences Into A Community

When you “live in between”, are a 3rd Culture kid, you may find your life passion is to help others feel they belong as was the case for Doni Aldine.  Donie, a globally mobile Afro-Latina and first-generation American who,...

When you “live in between”, are a 3rd Culture kid, you may find your life passion is to help others feel they belong as was the case for Doni Aldine.  Donie, a globally mobile Afro-Latina and first-generation American who, by age 19, lived in & identified with seven cultures on five continents, defines what “in-between” and being a “3rd culture kid” is along with sharing her global experiences in this week’s episode. How Doni Aldine Turned Her Global Experiences Into A Community.  Check it out for more.

This week’s guest is…

Doni Aldine, A globally mobile Afro-Latina and first-generation American who, by age 19, lived in & identified with seven cultures on five continents. Ambrosine is passionate about creating community for “in-between” cultural populations. She has presented around the globe as a Keynote, at conferences, universities & in media as a lifestyle expert focused on media, marketing and multiculturalism (to organizations like the U.S. Foreign Service, CBRE and at Universities). With this background, her education and lived experiences, she developed university curricula for global culture identity and founded the Culturs Global Multicultural Lifestyle Network.











Happy Holidays!!!


Doni was true to her word and had me on her show:







Deneen L. Garrett, is the Host of the An Intimate Conversation with Women of Color podcast. She is also the Founder & CEO of Deneen Consults which sponsors the pod, a Dream Lifestyle Coach and a speaker.


Deneen Consults empowers women of color to Live a Dream Lifestyle. 


Work with Deneen:

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Deneen L. Garrett  0:02  
Welcome to another episode of an intimate conversation with women of color. I am your host Deneen L. Garrett. And whether you're tapping in from YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform, we thank you, we so greatly appreciate you coming back, checking out the episodes, and sharing the episodes as well as greatly appreciated. So continue to do so continue to listen or watch, subscribe if you haven't done so and definitely share. The goal is to reach millions of women of color to elevate their voices. And so that's where we would need your help. So I'm excited for today's guests. And she is actually we're gonna celebrate her. She is the last guest for season three 2022. I'm excited to talk to and introduce you all to Doni Aldine. She is a founder. She is a globally mobile, Afro Latina and first generation American who, by age 19, lived in and identified with seven cultures on five continents. Doni, what else do you want the audience to know about you?

Doni Aldine  1:20  
Wow, there Yeah, that's an open question.  There's a lot to know.

Deneen L. Garrett  1:25  
That's just what you want them to know. Not everything there is to know. But just what you want folks to know.

Doni Aldine  1:36  
Thank you so much for having me today. I'm actually super excited to be on and I love being in the kitchen. Drink some of this tea here?

Deneen L. Garrett  1:50  
Coffee, I'm a coffee drinker.

Doni Aldine  1:53  
You know, it's funny you say that now that fall is starting, I actually am going to try to get into tea. So you know. So what else do I want them to know about me? So really, the answer to the question will give you all the additional right. So as founder of CULTURS Lifestyle Network, I'm also editor in chief of CULTURS global multicultural magazine. And that's a direct result of my background. And the research I've done actually taught a class on this for 12 years at Colorado State University. And so my whole purpose and I feel like my life purpose is to help people feel like they belong, especially people who are quote, unquote, in between. And so by in between, what I mean is those who are multicultural, multi ethnic, mixed race, and geographically mobile, geographically mobile people or third culture, kids will probably go over that at some point. Of course, we see a lot See, this used to be really in my world, but now it's so prevalent for everyone, but refugees, immigrants, and migrants, and we can't turn around without a story on any of those populations right now, right? So much is going on in the world. And it's interesting to watch because having grown up on five continents, that was just part of my every day. And so these people who are in between their in between culture in some way they have a foot in two or more cultural worlds. That's what we focus on at CULTURS. And again, that's what I feel like is my life purpose. So that fits right back into your original question. Um, so what does that mean identifying with Southern culture, so I am Trinidadian Costa Rican. So I'm Afro Latina. And I was born in New York City, and at age two weeks, moved to Trinidad and Tobago, and then that was my first accent, and then moved to Spain at it four so from there, moved to five different continents. We lived in Asia did not live in Africa or Australia, but Asia, Europe, South America, Central America, I count Central America has continent since I'm from there.

Deneen L. Garrett  4:17  
By the way, happy Hispanic heritage, Afro Latina month, how about Thank you?

