My _____ Story: Angel and Terrance talk resilience in the face of systemic inequity


My _____ Story: Angel and Terrance talk resilience in the face of systemic inequity

My _____ Story: Angel and Terrance talk resilience in the face of systemic inequity

Join hosts James and Myriam on this episode of My _ Story, an NIQ DEI podcast, as they sit down with guests Angel Diaz Ospina and Terrance Bacchus to hear their stories about how their resilience has helped pave the way for others.

Group of people joining hands


Angel Diaz Ospina – Washington, D.C., USA

Sr. Manager, DEI Talent Programs

Angel has been at NIQ for 4.5 years. She enjoys social dancing, hiking, traveling, and DIY projects. She also has an interest in civic engagement volunteer work, immigration advocacy, diversity & inclusion, and mentorship.​

Terrance Bacchus – Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Vice President, New Customer Success ELP

Terrance has been with NielsenIQ for 2 years after 20+ years at General Mills. His interests include giving back to the community, inspiring and coaching young people to seek financial empowerment by being resilient and making smart choices. ​


Terrance’s book Financially Empowered: Achieving Success Through Sacrifice can be found on Amazon ​

Angel recommends listening to the Ted Talk Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth, or reading her book which can be found on Amazon ​


The views and opinions expressed in this podcast belonged to the individuals who shared them and do not necessarily represent Nielsen IQ. Note that this podcast discusses sensitive topics that may be triggering for some.  For more information specific to this episode, see the episode description. 

Laura Batien: Hi everyone and welcome to My Blank Story.  My name is Laura Batien and if this is your first time tuning in, then let me tell you what this podcast is all about.  In a nutshell, it’s about stories, your stories. We think stories are important because when we tell them we open the door and allow others to see the experiences that shaped us that challenged us and helped us grow.  By doing this we can create a culture where open dialogue is encouraged and we can have a space to discuss important topics in a transparent and courageous manner.  In this season we’re filling that blank in My Blank Story with the word resilience so minimize that email tab, mute your chat and take a little break to hear the stories of two of your colleagues.  

Myriam Vidalon: Hello Nielsen IQ and thank you, thank you for tuning into My Resilience story, sponsored by Diversity and Inclusion. My name is Myriam Vildalon and my pronouns are she, her, hers.  I am the Global Lead for diversity talent and culture and one of the cohosts of my Blank Story podcast I am joined by James Anderson who is my partner in crime. James… 

James Anderson: Thank you Myriam. My name is James Anderson, and my title is Analyst. I work here out of the Toronto office and my pronouns are he, him and his. I am so excited to be part of this podcast that creates a safe space for our associates to tell their stories. Myriam, let me ask you before we actually get started with this. What does resilience mean to you? 

Myriam Vidalon: Yeah, I’m glad you asked me. What we’re living right now, we just came out of a pandemic that actually hasn’t even ended yet and we had to change how we do so many things, how we work, how we operate, how long we see our kids and our family members in the house. And you know so many things have changed and we were able to bounce back and create new habits and new ways of doing things. And to me the power of resilience is how we adjust for those changes and we make it happen, what about for you, James? 

 James Anderson: I think for me, I actually looked up the word resilience just to kind of see what it sort of meant and the first definition was a pretty obvious one. You know, like, keep on keeping on, you know, making changes to do what you need to do, but the second one looked at it from a scientific perspective. And it was about the ability of a substance to come back or reform. Or reshape and it said this word elasticity and pliability and flexibility and I thought, oh, that’s a huge part of resilience. As far as I’m concerned. You know, seeing where things are at and then leaving yourself open to needing to sort of go with the flow and finding new avenues in order to make that change happen to be resilient to get through something. 

 Myriam Vidalon: Amazing right? 

 James Anderson: We all have to practice that muscle and become resilient in the face of so many changes. I was going to say and you were absolutely right about, you know what we’ve just all been through in the last two years.  We’ve all had to adapt. You know, like I don’t think any one of us would have chosen to go through what we’ve gone through, but you know, we accept and we survive. But now we are excited to introduce our guest Terrance Bacchus.  Terrance comes to us from Cincinnati OH where he is Vice President of client success programs. He’s been with Nielsen IQ for two years, after a 20 plus year career at General Mills, he’s very interested in giving back to the community by inspiring and coaching young people to seek financial empowerment and by being resilient and making smart choices. Terrance, the floor is yours. Let’s hear your story. 

