Dr. Valaida Wise, President & Principal Consultant, Dr. Valaida Wise ConsultingDr. Valaida Wise, President & Principal Consultant
The push toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) continues to gain momentum within the enterprise sphere. However, even though organizations have clear goals and aspirations about their DEI journey, many lack the expert guidance to turn their vision into a tangible reality.

This is where specialists like Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting can make a world of difference.
Headquartered in Washington D.C., Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting helps organizations achieve a holistic DEI stance. The firm offers comprehensive assessments, evaluations and training, strategic equity planning, and leadership development services that augment an organization’s DEI efforts and provide measurable outcomes.

In an interview with Manage HR, Dr. Valaida Wise, Principal Consultant, shares her experiences and valuable insights on how the firm is helping organizations bring changes that matter.

What motivated you to start a firm in the DEI space?

Since my childhood, a drive to contribute toward community upliftment was ingrained in me. Being the daughter of a civil-rights attorney, I grew up hearing conversations around social justice and civil rights at our dinner table. I have always contemplated creating a positive environment where people can voice their rights and make sure those opinions are heard.

Later, my experience has taught me that correct data is essential to piece together all the missing DEI segments within an organization. When executed correctly, DEI initiatives can make sure that all employees within the company feel a sense of belonging and inclusion.

I started the company to help organizations navigate the complexities around DEI implementation. Our firm’s collective goal is to create a world where companies can benefit from a diverse workforce.

Can you elaborate on the prevailing DEI-related pain points that companies face and how you are helping address them?

Many organizations have a desire to transform into an empowering and diverse workplace. However, they lack the structure or knowledge to act on it. Some organizations may even have the necessary DEI data and plan of action, but they fail to communicate and effectuate the same with their stakeholders and constitutes.

We help companies determine strategic DEI plans to overcome these challenges. Our equity audit aids organizations in identifying the current status and pain points of their DEI initiatives/vision. It also sheds light on employees’ past experience, whether they are from the majority, minority, or fairly marginalized communities. Our team gathers as much information as possible to develop a plan with measurable implementation goals. We also create a communication plan to effectively convey the firm’s DEI efforts.

Moreover, it’s not enough to be diverse and inclusive. Organizations need to emphasize equity to truly see the multicultural aspects impacting their bottom line. We help organizations unlock equity-centered leadership and governance, enabling them to recognize and ‘integrate’ the variety of voices and identities they house.
Could you walk us through your services and the client onboarding process?

We begin with equity audits and collect extensive information through interviews, focus groups, and surveys. We also look at the organization’s retention rate, attrition rate, and documents that reveal similar information to gather qualitative and qualitative data. This helps us paint a picture of our clients and their unique DEI needs.

We then devise a tailored DEI plan and set up a committee to communicate and effectuate it. Our team co-creates such plans with the clients’ employees to achieve the best-fit DEI implementations. This also helps the governance team monitor current events and make day-to-day decisions to improve them. Moreover, the workforce can know how much their employer is committed to them and how their input influences their organization’s DEI initiatives.
  • Our firm’s collective goal is to create a world where companies can benefit from a diverse workforce

On the one hand, our services provide the much-needed platform for the workforce to convey eloquently about what it is to be a part of their organization. On the other hand, we help organizations maximize the effort to make everyone feel included.

What differentiates you from other players in this space?

All of us are researchers and experts having Ph.D. or EDD in this field with over a hundred years of combined experience. We understand that a set of pre-determined questions and strategies is not enough to make a measurable action plan. It has to be conversational - back and forth between everyone in the organization. All organizations aren’t cut from the same cloth, which is why we tailor a different strategy or approach that best suits our clients.

Can you please share a customer story that substantiates your value proposition?

Before partnering with us, one of our clients undertook a DEI initiative by conducting a town hall meeting with their entire workforce. However, their good intentions did not resonate clearly with the workforce. Instead, employees felt their leadership was disingenuous. On the other hand, the leadership was fraught with anxiety and discomfort as their people felt disconnected and unhappy around their work with social justice and diversity inclusion.

We came into the picture and formed a committee that started to work through equity audits. They got the information needed to create a strategically planned DEI framework to help the organization bring its people together. At the end of the day, the workforce recognized that the organization was very serious about its efforts. It changed the tone and tenor of the conversation within the organization, with the workforce engaging in processes that would change the organization for the better.

Where do you see the company in the coming 12 to 18 months?

We are expanding rapidly. Our goal is to diversify and help many organizations, including educational institutions and non-profits. After all, every organization stands to benefit from a well-developed strategic plan on belonging and social justice.