Doni Aldine  4:23  
Yes. You know, it's really a big deal. It's something for me my life I feel it's living in those margins, right. And that's why I want to create enhance community and create human connection or foster human connection for people in those in between spaces. Because you're always in that shade of gray. You'll notice for CULTURS, our colors are black, white, and shades of grey, because that's where we live, right? It's not all black and white. And especially being in the US. I'm a US citizen, as well as that of the two other countries that I come from. Um, it's The way that being multicultural is viewed usually is about race, right? Whereas for me, it's about culture. And you can just look at me and tell the yes, I'm black. And I'm Latina. So what does that mean? And how do I fit in these boxes that we've created, in addition to growing up, you know, in Europe and Asia and North America, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and those values that you learn when you're young, and how they shape how you think as you get older. It's so funny, I just got a call from a VP of Diversity and Inclusion at a university yesterday to do some consulting. And this person happens to be not only from the Caribbean, but from Trinidad and Tobago, first of all, let me tell you, that never happens. Never happens. And we had a brief chat just about what they are dealing with with their team. Okay. And I fully understood, fully understood, which is something I cherish because you don't get understood in spaces all the time, right? She doesn't get to speak with someone who has university experience, research experience, DEI experts, and global experience that mirrors hers that would understand when she says a sentence, there's meaning underneath there, that I am able to pick up that someone who, let's say is completely African American may not pick up, right. And there's a level of understanding that we hope to ever offer our cultures, that feeling of belonging, that feeling of being heard feeling seen, that often isn't offered in your day to day life. So that was that's the full answer to your question.

Deneen L. Garrett  6:47  
And you know what in size, I'm listening to you, I'm thinking about a situation that I was in. So I was part of a book club for the anti racism, I think, is the name of the book. But but that one how to be anti racist? Oh, yes, yes, I wasn't the only person of color on this call. And we're telling you know them, that the people are in a call that, you know, we have the same issues as they do. So all white folks, for the most part, so we have the same issues, but then add on a layer of this, that and the other. And so for you, you're adding on layers on top of my layers. So listen to what you're saying all the different layers that you know, we walk around with, and it absolutely has to be heavy, heavy. So as an afro Latina, having, you know, going through all of these different spaces, again, your focus is more so on culture, and less about the race aspect. But how has your role being an afro Latina? You know, how has it played out in your various experiences? Or, which is the most noticeable experience for you that your Afro Latina, that  played a role?

Doni Aldine  8:00  
Hmm, wow.

I'm just I'm just kind of, you know, based off of the places in Asia, maybe Spain and Asia really stood out, because those are not. I mean, they're, they're not they're white and Asian spaces.

Well, believe it when you put it that way, I'd have to say it's the United States. Well, yeah. Oh, well. That's a surprise, right? No, the United States because, you know, it's interesting. Okay, so I just came off of two years in South America. So my father is the one who's Costa Rican, and actually my father's dark skinned, okay. My mother should have that in and she's of African, indigenous and indigenous descent, and she is not she's probably your skin tone. Um, and she's older now. So as you get older, you get a little darker, but, but around round the same coloring. So it's interesting because people expect him to be the light skinned one, right? The lighter skin lighter shade of brown. And so he passed away unfortunately, of COVID in 2020. He was fighting cancer and had to go to chemo in the hospital every week in New York City. And on a Thursday, contracted COVID and by Easter Sunday, he was gone. So I always as you mentioned, I lived in Spain when I was little and not always. And you know, I decided to learn French at the time because, you know, I was like everybody speaks Spanish. I like this is boring. You know, as an adult, I'm like, What was I thinking? Because I could use Spanish literally every day right? In my current life, I'm sure we'll get to that I use French and German as well, which I ended up going to college in Germany. So I you know, did not learn the Spanish but now I speak it And now I use it pretty much every day even in the US. But so anyway, as he passed away, I always had intended one day to just show up speaking Spanish and shock my dad, and just, you know, he wouldn't have said anything, but he would have been so happy, he would have been so happy. And I just never brought that to completion. So as soon as he passed away, I felt like it was a mission that I had to continue. Right now in the magazine, it's the year of Latin America into part of a tribute to him, which started with George Floyd, and all the things that happened in the US. So anyway, the reason I say that is because I've spent the last two to two years in South America. And I just got off of a five continent World Tour to for our fifth anniversary of the magazine. So that those are fresh experiences. Yeah, Rush experiences. And I have to say, the US is the one where it stands out the most, right? When I am in Colombia in Argentina, I was shocked, you know, I really thought because Argentina is very European and most of the Latin people down the road not. Oh, you know, people often don't know the difference between Hispanic and Latin. Right? Latin. or Hispanic, it's usually usually more about language, right? So people from Spain would be Hispanic, but Latin is more about location or geography. So anything south of the United States, that's Latin America, right? So if you think of it that way, Brazil is not Hispanic, because they don't speak Spanish. But Spain is not Latin, because geographically, it's not in the correct place. But the way people think of it, Buenos Aires, Argentina would be more, more Hispanic, because people look very European. The attitude is very European down there. And I was really shocked not to have issues in Argentina to tell you the truth, right. You know, come on via there's there's spaces where there are whiter Latinos, and whiter are Latinos, and then also darker Latinos on the coast and Cartegna and Cali, things like that, of course, big African populations down in Colombia as well. And, of course, didn't have issues there. Peru, which you know, as you go south, you know, it's, it's like Colorado, where I live now. There's fewer brown people, but still had such lovely, lovely experiences. Then, of course, there's Costa Rica, my homeland, one of my homelands, but it's the US that stands out, this is where it's because of how things have developed in the US, you know, slavery was everywhere, but how we've dealt with it in the US to now. And you see Britain dealing with this a little bit. It's starting things are starting to come home to roost. Right. You know, Megan Markle really threw some things in there for it, though. But yeah, it's definitely the United States and how we approach culture versus color versus and multiculturalism. What that means. This is definitely the place where I have the most pointed experiences.

