Sharon Washington - CEO, Sharon Washington ConsultingSharon Washington - CEO
Sharon Washington Consulting works with organizations to educate their employees and leaders on fostering a more inclusive work culture, thereby leading them toward building critically conscious connections within organizations. It leverages its years of expertise in the diversity and inclusion discipline to bring diversity and anti-bias training through education and institutional support.

In a recent interview with Manage HR, Sharon Washington, CEO of Sharon Washington Consulting, talks about how they have been proactively engaging a diverse audience on the complex intersections of race, historical trauma, social inequality, and justice, as well as the impact of these factors on health and societal outcomes.

Sharon Washington Consulting’s contribution to the diversity and inclusion space

Sharon Washington Consulting aims to cultivate individual and organizational growth through healing and transformation. We approach DEIA discourse as a healing process, distinct from those that often seek to change policies, protocols, and practices without grounding and orienting those changes and growth in the individuals who truly make institutions happen, flourish, and thrive. We have a very people-centered and alignment-oriented approach toward such discourses. We increase self-awareness so that institutional change is founded on genuine individual and collective change.

Our organizational assessment work, like leadership and executive leadership coaching and development, organizationwide training, policy analysis, and policy development, is framed from a trauma-informed perspective, focusing on connecting individuals with self-awareness and awareness of the experiences of others in their teams and society.

Industry struggles faced by Sharon Washington Consulting

There have been many struggles that the diversity and inclusion space has witnessed since the pandemic. With many compounding sources of trauma, stress, strain, and fatigue in the workplace, maintaining a sense of direction and vision for institutionalizing and integrating change and transformation in DEIA spaces has been the biggest of them all. Most institutional leaders found it difficult to have a balanced approach to responding to the call for action as it pertained to the DEIA post-pandemic. As pandemic fatigue has passed, media attention toward racial discourse have largely waned, and institutions have faced more competing priorities and tension as they struggle to maintain momentum and buy-in.

Sharon Washington Consulting’s methodologies

We identify and establish the pulse of the institution as it pertains to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism (DEIA) utilizing various frameworks and assessment tools. To ensure measurable results, our team collaborates with the clients and customizes our services to meet the unique needs, demographics, and climate of each of their institutions. Based on the findings and voices that emerge from our evaluation, we ground our approach on engaging, coaching, and developing leaders in authentic allyship and having an aligned vision for DEIA within themselves and within their institutions.

Our team prioritizes working with leaders at the outset of the engagement to center the voices frequently marginalized within institutions through assessments and interviews. Our process prepares leaders not only to implement best practices but also to do so with a sense of personal awareness, an empathetic ability to receive the experiences of diverse team members, and then compassionately lead change and institutional growth from a very humble, vulnerable, and transparent perspective.

The impact that Sharon Washington Consulting has created

The pandemic wasn’t the only novel thing that occurred in 2020; racial uprisings and awakenings also began to emerge during this period. A department of family medicine at an academic medical institution reached out to Sharon Washington Consulting after members of the department, particularly black individuals, expressed extreme fatigue and harm in their workspace. They needed a space where people could coexist and be supported.

Maintaining momentum for equity and inclusion can be a challenge, yet with diverse approaches to engagement through online learning and leadership development, SWC is well positioned to support leaders and institutions who are excited to cultivate growth and transformation

Sharon Washington Consulting collaborated with their team of over 200 members to train a diverse group of facilitators to implement racial affinity-based caucusing spaces where members of the department could unite to create a brave and connecting space. They can have conversations about their racial trauma, the tensions of the time, and their institutional and community needs within their workplace. After working with over 20 facilitators, we prepared their team members to be capable of facilitating these dialogues. Two years later, over 80 percent of the participants have expressed that it has positively impacted them, and for over 65 percent of the diverse population, it has positively impacted their team dynamics.

Sharon Washington Consulting’s distinctive edge in the diversity and inclusion discipline

Our services and approach are customizable and deeply rooted in an intimate and deep assessment of the needs of the most marginalized team members and very intimate bio sketches of leaders. We aid leaders in their development and formation of racial literacy and critical consciousness around diversity, equity, and inclusion, so the efforts and initiatives they drive are authentically integrated with a critical lens and perspective that’s applied to their leadership approach. Our self-directed, online, microlearning courses are both complete and comprehensive. It makes complex and nuanced information accessible and digestible for executive leaders as well as frontline staff.

Our team holds safe spaces for critical conversations, listening sessions, identity-based caucus dialogues, and affinity groups that open up honest, vulnerable, and intimate dialogues. All of these enable the leaders to learn from the experiences of the team members, who are often less visible and accessible, and create sustainable change trajectories for the organization.

We are excited to work with organizations that are ready to engage in deep dialogue and long-term changes and are committed to their institutions and transformation, healing, and growth in substantive and sustainable ways.