 Terrance Bacchus: No one in my family had ever attended college. My mom understood that a great education would be the first step in providing her kids an opportunity to overcome poverty. I am a firm believer that we must view challenges as obstacles to overcome rather than barriers. For me, that talent started as early as first grade when I realized that there were preconceived notions about me based upon the color of my skin. I was so fortunate that my mom was able to enroll me and my brothers into a busing program that would take inner city students from Boston to various suburban school districts. I remember getting on the school bus as early as 5:30 in the morning, picking up other students and traveling 11 miles on the highway. That two hour commute seems so much more like 3 hours. Now imagine doing this as a 7 or 8 year old in the 1st grade all the way through 12th grade. While challenging, I wouldn’t trade that experience because it helped me to understand that success comes from sacrifice. Getting off from a school bus for the first time with my fellow black students was very intimidating. It was the first time I had ever seen white people in person and there were a lot more of them than us. While some of the students and teachers were very welcoming, it was obvious that some were not as excited to have us in their town, even as first graders. The obvious differences stood out to us. Our skin color was different. We talked different and the way we dress was different. Somehow these differences didn’t bother me as much as they bothered my fellow black students. But what I was not prepared for was how we stood out financially. Really coming from the low end of the poverty spectrum, we didn’t have much money for designer clothes or nice sneakers. In fact, most of us came from single parent homes and lived in apartments. At lunch, all the black kids ate together, mostly because we felt more comfortable with one another. It felt like some students were staring at us and judging us because they had witnessed us receiving lunch vouchers in class right before going to lunch. I remember comments made by teachers that made me feel like I wasn’t as smart as my classmates. These comments motivated me to work twice as hard. There was no way I was going to let my mom down or my friends back in the neighborhood that were on a waiting list to get into the same program that I was fortunate enough to get into. I had to take advantage of the opportunity. As I got closer to graduating high school, I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know how to begin the process, or even if we could afford it, given my family’s financial situation. Since my mom had never attended college and my older brother dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, I couldn’t turn to either of them for help. Fortunately, even as a kid I was smart enough to know you have to be willing to accept help from other people. I reached out to my track coach and my guidance counselor for assistance. With their help I became the 1st in my entire family to go to college, the 1st to get a job in corporate America and the first to write a book about my journey. Looking back, I realized the color of my skin and growing up poor created challenges, but they also are huge motivators for my ability to fulfill my goals. My story is not unique. There are Terrances is all the way from Massachusetts to California. The only difference is I’m willing to share my story as a way to inspire. For the young black people to learn more about my journey, pick up a copy of my book financially empowered, achieving success through sacrifice and remember, no one can accomplish your goals for you. They can only help you see the vision. Envision what is possible and take action. 

 Myriam Vidalon: Wow, Terrance, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’m sure we’re gonna have some questions about your journey, but before we do, let us hear from Angel Diaz Ospina. Angel is our senior diversity and inclusion Manager. She is from Greater Washington DC area and she has been at NielsenIQ for four and a half years. She enjoys social dancing, hiking, traveling and DIY projects. She has interest in civic engagement, volunteer work, immigration advocacy, diversity and inclusion and mentorship. So Angel, you want to tell us your story? 