Deneen L. Garrett  13:21  
Yeah. And so of course, it didn't surprise me, you know, like you said, because when you were talking about the boxes, we definitely put people in a box here. Like you have to choose this. Like you have to be this thing. You know, and so it forces people I remember being, I don't know, in a class with a woman who was from, I'll just say, St. Lucia, she was from an island. And she said, you know, what, there? They were just that, that island, right? Yes, I'm, you know, whatever they are called. You know, I don't think Lucians, but I'll just say this. St. Lucia. Right. That's what they that's how they identify until they came to the US. And they're like, No, you have to check Black, you know, yeah.

Doni Aldine  14:02  
You're like, what

Deneen L. Garrett  14:04  
does that mean? Right. Yeah. And then also, you know, when you were talking about how people don't know the difference between Hispanic and Latino, absolutely, because I was so confused with that for a while I was. So in my I work in diversity and inclusion, and one of my segments was Hispanic and Latino. And then I finally understood, right, I saw something. It may have even been a post a social media post that broke it down, and I'm like, okay, I get it now, because it was just so hard to wrap my mind around. And then it was also somewhat startling because I remember someone who identified as Hispanic and or Latino, a male, and he was upset that they, they again, put people in this box of, well, you're a person of color. And you know, and his thing is, he's not

Doni Aldine  14:55  
from the US, he's really you.

Deneen L. Garrett  14:57  
Well, he lives in the US and so that was a Another, you know, wrench thrown in because it's like you're right. Like Spain they're white. You know? You have Hispanic people who they're white. And so now you got to grapple with that, like, wait a minute, I'm so confused. What do you mean they're white? Because, you know, Hispanic or Latino is not a race. Well, and even

Doni Aldine  15:25  
so, as you mentioned about the woman from St. Lucia, I have some. So my team is very diverse, very diverse. And I have our art director, worked with me in Colorado, and she's now gone back to her hometown in Maro Domingo. And so it was interesting when she first came to Colorado. And people were asking her questions about how does it feel to be a woman of color? And she's like, What are you talking about? Right, and she's Brown. But like, the countries that I grew up in, you're just you. So she was Mexican. She was very proud of being Mexican. But she didn't understand why people were considering her a person of color why she was supposedly minoritized. However, by the time she left, she was radical.

Deneen L. Garrett  16:15  
You know, yes, yeah. Yeah.

Doni Aldine  16:19  
Yes, she got it. And she saw and she had experiences that I can't even identify with, right? Yeah, she's been a place where being Mexican is is not necessarily always a place where you will have good experiences. So she saw why people ask her those questions and why she shouldn't be cognizant of them. But when she's in Mexico, she doesn't have to deal with that. Perfect, we had to talk about it with the magazine. Because we make a point, the visual diversity and the hidden diversity of the articles and all the visuals in the magazine, we we really pay attention to who's being represented in every single issue. And I had to have a chat with her because everybody was like this, this medium brown color. Yeah, yeah, I was like, we get to switch it up. She's like, I'm so sorry, I know better. But where she lives, that's what she sees. And so that's what she was portraying in the art. As we were doing layouts, she doesn't do that anymore. But you know, people don't think about it, and you need to think about it, it has to be top of mind. So we can make a difference.

Deneen L. Garrett  17:23  
Yeah. And that's something that I've dealt with too being in the D&I space. And, and actually having several different segments that I work with, I wanted to make sure that those segments whenever we're doing any type of, you know, ad or whatnot, that the people look like, whatever that segment is, so whatever, you know, kind of communicates that this person is, you know, Hispanic, Latino, let's see that. And LGBTQ plus, you know, let's kind of see that as well. But you know, no ambiguous folks, like I was really a stickler about that, like, we need to change it up, because we want to know, and even with, you know, my peers who may have had, you know, the people with disability, again, you know, there's some, you know, let let us make sure that we're showing and creating that and so that people see themselves. And that's really what it's about making sure that people see themselves. Right. With you, 100%. Yeah. So what is this global multicultural lifestyle network?

