The trio behind CST--Marcela Gómez, Ann Gillespie, and Wilson--joined forces in 2017 as a consulting agency of leading experts in marketing, public relations, community engagement, customer experience, and diversity strategy. The uniqueness of CST comes from these founding members, each of whom has experienced what it is like to be part of a minority group. They each know the feeling of being excluded and judged based on snap assumptions made because of their identity. The team knows how these behaviors impact organizations and their brands. Coming from varied professional backgrounds, Marcela, Ann, and Robert utilize their knowledge and skills to help organizations develop inclusion and equity.

“We help our clients deliver a customized, result-oriented plan to meet their objectives. Our goal is to help them build lasting, sustainable relationships with their internal and external customers and stakeholders,” Wilson asserts.

What are some of the services offered by CST, and how do they benefit the clients?

We generally begin with data analysis, acquiring data through climate and demographic surveys. We use a powerful tool called reflective dialogue that we have employed successfully to capture the employee voice for a variety different of clients including corporate, not-for-profit, education, and many others.

We also have an assessment tool that provides information on organizations’ diversity equity inclusion activities. We look at the activities across seven dimensions and conduct interviews to gather data and provide feedback to our clients. By the time we get through our discovery process, we have a comprehensive understanding of where our clients are in their journey. Our system is “future-looking.”

Apart from conducting these assessments, we also provide diversity education for our clients. Our training services begin with our Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Breakthrough workshop, which we usually conduct with leaders and board members of organizations.

Can you brief us about your development and training module?

We are a data-driven organization, generally beginning with a discovery process that helps identify where our clients are on their journey. Then, in the development process, we partner with them to develop a customized roadmap. Part of that includes training and education based on the needs of the organization.

CST is driven by our passion to help organizations achieve equity and inclusion and ultimately to remove barriers to human potential and performance

We also have a cultural agility training module called Multicultural Lens, which helps organizations and people understand cultural nuances from both an ethnic and corporate culture standpoint.

Finally, we help our clients activate their strategies, including helping them create strategic partnerships to support their recruiting efforts and their external and internal communication and messaging. For us, development is about creating a strategy and developing the people internally to execute that strategy.

Could you please tell us about a client success story?

One of our clients realized that they lacked the voices of underserved communities on their staff. We helped them identify and collect relevant data to get both an employee voice and an external voice through our reflective dialogue tool. Our findings allowed us to help them understand the gaps.

We trained them using our DEI Breakthrough, Multicultural Lens, and Implicit Bias modules, which prepared them to develop authentic partnerships within their communities. They were able to significantly expand their mission and change the perception of the organization within the communities that they serve.

What are some of the factors that differentiate CST to other market players?

We engage a great deal with our team around our own learning because we understand that there is no such thing as an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion. One of the most important parts of our culture is our willingness to grapple with these issues ourselves as an organization.

Besides this, another of our biggest differentiators is our focus on building a solid DEI foundation around the organization’s mission.We empower companies by aligning their diversity activities and initiatives with their business strategies. We are uniquely positioned to help our customers operationalize their diversity efforts via our multicultural marketing and communication capabilities.

What does the future roadmap of the company look like?

The United States has a particular dynamic when it comes to DEI, but we know that organizations in other places in the world also have challenges around bias and privilege that can impede their growth into other markets and underserved communities. Certainly, over the next few years, we want to continue expanding our portfolio and looking at how we can scale our products/services to benefit our clients. While actively looking to expand our US footprint, we also plan to grow our team and reach beyond the US market.