Simone Sloan, Founder and Principle Consultant, Your Choice Coach (YCC)Simone Sloan, Founder and Principle Consultant
Your Choice Coach (YCC) is an executive coaching and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advisory firm that was founded ten years ago by Simone Sloan. Simone is an accomplished business strategist and executive coach with a career in senior roles at Fortune 500 companies across marketing, communications, medical affairs, sales, and global business strategy.

Following is a conversation that Manage HR Magazine had with Simone Sloan, Founder, Your Choice Coach (YCC).

Since we already shared your background, please elaborate on the services that YCC offers.

Your Choice Coach (YCC) services include Executive Coaching, where we leverage emotional intelligence and data insights to develop clients’ cultural competencies. This sets the foundation for inclusive leadership practices, high employee engagement, and a positive workplace culture. We help organizations become more human to realize results. This is achieved through coaching techniques and core competency skillset development across all levels of an organization from individual contributors to senior leadership executives.

Further, we provide DEI Consulting, Training, Workshops & Strategy through which we create a safe space for clients to facilitate discussions and develop competencies for initiating difficult conversations all the way through to implementing change management. Our team is passionate about creating sustainable inclusion strategies that strengthen a company’s competitive stance for recruiting, retaining, and growing high-performing teams.

We understand that in today’s marketing and communication environment, intentions and impact matter. We have seen in the marketplace where company’s brand marketing and communications have missed the mark, including intentional and unintentional cultural misappropriation. When a company misses the mark with its consumers, the seen and unseen negative repercussions can be costly. Rebuilding brand equity, trust with customers and the overall public is time-consuming and expensive. Part of the services offered by YCC is to support brands so that their marketing and communications intentions and desired impact are properly aligned to optimize value. We start with understanding client-specific strategies and objectives. Then we get to work to support them in reviewing their communications and marketing executions to ensure inclusive language and cultural sensitivities are consciously considered and, where needed, properly addressed.

In your interactions with Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) of leading companies, what sense do you get of the challenges they face now in the Diversity and Inclusion space and how is Your Choice Coach effectively addressing these issues?

Gen Z and millennials are speaking up and holding their employers accountable to ensure intentionality and results align to employers’ communicated DEI priorities. We can expect to see more of this moving forward, along with performative diversity commitments being brought to light. A few challenges we see across companies include:

● Social justice issues are being ignored.
● DEI Strategy is lackluster.
● Employees are disengaged.
● The company is not perceived as a diverse and equitable employer.

YCC tackles these issues in a number of ways through a robust DEI strategy. This begins with ensuring diverse voices are heard and inequities that exist in an organization’s culture that cause exclusion are identified. The firm takes a data-driven, people-centered approach to develop strategies for clients that support a more inclusive mindset and organizational culture. YCC works with its clients to address disparities in the workplace that lead to unintended outcomes. We focus on presenting solutions to issues that arise from a lack of self-awareness, such as inherent bias, and present recommendations for building inclusive teams and work environments.

Recruitment and retention need to be part of the strategy, statistics and feedback need to be measured and reported, and programs need ongoing refinement. We know that prospective employees are conducting due diligence on a company’s DEI efforts by looking at their website, social channels, Glassdoor reviews, speaking with current and former employees, and much more. Companies that miss the mark will lose out on talent opportunities – often without even being aware.

Tell us about the diversity and inclusion solutions and services that you offer on the basis of its methodology, features, and benefits involved.

We help companies reframe their mindset, strategies, and behaviors for DEI. We offer Inclusive Leadership Coaching that starts with a cultural competency assessment. This helps teams understand where they are in their DEI journey after reviewing aggregated results and shared experiences across focus groups. From there, we tailor a coaching experience that explores topics such as role of race in our spaces, actions that can be taken, opportunities to support, and how to be an effective ally. All of these involve self-reflection. After this part of the journey, teams begin to interact more inclusively, at a higher level across their company. Further, teams build the empathy and curiosity that is needed to create opportunities and space for deeper understanding with colleagues and their customers. We provide “inclusive eye service,” reviewing companies’ communication and marketing collateral. We help companies to be more confident and effective with their message both internally and externally as they navigate their evolving DEI journey.
Kelly Fuller, DEI Consultant
Please elaborate on a case study where Your Choice Coach enabled one of the clients to attain the desired level of outcomes.

One of the clients wanted to take a proactive approach to address their diversity, equity, and inclusion journey. They conducted a DEI survey but did not have the internal resources to interpret and analyze the collected data. The client had distributed teams working in different regions, they sought the best approach to align their diversity and inclusion purpose and strategy. We helped them uncover hidden gaps across their culture. We conducted focus groups and interviews across the organization. We interpreted the data and identified themes that provided guideposts pointing to the appropriate direction. We met with senior leaders and helped key stakeholders make the case to obtain the resources necessary to support the roadmap and achieve desired outcomes.

We offer Inclusive Leadership Coaching that starts with a cultural competency assessment. This helps teams understand where they are in their DEI journey after reviewing aggregated results and shared experiences across focus groups

A process was created to develop a roadmap that prioritized activities and resources. A DEI learning journey was designed with key topics to address the learning gaps identified. Metrics were identified to keep the organization accountable. The DEI council developed a sustained momentum to keep employees engaged and aligned with the strategy.

What steers Your Choice Coach ahead of the other players?

It is our people with a range of backgrounds, skill-sets, and experiences; our ability to partner with our clients. It is also our flexibility to meet our clients where they are in their DEI journey. Our approach is not to leave a company with data and say ‘good luck.’ We understand that when a company chooses to embark and invest in its DEI journey, embedding change management as part of the process is critical. Because we become intimate with an organization’s culture, our goal is to ensure everyone we speak to is heard even when they are not in the room. Communication is key. We set expectations with our clients and build in several touchpoints to ensure we are aligned with the organization’s changes that may impact objectives and outcomes.

Additionally, my experience of working at pharmaceutical and healthcare companies positions us well to understand and work on diversity in clinical trial populations, which is a huge topic of interest right now due to the COVID vaccine discussions.

What does the future hold for Your Choice Coach?

We have expanded our geographic footprint as virtual work has become more prevalent. The generational change in the composition of the workforce represents an enormous opportunity. We conduct training and consulting work domestically and abroad (Europe, Caribbean etc). This new normal has also allowed us to take a different approach to leverage strategic partnerships in new and different ways.

Our future is bright. We have launched online training programs for companies to supply on-demand learning and upskilling. We have hired a dynamic consultant Kelly Fuller to support our growing DEI work.