Doni Aldine  18:25  
So I see no, I really, I really believe I was born to do this. And it's so funny. I don't know if you believe in this, but I was on social yesterday. And if it weren't for what I do, I probably wouldn't be on social media. But I'm grateful that I have to be because sometimes it just lifts you up, man. Lets you so yesterday for what I believe the messages come as they should, right. And I kept getting these messages saying, Hey, hang in there, don't give up. And so I say that, because going back to our original, your original question, and me talking about creating space, you know, enhancing community and fostering human connection for that in between space. It's a big job, right? I mean, people don't do it all the time, as you say, they always want to make you choose, and to have to speak up about all that all the time, is it can be exhausting, right. And then I have to remember how lucky I am that I have this team and this crew and I get to see the stories of these amazing people all over the world who live in these in between spaces, right? So the global multicultural network is media products and experiences to do just that to enhance community and foster human connection for people in those in between spaces focused on people of color. Okay. And that's important because there are a number of people who are white as you match. You mentioned, this Hispanic person who was like, why don't keep calling me a person of color who are white or even, we had on the cover of one of our magazines, Patty Jenkins, who is the director of Wonder Woman, and I had the pleasure of working with her, and she's white, but she has a multicultural upbringing. And at age six months, moved to Asia and spent most of a lot of her youth in Asia and Southeast Asia, and then also in Germany, and then in Kansas, I think it is. And so here's a white woman who, again, is in that in between space because of how she was raised, so she doesn't think the same as everyone else. However, like I said, we still focus on people of color, because people of color typically get the shorter end of the stick, right? No one focuses on this no one. There's not a place where you can go and expect to see your people who look like you all the time. You know, there's the Ebony's, there's the essences, the Latina magazines. But for CULTURS, we really focus on the in between space, or some of our people are ambiguous, right? If you get mixed race people, but um, so the media would be our podcast, which I should have you on. Our five guests, our magazine, our TV show with XO TV, all of our media or digital publications, or a web publication, which focuses on those in between spaces, and really having that nuance of hidden and visual diversity, right. Then the products, the products, girls the products. So they are curated specifically for again, the same focus, enhancing community, bringing culture to your door. So we have an award winning cultural dinner party kit called cultural celebrations, where we tell you everything you need to make a cultural dinner party. So for instance, our first one was Kenya. And so it has all the recipes, we have videos on how to make the food read quick, short ones, to make sure that you're making them right. Excuse me. invitations, thank you notes, place cards, everything was set up your to your party, and tells you what, what, when and how to do it. Okay, so that's one of the products that you can get when when you're a member of our community. Or you can even purchase those in stores, actually, we have a global bath and body. So every single issue of CULTURS magazine has a destination. And as I mentioned, this is the year of Latin America. Thank you, Daddyy. And so each destination this year is always going to be in Latin America. Starting next year, like we'll go to we have turkey coming up. Always somewhere great and interesting, but always people that you can relate to as well. So each of those destinations week, we create a special scent of bath and body products, all natural, all handcrafted in the Rocky Mountains, to really give you the feel of being in that place. Right. So Mexico City is the next one that's coming up. And we give you the colors, the sights, the sounds in the scent that you feel and slather on your body have these fantastic bath and body products, and the packaging is gorgeous. And next we have, I'll just give you one more example our diverse hidden diversity greeting cards. So greeting cards from the point of view of this population that we're talking about, always featuring people of color. So those are those products that go along with the media. And there's more but basically a whole line of products to celebrate who you are right. And then lastly, it's the experiences. It's the university class that I developed about these in between spaces. It's speaking to corporations around the world. You know, I just I have a talk with the US Foreign Service in Japan. And it was so enlightening and open, opened many eyes for them, because they were raising children who this really would affect but they didn't realize what kind of effect it would have on their children or even Amazon, you know, bringing a different perspective diversity again, a nuanced not a broader definition of diversity, but a more nuanced definition. So yeah, the speaking and then of course, we have global experiences or travel that people that we curate with small groups and people can come with us and learn about different cultures. So that is the lifestyle network. And there's a membership where we can bring that to your door every quarter. So that's what we do.

Deneen L. Garrett  24:49  
That is absolutely awesome. So you know, I'm listening to you and then I'm thinking, so your team, are they all in Colorado or are they all around because I'm just not really getting a lot of diversity? In Colorado, that's just like, you know. Just listening, you're like missing my facial expressions or me like nodding my head with things or whatever. But here and I'm like hearing all this great, colorful stuff. And I'm just like, she's in Coloroda.

Doni Aldine  25:20  
No. So we have a headquarters in Denver in New York. And actually, I just spent three months in Buenos Aires to decide if we're gonna have a headquarters there. I might switch into Sao Paulo, except I don't speak Portuguese. It's a tough decision. But our team is in seventh is we have 100 people in 17 countries. So yeah, we're we don't play when we say globally diverse. Yes, we're, we have all the things. So now it's normal to have Remote Jobs and hybrid jobs. When we did that before, it's like people didn't understand like, I don't get it. Like you want me to work from home, or you want me to, you know, and that's the places where we have headquarters, we have offices, but other than that you work from home, but our team really embraces it. So

Deneen L. Garrett  26:15  
yes, no, I'm loving all of that. I'm trying to think oh, so here's the here's what I'm also wondering. So you lived in Spain. But when you live in Spain, you didn't speak Spanish?

