Dr. Odette Christie, CEO, Organization Effectiveness Consulting and Coaching Solutions, LLC Dr. Odette Christie, CEO
2020 was a year of endless difficulties, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic disruption, and the civil turmoil sparked by the murder of George Floyd. One glaring reality emerging from these crises is the persistence of racial, gender, and class inequalities in our culture, as well as the unavoidable fact that the repercussions of such crises fall unfairly on those who are already disadvantaged. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have always been crucial subjects with significant consequences for individuals, corporations, and cultures, but the pandemic has brought these concerns to the forefront. Today, business leaders seek coaches with expertise in implementing DEI and an excellent reputation to facilitate the exploration and understanding of DEI to make a meaningful impact on their companies’ outcomes. This is where Organization Effectiveness Consulting & Coaching Solutions, LLC makes a difference. The company offers a full range of services, including consulting, coaching, training, mediating, and recruiting focused on advancing the DEI efforts in organizations.

In an interview with the editorial team of Manage HR, Dr. Odette Christie, CEO of the company, shares valuable insights into how her company utilizes an integrated blend of consulting, coaching, training, and positive psychology to create sustainable transformational change.

Can you provide us with a brief overview of your company?

Organization Effectiveness Consulting & Coaching Solutions, or OEC² Solutions, as we call ourselves, is a human capital company with a keen focus on talent management. To be more specific, we do everything from talent management consulting to corporate training, executive coaching, workplace mediation, and executive recruitment. We are a Human Capital consulting firm, with a dedicated Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Practice in place. We provide DEI training, consulting, and coaching, primarily catering to women, people of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. Further, we also provide organizations with diversity recruiting to bring diverse talent on board, focusing on people at director levels and above. We have created a niche within the marketplace to cater specifically to a diverse population.

What do you think are some of the major pain points in the DEI space?

At present, every organization is dealing with three major crises, namely, the pandemic, societal, racial inequities, and economic distress. To begin with, the pandemic has forced most leaders to deal with a crisis of a magnitude with which they have never dealt, in terms of DEI. Besides, it has started permeating everyone’s lives, disrupting the way we live and work. In addition to that, social inequity has become a significant area of concern at the workplace as people have started to see things in a different light. “Social justice” is now the battle cry for people of all races and colors, which is touching the fabric of everyone’s life. We call it “awakening” in organizations as people become more aware of other people’s lives outside of their own societies and communities. Not to mention, the impact of the economic crisis has put people under a lot of pressure with an increase in unemployment rates and decrease in opportunities. As such, we look for opportunities to bring more awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion in managing a crisis of this volume.

What are some of the programs that you offer to your clients?

Based on our foundational ideas, we create integration between strategy and people. That is to say, we offer organizational DEI assessments to understand and analyze their current state. Further, we converse with our clients and make decisions around the industry benchmarks. Through individual interviews and focus group sessions, we conduct live narratives and conversations to understand the shared life experiences of people within the organization. We perform a full audit of the organization by collecting and analyzing its diversity data, including numbers around race, ethnicity, promotion, succession planning, and more. We also listen to their narratives and derive insights from them. This helps us identify the gaps in critical areas and measure their impact on an organization’s outcome. We spend a lot of time reviewing organizations’ policies, procedures, and practices to understand if systemic racism is embedded in those policies and practices and ensure that they align with their DEI initiatives. Today, many clients are taking the initiative to understand where they stand as an organization on the maturity model and are making plans for what they envision to be in the coming years and beyond.

We provide DEI training, consulting to organizations, and coaching primarily catering to women, people of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) individuals

In my opinion, the most important thing for every organization is to embark on a diversity and inclusion journey that is personal and unique to them. That an organization clearly define what DEI means to them is critical, as the process must be authentic and genuine. From the organization’s perspective, they take everyone along with them on the journey. As such, talent management is of prime importance as it allows one to manage an entire employee life cycle by making sure that DEI is included at every touchpoint. Using the information that we gather from the initial stages of recruiting, selecting, and hiring to succession, leadership planning, and even organizational exit, we help companies improve talent management capabilities over time.

Could you provide us with a case study or two?

I remember a particular client who often viewed diversity as an event, frequenting traditional events like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and other pride events. There is a greater need for organizations to start creating an organizational experience that generates a higher level of understanding in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Simply put, we have been helping organizations define diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We have helped clients by training their employees on unconscious bias, micro-inequity, and microaggression. We have trained and upskilled people to understand the language of DEI by educating them to become accountable for their actions that arise when dealing with people different from themselves. Using education as a platform to bring higher levels of awareness and behavioral change, we have helped multiple organizations embrace a sense of diversity and inclusion. Now, with common knowledge, organizations have the chance to make sense of their life experiences. As a result, enterprises start embracing the way people from different cultures interact and behave within the same environment.

What, according to you, are the key differentiating factors that give your company a competitive edge?

We are all cultural beings and have come together from a cultural context. Drawing upon our strong foundation of positive psychology, we put our effort into creating the messages that we try to convey based on positive interactions and connections. What’s more, we leverage our knowledge and experiential learning, allowing people to encounter conversation, experience the information, and then relate to the real-time experience. We try to use real people, real experiences, and real opportunities, which we believe create a more transformational change. We create an experience for people that will allow them to have psychological safety, so that they can have interactions in a riskfree environment.

What does the future hold for your organization?

Our company is growing, and our satellite locations in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale are spreading out due to the rising demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are looking to expand in a sustainable way and put a lot of work into strategy creation. We want to help our clients see the value and importance of aligning a DEI strategy with their overall organizational strategies, allowing them to get grounded in their newly acquired knowledge, while providing support throughout their transitional period.