Women’s History Month Spotlight: Ciara Gogan

Ilana Coolidge
Women's History Month Reem (420 x 330 px)

Ciara Gogan, Senior Manager, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at CarGurus and YW Boston Advocacy Committee member, spoke with YW Boston about Women’s History Month, her career, and her experience on the Advocacy Committee. 

What personal or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I have to say I am most proud of the pivot I was able to make from an engineer in technology to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. I worked in tech for over 20 years, and during that time felt pulled to do more, have more of an impact. I became master certified as a coach and started working primarily with women. I quickly realized that there was a need to uplift and support people from a variety of traditionally marginalized groups, so I started to develop some group workshops to address inequity. As an immigrant and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I know what it’s like to be “othered” and I was able to take some of what I had learned in tech (analysis, patience, change management) and some of what I had learned as a coach (active listening, centering the experience of the client) and start my DEIB journey. This work is so needed, and so rewarding. It can also be emotionally exhausting so finding ways to have downtime from it are essential. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Let go of what’s not working! We hear “don’t quit” so often, and I think that does people a disservice. Letting go of something that’s not working or doesn’t serve you is not quitting, it’s wisdom. Absolutely pursue your dreams and your passions if you have them, but don’t keep yourself stuck in an unhappy or toxic situation because of “don’t quit!” Make an exit plan and execute it. That plan might take a long time, depending on your situation, but don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worth your own wellbeing and safety.

What were your reasons for joining YW Boston’s Advocacy Committee and what is your biggest takeaway from your time on the committee so far?

I joined the committee to try to have a greater positive impact. It’s important to me that the work I do matters, and that I can try to make things better for our world. This committee does such great advocacy work, truly making a difference, and I wanted to be a part of that. My biggest takeaway so far (it’s only been a couple of months) is the commitment and energy that the committee leaders and members put into this work. It’s inspiring! 

What are you reading, watching, or listening to right now? Do you have any Women’s History Month book, documentary, or podcast recommendations? 

My reading and watching are my escape (and I understand that being able to “escape” is a privilege). I am a sucker for British dramas (mostly crime) so I am a huge fan of shows like Vera, Shetland, Line of Duty, and pretty much anything with Nicola Walker and/or Sarah Lancashire in it. 

One of my book recommendations for Women’s History Month is not historical but was game-changing for me in terms of how I approach my DEIB work, and life, and that is The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh. It’s essentially a book about how when we see ourselves as “good” people, we can stop ourselves from growing, and approaching work like DEIB with an open mind. It’s so good!

About YW Boston’s Advocacy Work: 

YW Boston works to eliminate racism and empower women through DEI services and advocacy. Our advocacy work is included under our 501(c)3, which means we do not endorse candidates, and we are non-partisan in the policies that we take on. Our advocacy work is planned and executed by a dedicated group of volunteers who apply and serve on our YW Boston Advocacy Committee.