Doni Aldine  26:27  
Well, I was a child. I was I was. So I had my Trinidadian accent at the time. So I know it's funny. It's really funny. I just interviewed the president of this tequila company from Mexico two days ago. And he was laughing because he said, Oh, I made some response to him. He said, Oh, you say that, like a Mexican that like, and I was laughing because often, because of all the places I grew up, I didn't go over all of the names, but you know, all the different places. The way I think is different, right? And the way I sound sometimes is different. So I sound very American, my accent is very American. And now that I've been in the States for so long, right, like the last two years, I wasn't, but before that, when I was married, who decades here, right? I'm a true American. But so it sounds that way. But every once in a while something will slip out, you know, sound a little wonky. It's really, it's really something that is important for us to stay global. And and yeah, so that's, that's why it seemed was all over. I feel like, Um, what else was I gonna say? Oh, sorry, I was looking at one of your questions, and it got me off track. Sorry about that. You're asking about my name. And it totally my my thought process went away. So anyway, but um, but I didn't speak Spanish at the time because I was a child. And so I decided that I don't know I thought French was exotic. I don't know why I picked it. I liked it. I thought it sounded good. I'm glad I did it. But I wish, you know, one of my adult goals is to be a polyglot. And so in my travels, I get to go to France a few times a year for different conferences. And then I'm usually in Switzerland, I haven't been back to Germany, I need to make a point to go there. But I do use German, typically in Switzerland. And so I'm, I'm grateful to have those, but I don't use them very often. So I that's my next thing. After I've gotten you know, perfected my Spanish to a certain level, I'm gonna go back and make sure that I'm using this other languages regularly. So

Deneen L. Garrett  28:45  
So you might appreciate this, but outside of the US my number one audience base is in Germany.

Doni Aldine  28:54  
That's so that we know one of our biggest audience bases is India. That's interesting. So why Germany, do you think well, you

Deneen L. Garrett  29:01  
know, because I have a colleague that that's where she lives. And so she loves it, she shares it with other people. The other one is Slovakia. Same thing. There's a colleague who lives there, and so I know that it stems from them. The third is, what is the third one is a Barbados. I think it might be Barbados and I say that. Oh, that's a Rihanna. Rihanna is she's she's listening from Barbados, but yeah.

Doni Aldine  29:31  
Well, you know, my stepmother is Berabsian my dad's wife, and she actually was part of the ruling family for a long time when Donita and Burnick. Barbados was alive. And actually I think she knows Rihanna, his family. I mean, it's a small island and she was very well connected. So interesting. Well, you know what you're saying, though, really speaks to every time we have a new issue and it has a new destination. That destination ends up being one of our top countries. Yeah. because people, yes, yes, yes. I totally get it. Well, I love that. You know, I lived in Berlin, I lived in Munich. And which, you know, let me tell you what I think German in Munich is like learning English in the Deep South, and then going to college in Berlin, which is like New York City. It took me a week. I was like, I am speaking German.

Deneen L. Garrett  30:24  
Oh, my God. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. That's crazy. So I'm not gonna try anything. So here's, I think the third one is Pakistan. And then the fourth one is a Barbados. Okay. Yeah. So that's, I

Doni Aldine  30:36  
have to make sure that my stepmother is aware of that. You will be very proud, very proug.

Deneen L. Garrett  30:43  
Awesome. So okay, so you you got sidetracked looking at? So it's Aldine? Is that your name?

Doni Aldine  30:49  
So it used to be my last name. Aldine, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Just popped up. And then my thought process went out the window.

Deneen L. Garrett  31:02  
Because I saw it somewhere. And I'm like, okay, but I'm not seeing how this relates to anything. And let me ask her about that. So let's go ahead and jump into some, you know, some action steps. And so, you know, we're talking about black women, we're talking about women of color, you have such a vast experience, right? You've been all over you're global, based on some of the things that were already talked about, you probably answer this based on Black women in the US. But feel free to answer based on Black women elsewhere. And or, you know, women of color in general elsewhere. But what do you say to Black and other women of color who haven't tapped into their power and voice? What three actions will help them to own both? I do identify who you're talking about? Right? Are you talking about women in Costa Rica? Are you talking about women and you know, identify that?

