Being authentic and true to yourself in your professional life can be very powerful, according to Larissa Holmes, vice president of talent at Borrowell.

Speaking at the latest TechToronto, Holmes shared her personal story of how she discovered the importance of being honest and authentic in her professional life. Holmes said that when she began her career at a pharmaceutical company in New York, her sister advised her to build relationships and trust with senior leaders “in order to get opportunities and get visibility within the organization.”

“I didn’t realize the power of being authentic and being true to who you were in terms of building your brand within an organization.”

“As soon as she talked to me about relationships and trust, I was nervous,” said Holmes. “I really just wanted to fade away…I felt really strongly at that time in my life that I wanted to have a work Larissa and a real Larissa and the two were really separate for me.”

Holmes explained that while building relationships and being authentic was initially challenging for her, she eventually shifted her mindset and realized that having different perspectives and being honest could help her develop her personal brand.

“I didn’t realize the power of being authentic and being true to who you were in terms of building your brand within an organization,” said Holmes. “I didn’t realize that being vulnerable and being honest was a big part of who you are as a person and getting people to trust you and help you build teams. It took a lot for me to make this shift and it took a lot for me to stop seeing my difference and my background as the negative and to start seeing at as the positive.”

Holmes wrapped up her presentation by encouraging the tech community to think about relationships, authenticity, and growth within a company in different ways.

“In closing, I would say that in tech, we talk a lot about growing and scaling our businesses from a revenue and customer perspective, so why don’t we shift that thinking into also thinking about how we grow and scale our teams in intentional and meaningful ways?” said Holmes.

Watch the full talk below:

The next TechTO takes place on July 9. Get your tickets here!

StartUp HERE Toronto is a publishing partner of Betakit and this article was originally published on their site.