 Angel Diaz Ospina: Yes, thank you Myriam. All right, so resilience it’s the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and toughness. But for me on this podcast I’d like to take it a step further. 18 years of being undocumented or lacking legal residency status in the United States has further shaped my definition of resilience. To me it’s more than just recovery. It’s learning how to take a hardship, stigma, or even trauma and turning it into your strength. My family brought me to America in 1996 at the age of three years old, after my brother was killed for a pair of Nike sneakers. Six months after our arrival, little did I know that I would now be identified as an illegal alien. For the next 18 years of my life with no choice of my own, I was raised in the shadows, in fear of the world around me, discovering my status or even worse, deportation.  Growing up only got harder, especially when my peers began applying to colleges and financial aid, getting a license or a job. Even flying on planes or simply mapping out their two to five year plan post high school. Meanwhile, I remember feeling like I could not breathe like the world around me was going to figure me out any second and send me back to a country that I didn’t even recognize. The perception of my identity was a negative one. It was one that dehumanized me by calling me illegal, portraying me as a criminal. An abuser of the system, a stigma that followed me around for a large majority of my life until August 2012, after DACA passed. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, for those who don’t know, this passed under Obama administration. I was invited by a lawyer, a pro bono lawyer that I had shared my story in confidence with. He asked me to share my story alongside three other DACA recipients at an immigration rally attended by local leaders in my community. I remember thinking he was crazy. I’m like you were the only person I told, how could you now ask me to share my story publicly? OK. But it was an opportunity to change the narrative to own a piece of the story. He said the plus side was that I was protected by him. And so there I was in front of reporters, my local news station and government officials to share my undocumented story. Only thing was the other two people didn’t show. At that point, there was no turning back and there I was, people depending on me to share one of my biggest secrets for the first time ever, publicly. Sharing my truth that day changed my life. Surprisingly, it was not something I expected. It was the turning point where I realized that my disadvantage, my lifetime disadvantage, was what made me unique. It was what gave me grit. It was what gave me an unmatched hustle and a story unlike my peers. But most importantly, it showed me that I have a responsibility to represent people who walked in my shoes who didn’t have the opportunity nor the protection to share their own story. It showed me that I cannot only be part of the narrative, but I could change it. I became an immigration activist shortly after in Pennsylvania. And shortly after that became a full ride recipient to my local university and I started a scholarship fund at my local Community College for Dreamers who currently today are still receiving it. I realized that I could make a difference. I realized that it was my responsibility and opportunity to make an impact for those who lived in fear. Today, 23 years later, since my arrival in the United States, I am now proud to say that I’m an American citizen and a continuous immigration activist in my local community. 

 James Anderson: Thank you so much. That was amazing. Really digging deep in, telling us your story takes a lot of bravery, so I appreciate both you and Terrance for doing that. And you said something about owning a piece of the story. I love that you said that because it’s this piece of advice that I think people need to hear that even in the hardest times you get to own what you do next. Like that’s on you. And that’s a big part of being resilient. You know, speaking of that, the next question goes to both Angel and Terrance, who in your life taught you how to be this way. Who do you think is your champion in your resiliency? 

 Angel Diaz Ospina: I think for me personally, a lot of this stems from my parents. I think for me, having and seeing my parents and now being an adult and knowing all the sacrifices that took place. And understanding everything that was happening to me beside me and you know again, I didn’t capture, I didn’t get the essence of the sacrifice until now. And I look back and I think my parents are what gave me that grit and that ability to think beyond what I was being told. They gave me the ability to think that OK, my parents aren’t criminals. My parents aren’t doing anything wrong. They’re giving back to this system that doesn’t recognize them, and they’re doing all this good in this world and they’re working so hard. I have to do more. I have to make their sacrifice work. Coming to America, I have to live for my brothers name and I need to, you know, have the ability and the strength to do that for him and for my parents. And I think they were my biggest role models in the process. 

 Terrance Bacchus: Yeah, I would say from me my mom for sure was my role model and she still is to this day. She raised three boys on her own. I, I actually never knew my dad so I always looked at my mom as kind of my mom and my dad. Seeing her work two jobs to support us, seeing her have her living room as her bedroom really showed me the sacrifices she was willing to make. When she would give up something for herself for her three boys.  So for me, I knew education was something that was going to help me overcome some of the challenges that we had. Growing up in inter city and she knew that she needed to get me out of the environment that I was in everyday in order to see my 20th birthday and to be able to go to college. So I would say my mom for sure was my motivator. 

 Myriam Vidalon: That is truly amazing. I honestly feel honored working with people like yourselves. The amount of richness and in stories and experiences is unbelievable, so Terrance, and so I want to ask you a question about your story. You mentioned how you basically sought the help of others. Right? And I know that when folks are or when we are living in difficult moments and difficult times, sometimes it’s hard to see that north star. Or what could it be? How do you use others to help you see what is truly, you know, available to you? 