Doni Aldine  31:57  
Okay, three things to tap, tap into your power and voice? You know, the reason I say, Wow, that is such a good question. Because our experiences and our willingness to try something new, not always, but often is based on where we grew up on our environment, okay. The things around us, the people around us the culture that we've learned. And let me give a little bit of context to that. When I say, the culture we've learned, often, we think things and we don't realize it's part of our culture. I'm trying to think of an example. Um, it happens to me all the time, right all the time. And I have to pause and show the person that they think that way, because of where they live that other people don't necessarily think that way. And their minds are always blown. And of course, right now, I can't think of an example. Um, no, I this was this is not a very strong example. But I think it'll hopefully it'll show the point. So the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, right, I was just at the Denver Broncos game. And, you know, at the beginning of game, you say the pleasure of AI stands puts their hands in their hearts, and I was in a particular room. And there were a few people who were foreign nationals, and they didn't do this, right. And that's the same as how I grew up. But you know, I could definitely tell you, the other countries I lived in, they would have felt like it was cultish to stand up and do this. But in the US, it's, it's it's not only encouraged, but expected, right. And to have to think of a place where that would not be the norm. Okay. So that's an example I guess, of culture. Like I said, not my strongest example, but that's the one I'm going to use. So I say this because as soon as you asked me a question, I had three different women come to mind, an African American woman whom a lawyer I met and in Colombia in Medellin. A Latina woman, who was light skinned and very much struggled with her identity, because darker skinned Latinos were saying that she doesn't understand the Latin experience because of how she looked. And the third one is a friend from India who lives in in Prague, in Poland, or excuse me, Czech Republic. And all three of them have a hard time really embracing who they are, because they're so steeped in their cultural norms. They want to break out And we talk about how they can break out. And I'm not one to push, I give I give the thoughts I have, I'm not gonna call it advice, you can take it as advice if you want, but I give my thoughts. You can take it for whatever it is. And then usually over time it seeps in and they go, I get it. I get it now, right. But at the time you give the thought, and they say no, because blah, blah, blah, nah, it's not me. Okay? Okay. But you put the seed in there, right? And over time, that seed starts to germinate. So I would say the top three things really, would be to try to think outside of your box. That sounds a cliche as I say it, but it's really so key, right? Most of us, so a third culture, kid, and what that is, I'm a third culture kids. So if you ask me, am I Yes, I'm Afro Latina, I'm Afro Caribbean, Latino, Latina. I am from the United States as well. But for me, being a third culture kid is how I identify myself in a TCK is someone who has grown up in cultures outside of their parents cultures, because of their parents occupation. And it has to be done during their formative years. So before the age of 18. And the reason that's important is because it changes your entire outlook, your DNA practically is changed, you grow up thinking differently. And that is hard to break, right? And so when someone grows up in a certain culture, TCKs are really formed by their experiences, because they often grew up in multiple cultures, right? So you have to kind of create a quilt of all the different cultures that you've grown up with, to form the thoughts that you have. Whereas most people, we call them mono culturals. Often people say it as if it's a bad thing. But it's just a different thing, right or different, right? So monocultural is tend to grow up with people who think very similarly to how they think. Right. So if you think of the United States, of course, we think of baseball mom and apple pie, we think of the Pledge of Allegiance. And we can have different cultural aspects, like someone who grows up in Maine versus California versus Louisiana, they have different culture around them. But the foundation that they grew up with is very solidly the same, right? When someone is growing up in different cultures, that foundation is more like beach sand, and you're constantly trying to get your footing and decide your, who you are and how you fit in this picture, right. So the first thing would be to think outside of that box, because often the things you think are not the box are still the box. The second thing would be to invite feedback, right? I invite feedback all the time. And I've learned how to graciously graciously accept it, examine it, and then decide if it will work for me. So. So that goes back to number one, when I give a thought, you might listen, you don't have to, you don't have to do anything with that. But if you listen, then over time, one day, ah, that's what she meant. I get it. If you don't listen at all, if you completely block off that opportunity, a nugget that you needed that may help in your development and your wisdom might be lost. And if you don't need the nugget, you could throw it away. Right? It doesn't hurt to to be open to listening. And that's the third thing I'd say is to be open. Again, this sounds very generic. But this is the key, I think, to hidden diversity. We're so based especially in the US, but I'd say the entire world on a visual diversity. We make snap judgments on who we think that person is, how they're thinking, what they should be like, by how they look, which has a place I think that's important visual, the diversity is very important. As you mentioned earlier, we want people who look like us, right? It's the it's it's nice to have someone who looks like you that can relate to certain things, right? Like having curly hair, someone straight hair cannot relate to the same. At the same time, when you're constantly open. I'll give you an example. I worked with this gentleman from Ethiopia. And he's darker skin than I am and we're talking at a diversity conference. And he was saying something and I said, Oh, well tell me tell me your cultural background. And he looked at me like I had three horns like Can't you see I'm Black. And I read the room and I said, I said, you know, I don't make assumptions about people based on how they look. So I need you to tell me what your background is. When I said it that way he completely understood especially because he was from a different culture, right. And he was used to people, assuming he was African American until he opened his mouth. And that was a difference between he and I, he had an accent, I don't. So the misconception continues, even after I start talking. But when you give people the opportunity to open up and you ask the questions, and you stay open, then there's a whole wealth of possibility for them and for a you. So those are the things I say, go ahead.

Deneen L. Garrett  40:39  
No, no, no, absolutely. I was gonna say I was having this conversation with a woman. And actually, I think she's, she's the second episode in this final series. And she's from India, but grew up in the UK, and then moved to the US. And of course, those boxes right now she's, you know, really put into those boxes. But she was saying how she appreciates learning about people. So when someone asked her, where are you from? She's excited to tell you, whereas in the US, folks who are Third Culture, kids, or you know, they're from somewhere else, it's offensive, you know, for someone to ask them, Well, where are you from?

