Born in Lynwood, CA, Talent Acquisition Specialist Angel Maxwell remembers first and foremost when he grew up he wanted to be a husband and a father. Upon further self-reflection later in life, Angel wondered, “why did I want to be those things?” and came to the realization that being a father and husband embodies what he values most - comforting, nurturing, providing and supporting.
“I appreciate that my parents were constantly teaching valuable lessons. My dad was a role model for me and worked hard to make sure we were taken care of,” Angel says.
A reserved and quiet child, Angel used to play with old gum wrappers, removing the metal and turning them into little figures. He would save these elephants, dinosaurs and robots in Ziploc bags to play with later. His fifth grade art teacher encouraged Angel to consider attending art school, a path he did not pursue because of the stereotype that you cannot make money by making art. Angel continues to enjoy creating art to this day, and if you’re lucky he might design your next tattoo.
When Angel was around 7 years old, his parents separated, with his mother moving to Houston and his dad staying in Southern California. In the years that followed, Angel split his time between the two. His father offered greater financial security, but arguably less emotional support. By the time Angel was in middle school, he decided to stay in SoCal permanently.
“I couldn’t take the humidity in Texas anymore,” Angel jokes. “Having grown up in some not-so-great areas or areas where I was the only Black kid, really helped me understand different worldviews and demonstrate greater compassion for the people around me.”
By high school, Angel became more involved in extracurriculars and sports; running track, cross country and playing football. He would wake up at 5am to run up to 12 miles before football practice. A routine that was not sustainable in the long-term and found Angel focusing solely on football, “because it was more popular and was considered masculine.”
Growing up, Angel had been taught that the path to success meant attending college to achieve financial stability. Attending Cal State San Bernardino, he chose to study business in school, “since I thought business equated money.” Throughout his life, Angel observed, was quiet, and listened. In his first job as an RA for his college, Angel began to find his voice. Angel had a mentor while he was an RA who once told him that when he spoke, everyone stopped to listen. This was empowering and eye-opening for Angel. Having grown up in a dysfunctional environment, he mostly kept to himself, and it took a long time to learn the value of his voice.
All of his previous experiences, working as an RA where he often acted as a mentor and advisor, briefly working in retail, and in the recreation center of his college, have brought him to where he is today and have helped Angel find his voice. As an RA, Angel found that he could implement those same values associated with being a partner and father - caring, supporting, and nurturing.
“I loved being an RA because I acted as a coach and would help people navigate the different resources available to them,” Angel says.
Angel’s love of teaching has carried through the years. He co-founded a nonprofit organization called Oddballs with a friend that pairs folks who are successful in their careers with high school students in need of a mentor. Angel is currently working towards certification to become an enneagram coach, which he likes because it increases your self awareness and understanding of how you interact with the world. For Angel, teaching means seeing potential in people that they often cannot see themselves and helping them work towards attaining it.
If you are lucky enough to sit down and have a conversation with Angel, you will very quickly discover that he is one of the most self-aware people you’ll have the privilege of coming across. Angel has spent a lot of time self-reflecting and processing. When it comes to existing as a man in this world, Angel advocates for dismantling the stereotypes of toxic masculinity and embracing growth and self-awareness. His faith is an integral part of his life and Angel is active in his church, leading spaces to allow men to be vulnerable and facilitating conversations around growth.
To understand how he views unpacking the harm perpetuated by stereotypical masculinity, here is an allegory:
“My goal is to build a beautiful home for my future partner and kids, and future generations. But any childhood traumas or adversity become compartmentalized by traditional ideals of masculinity. They become large crates sitting in your garage in the beautiful home you’ve built for your family. If you never learn how to address or heal those traumas, the crates start to become bigger, taking up more room until eventually you cannot avoid them. As time passes, your partner, kids, and future generations will have to help carry the load of those crates. Instead of suppressing or dismissing those aspects of yourself, if you can learn to address them then you can begin to heal. Men don’t typically spend a lot of time doing this and it’s often difficult to unpack. However, it’s important to recognize what cycles are perpetuated by men.”
All of his experiences have led him to where he is now, using his voice, showing compassion towards everyone regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. Angel believes in helping everyone achieve their full potential and meeting people where they are. Working in Talent Acquisition at Posh, Angel wants to make sure everyone knows they have someone rooting for them, from the recruiting process to onboarding.
“What motivates me in my role here at Posh and in every space, is helping individuals identify what success means for them. Posh is a place I feel comfortable to fully be myself, as a teacher, a learner, a friend and a supporter. Knowing that my skills contribute to something bigger than myself,” Angel says.
When Angel was interviewing with Posh, he said this was the first company he spoke with that identified not only what his role would be coming in, but what his potential path for growth could be as well.
“Posh has a vision and we’re constantly working and growing towards that vision and everyone is willing to support each other in their aspirations and interests,” he says.