 Terrance Bacchus: Yeah, it’s kind of an interesting question because I remember back when my I was younger my mom would always say there are no dumb questions and if you don’t ask the only thing they can tell you is no. So for me it’s, I’m always willing to ask for help because people – I think there are generally nice people out there that want to help you. But people can’t help you if they don’t know you need to be helped. So we have to use our voice sometimes and not be too prideful to say – can you help me or I need help? Because if we ask the question, I think there’s going to be someone there that’s going to extend a hand to help you in any way that you need it. 

 James Anderson: And what about you Angel? And to Myriam’s point, resiliency and I have my own story about it, and I know I’ve heard others. But a big part of being resilient is that you can’t do it alone. You always enroll someone to help you get through, like again, that’s, that’s why we say you can’t do it alone. Who did you enroll in order to make it through to where you are today? 

 Angel Diaz Ospina: Yeah, that’s a great question and, and a big reason why and I think Terrance and I can both agree to this…Why sharing our stories is so important. Because that is how you get people to believe that they can do it too, and they feel inspired to continue that process as well, which is what changed my life, right? It was the moment that I became free.I remember working with my lawyer, I started working with a law firm as well. Well, and we started to do activism in Washington DC. We protested all over Pennsylvania, you know, like I used to work with a lot of Spanish CEO leaders to talk about it, because during that time DACA had just opened the doors for people like me to speak up. And so I thought it was just a really good experience to work with people and interact with people who resonated with my story and tell them like you can share it too, you know, and I think that was just a natural part of the process. I remember receiving like emails, I’ve received lots of hate mail. I received a lot of hate mail, but I received a lot of emails from people who were like wow like I’m undocumented too. And the craziest part was that I knew some of them. And here they were, living in silence just like me, right next to me. And now they felt like they could share their story too. So it was very natural part of the process, but it was definitely an inspiring one. 

 Myriam Vidalon: That’s amazing Angel.  And Terrance, as you look back at, at your story and you know many many times you mentioned in the story how you were determined to make a difference and you wanted to work twice as hard and you knew what could be possible and you knew that you, you couldn’t undermine the chance that you were given. Is this a mindset that you built over time or is it a muscle that we can actually exercise? What advice do you have for the rest of us? 

 Terrance  Bacchus: Yeah, I think for me it it’s definitely a mindset. I think I had to have it internally to say I can achieve, I will achieve and you have to have that drive to want to do it. So for me, the resilience comes from knowing that you have to continue to push forward and push forward not only for you, but the people who come after you. With that said, I do think that there’s also something that people could achieve or do if they just are willing to say I need help or I want to strive to achieve a certain goal, but ultimately it has to be something that’s within. And for me, that drive came from visualizing what could be as opposed to what is. If I had the mindset of I grew up in inner city, I’m surrounded by people who have not really made it out of the inner city. I probably would have never made it out of the inner city. Getting that exposure to a different lifestyle, when I went to the suburban schools, that actually opened my eyes up to yes, we may look different from a skin color. But that doesn’t mean I can’t achieve the same success that other families had achieved in that town. So my drive really comes from seeing what can be, visualizing what can be and then setting out a goal to achieve it. 

 James Anderson: Terrance and Angel, thank you so much for all the advice and inspiration that you’ve so graciously given to us. Just being on the podcast and having the courage to tell your story, it helps associates and maybe their families or honestly anyone that just needs to be told to keep on keeping on as it’s just so powerful. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much. 

 Angel Diaz Ospina: You’re never going to know what’s on the other side of the door if you don’t open it. Sharing your story one time to one person, and you may not even know it, might be the changing point in your life. 

 Terrance Bacchus: When I go into meetings, there are not a lot of people who look like me. I’m OK with that because I feel like if I don’t take on that role, there are not going to be other people that look at me and say I can be that next Terrance. And I can go and be resilient, I could be in that meeting because again, if I can just impact one person. I feel like I’ve made a difference. 

 Laura Batien: Hey all, it’s Laura again.  We hope you enjoyed this episode of My Blank Story. Tune in next month to hear more stories from the Nielsen IQ community.