Doni Aldine  41:23  
Cuz cuz often the assumption is, oh, well, you're not from here. You know, it's interesting. How I asked that question, because for a TCK that can be very traumatic. And here's why. I still sometimes you know, I do this work. And sometimes, my friends see it, you'll catch me off guard. I mean, I'm in my fifth decade, somebody will say, where are you from? And then, you know, silence deer in the headlights? Like, what's what answered today? Right? Because as a TCK, often you learn that people don't want to hear the real answer. So what's the most palatable answer that you can provide? Right? that that person will not only understand, but accept. So often, you see the answers changing? When I was younger, I used to always say the last place I lived, right. So when I went to college in Colorado, I would say I was from Colorado Springs, because I went to high school in Colorado Springs for a couple of years. And by the time I and so New York was our home base, I still have a home in New York, New York is where we went back. That's where our family was, every time we went somewhere else. We went back to New York. Okay. So after a while, when I was no longer from the other city, I can't keep saying I'm from that other city. So I would just say I'm from New York, which I still do, right. And so once I started doing this work, I said to myself, I'm shocked. nobody questioned me, like as a fresh a first year in college. I said, I'm from Colorado Springs, but some of the senior people say, where are you from? I'm from Brooklyn. And nobody said anything. But that was the easiest way to give an answer that nobody balked about. Now. So the what I usually ask people is how did you grow up? Okay, okay, how did you grow up? And then they go, because I also am inviting their story, I want to hear that story. And then they go into it. And I know, okay, there's nuance to this person. Because as you mentioned earlier, the layers there we are, in this research, I call it dimensions, right? There's so many dimensions and and there's nuance to each of those dimensions. So as they tell me their stories, I'm like I and often I end up telling them some things about themselves in their minds get blown. But every once in a while, people don't like it. Because often some TCK is like the specialness of it. And to find out that there's other people like them, or that you might know more about them than they realize that takes some of the specialness away. And they didn't they don't appreciate you very much. They're like, go away from from my presence right now, please.

Deneen L. Garrett  44:00  
Yeah, it's uh, so going back to the three women that came to mind. So the African American woman is in Medellin. And then the Latina where she

Doni Aldine  44:11  
say that again.

Deneen L. Garrett  44:12  
So you mentioned you know, the three women that came to mind for you. And you said the African American woman even Medellin? Where is the light skinned Latina?

Doni Aldine  44:22  
She actually was one of my students in college. Well, she wasn't my student. She sought me out in at the university. But in the US, one of the professors there, yes.

Deneen L. Garrett  44:34  
All right, and then a woman from India in Prague, so like other so the woman the Latina, was she born in the US or was she born outside? Okay. Okay, so she's, so I won't really, you know, look at her, but like the other two women, they're in totally different places from where they grew up, if you will, I'm assuming right, the African American woman is from the US and here she is, in Colombia?

Doni Aldine  45:02  
Yes, she was, you know, the one from India actually, now that you said that I, we never talked about how she grew up. So I can't say that she may have. He was I know she didn't grow up in Prague. So we can definitely say that.

Deneen L. Garrett  45:16  
So there's definitely, you know, in totally different places. So for them to figure out their box. Have you helped them to figure out their box? Like what is their box, you know, you so the

Doni Aldine  45:28  
toughest one to help, I was able to help the the woman from India, the one the African American woman, it was a little tougher. That was one of those where I just, I stopped talking. I saw it wasn't going very far But we all I started to stop talking about that we had a great conversation. But I had mentioned so she brought up dating in Colombia, and how it was difficult for Black woman today. And she and she said this about and she gave examples of all these other women and saying that they're beautiful and intelligent, and all this and they're having a hard time equipped. And I was like, I could not relate. Relate, right. And so we talked about what that looked like. And I was trying to present that she may be coming from an American perspective. And that's why this was happening. And she wasn't very open to that. And so your point is well taken, though, because that is it makes more sense because her box is so much more expanded. If you can imagine probably than anyone in her community, right in her community back home. She's probably making assumptions, probably taking a step that most people around her either thought were strange or weren't used to or Wow, that's amazing. And so now her box is bigger. It's still a box. Right? So how do we at least keep our boxes open and open to the possibility that how we see things and oh, how we see a situation happening may not be how it's happening.

Deneen L. Garrett  47:07  
Yeah, absolutely. No, that's yeah. So all right, well, good stuff on that. So I do want to pivot a bit. So I honor my late sister, author and poet Soltrue by asking about dreams differ, which is the title of one of her books, please share a dream deferred moment. Oh, wow.

