Please provide a brief description about your company.
Ethos is a diversity, equity, and inclusion meets company culture firm focused on creating the conditions for everyone to thrive at work by creating incredible and incredibly diverse companies cultures. Through our education and training programs, consulting across recruiting, retention, promotion, and protection strategies, and support on inclusive communications, we give our clients the security to pursue optimism.
Two hashtags that best describe you (i.e.: #driven, #fierce, #mom, #dad, #roadblockcrusher, etc.)
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
This is a very tough question to answer, so since I am writing this one a coaching day where I meet with eight different coaching clients, I am going to narrow the focus to my greatest coaching achievement. I was working with a client who was moving towards a C-level title from a VP-level title in a fast-growing startup. This person was highly motivated and technically skilled, while also somewhat new to organizational politics and building executive relationships. Throughout our time together, we focused on developing more social and organizational awareness, to the point that this person got the offer they wanted. And then… their world turned upside down. Everything – and I mean, everything – about their situation in this environment changed. What went from helping an aspiring executive get to that next 20% of mastery became an exercise in helping them survive from one day to the next in an extraordinarily volatile context. There were sessions were we spent an hour just breaking down how to have one tough conversation and others focused on conducting major company-wide changes. This person came out in a totally different professional space than they had originally planned, and everything we had to design together to get to a good outcome had to change several times. I am so proud of who they became in the process – someone who went from impatient, insecure, and highly combustible to self-managed, intentional, and resilient. I’m also proud of how we were able to flex and adapt to chaotic circumstances smoothly and honestly.
Whom do you most admire?
Amanda Lannert is the CEO of Jellyvision, my mentor, and also the object of my obsession. I’m constantly hyper self-aware of how much I bring her up. I always say that in the last four years, no one has been more influential in my professional life as her. Amanda was the first person who possessed a real power to say to me, “Alida, humility is cool.” She inspires me because no matter the room she’s in, she always has the brightest ideas, the most thoughtful questions, and somehow, the highest quality information. Yet, she makes space for others to share. She talks a mile a minute, but she’s the first person to embrace the power of the pause. She also gives a tremendous gift: time. She is the person I know with the least time, but she always makes it for me and for so many other people in the community, regardless of who they know or what their standing is. She genuinely commits to being helpful. She inspires me because she shows me every day that leaders can be humble, thoughtful, and giving… and that makes them really, really successful.
What is your motto?
Teach love and scale empathy.
What is your most marked characteristic?
When running your business, what do you struggle with most?
I am a compulsive responsibility-taker, and I am willing to sacrifice what I want to do for what is the practical choice or the one that will be most helpful to others. As a result, I tend to feel overcommitted and strapped for time and energy to a degree that makes me feel tied up and held down. So many people have said to me, “But you’re your own boss, can’t you control your schedule?” But I’m not my own boss – I have nearly 50 bosses. They’re my clients. That’s the nature of being a consultant.
What advice would you give to yourself at 25 years old?
I used to be terrified of being wrong. If a client challenged me, I would immediately inundate them with all of the data, ask leading questions, and justify my recommendations. There was, in my view, only one right way, which is what I’d proposed. What’s worse is that the right way was always to take action. This was my own prejudice in my own life and work. The more I deepen my work as a practitioner, the more I understand there are multiple solutions to every problem, and that the response to a client challenging me should be, “Say more about that” or “Why do you feel this way?” Every time I ask these deeper questions, I learn something new about my client, and in many cases, the world. I can still have some answers and options in my back pocket; I just have to hold onto them more loosely. This openness to being both a student and a teacher has shaped me personally as a more humble, open, and thoughtful person, and I would tell my younger self to remember to pursue the right answer over being right.