Starla Sampaco

Host, Women in Leadership Institute; Forbes Columnist; Emmy-Nominated Journalist and Speaker

Starla Sampaco is a Filipino American keynote speaker, host and Forbes columnist with a background in TV news. As a SHRM speaker and host, she has shared stages with notable figures like President Bill Clinton and Janet Jackson.

Previously, Starla was the main news anchor for Seattle’s PBS channel (KCTS 9), which garnered approximately 1.67 million viewers each week throughout Washington state and Canada. Drawing from her experience as an Emmy-nominated broadcaster and her frequent experiences of being an “only”—the only woman, person of color and/or millennial (the youngest) in professional settings—Starla’s work now focuses on teaching professionals of marginalized backgrounds how to advocate for themselves in their careers.

As a contributor to Forbes and Harvard Business Review, she currently writes articles and produces videos covering self-advocacy, professional visibility and the importance of taking up space in the workplace. Previously, Starla taught graduate students at the University of Washington Communication Leadership Master’s Program, where she developed a course on self-advocacy as an adjunct faculty member. Starla also leads keynotes and corporate workshops for clients like Microsoft, AT&T and SHRM.

Her keynotes teach mid-career professionals how to:

  • internalize and amplify their value,
  • grow their visibility and perceived credibility,
  • promote themselves (without being disingenuous),
  • pitch themselves for growth opportunities, and
  • navigate workplace power dynamics.

As an extension of this work, Starla conducts research interviews with early- to mid-career women and people of color to better understand their career pain points. Using this data, she works with HR leaders and hiring managers by sharing strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. In 2021, she presented her research at the Washington State SHRM Employment Law Conference in a session titled “Why You’re Not Retaining Women and People of Color…and What You Can Do About It.”

Starla has worked in TV and media for more than a decade. Prior to joining Seattle’s PBS station, she covered Washington state politics as a legislative reporter and hosted a technology news show.

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