Doni Aldine  47:30  
Okay, we just so I mean, I think I already shared when it was it was the Spanish with my. Yeah, I'm also I would say the probably the same things. polyglotness. Being a polyglot. Right, though I I was it's so funny. I was thinking about this yesterday. I was like, Okay, so the three languages count as being a polyglot. Like, one is, you know, you're mono lingual two, you're bilingual. Three. Is that a polyglot? Or do you have to have four you multilingual when you have three? So yesterday, I was thinking about this. But honestly, I mean, I'm living my dream. I really when I say I believe I was born for this purpose, I really do. I actually was working on my PhD when this whole idea came to me because it wasn't working as I expected it to. And I don't think it was supposed to work as I had, again, speaking of thinking outside the box, as I had envisioned, so sometimes the plan for us unfolds, and we thought it was supposed to be one way. And it's a completely different way. Right? So when I looked up, it was like, wow, my whole life, this windy road is being born in New York. And before I could even talk, walk any of the things do anything, really. I'm in Trinidad. And then I'm in Spain, and then I'm back in the US. And then I'm in Turkey and Germany and England. You know, it really developed how I developed as a person and how I see others. And when I look at my career, starting in microbiology, changing senior year to journalism, going into PR, ended up in marketing. My whole career has been media, marketing, and multiculturalism. Right. And then all of that converging, also having a business which is where our products come from, because I was the CEO of a gift company that had products in I think it was 28 countries around the world. So stores like Hallmark and the MoMA Getty Museum. The Met Museum in Sydney and in New York City. And all of the ages seemed like this windy road for a career but it all came together so beautifully to create this and create it very easily. So, yes, I feel like I'm living my dream. And the deferedness, is the languages but even though I had them then I think really embracing being a polyglot like I always wanted to, it's something that was deferred, and then I'm taking care of now.

Deneen L. Garrett  50:24  
What awesome, that is so awesome. And you kind of already jumped in answer the last question. But I'll even you know, I'll just even ask it again, just in case there's anything different that you want to add to it. But this year has been a year of living a dream lifestyle for me. And different people define it differently. For me, a major component is travel. And when I say travel, it doesn't necessarily mean going to exotic locations. It just means if I want to go to the Met, I just pop on a plane and fly to New York, go to The Met, and come back. What does it mean for you? And you know, again, you did share that you are pretty much living your dream lifestyle. But other than the things that you've already mentioned, how are you living a dream lifestyle?

Doni Aldine  51:05  
So I agree with you, 100%. It's about those experiences. So I actually made my list for next year. Okay. Next year, we really want to focus on sports, so sports and fashion. So New York Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Wimbledon, Tour de France, FIFA World Cup, all those things. So those are the Yeah, the I remember, the list used to be like Sundance and SXSW and the Cannes Film Festival, and and every year, I think of what has not have I not experienced yet that I can and those would be my dream lifestyle items.

Deneen L. Garrett  51:47  
I love that. And you know what? So one place that I keep talking about that I want to go to is Martha's Vineyard. And when you mentioned the the film festivals, because I know they had they actually have a black film festival. No, like, I don't

Doni Aldine  52:01  
know another person who puts that on.

Deneen L. Garrett  52:04  
Oh, you know what, I'm up here like, yeah, I definitely need to connect with her. When we're done with this, we need to stay connected, obvious places she mentioned I want to go. I love to travel. And I love experiences, right events, I love to attend those different things. So we definitely have to stay connected. But before we wrap, what would you like to leave the audience with?

Doni Aldine  52:25  
First of all, I'd like to thank you for this time, I really appreciate it. It was such a pleasure speaking with you. Definitely this is enjoyable. And what would I like to leave the audience to stay open, you know, to be loved and spread that love around the world. And that and part of that is, is having empathy and understanding for others. And really, I believe that's the key to make a difference in not only our own lives, but the lives of others. And being someone who we didn't talk about this, but not only Well, we talked about a little bit not only is in between, but in between in so many levels, right? It's difficult you you have a broad a breadth of understanding of other people, but not very many people have that same breadth of understanding for you, right. And so it makes me even more empathetic, to try to remember to stay grounded, stay open, listen to other people and where they're coming from and what that experience may be, so that you can enhance their lives which enhances yours.

Deneen L. Garrett  53:24  
Absolutely. Absolutely. You know what, it's been a pleasure talking to you as well. I've really enjoyed it and hearing all these different things. And my mind is expanding, has expanded just by listening to you. And like I said, I definitely want to stay connected and happen, you know, just fold myself up in your luggage. Jennifer Witter, because she is who connected us so shout out for I love her. She has been such a supporter of the podcast, coming with these wonderful gifts. As a matter of fact, the woman that I mentioned, from India who lived in the UK and is now in the US, that's another connection that Jennifer made. So I just love her and appreciate her you know, and again, I do appreciate you and I thank you so much, and Doni Aldine for coming on the show today. And again, for those who are watching on YouTube or listening on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you continue to do so. Subscribe if you haven't already done so share so that we can elevate the voices of women of color all over. We thank you and until next time, bye.

Doni Aldine  54:33  
Oh before I forget, I definitely you have an invite to my podcast Destinations with Doni I cannot wait to have you on. I can't wait.

Deneen L. Garrett  54:45  
Alright, bye everybody. Bye

Transcribed by

DONI ALDINEProfile Photo



A globally mobile Afro-Latina and first-generation American who, by age 19, lived in & identified with seven cultures on five continents. Ambrosine is passionate about creating community for “in-between” cultural populations. She has presented around the globe as a Keynote, at conferences, universities & in media as a lifestyle expert focused on media, marketing and multiculturalism (to organizations like the U.S. Foreign Service, CBRE and at Universities). With this background, her education and lived experiences, she developed university curricula for global culture identity and founded the Culturs Global Multicultural Lifestyle Network.