Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Munyaradzi.
Hi Rachel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Having always been a minority throughout my career in Corporate America, I have more than 20 years of Operational and Leadership experience in challenging and goal-oriented environments. As a black woman originally from Africa, I refused to let her gender, race, or place of birth determine my career path. I advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) within an organization’s culture to allow employees to feel like they belong and to bring their best selves to work. I help clients achieve lasting change through facilitation, education, consultation, and coaching.
A little about myself, I was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe to two wonderful parents who despite the Apartheid regime in Zimbabwe before 1980, taught me that all people are equal. I grew up in a multi-cultural society and my parents prided themselves on the doors that their education opened up for them. Yes, my education opened up amazing doors for me, however, my parents did not prepare me for the discrimination and disparities that I experienced in the workplace. I tolerated inequity in the hope that my skills, hard work, and dedication would give me equal footing, but this was not the case. Yes, doors opened but equity was not the order of the day.
Then fast forward to parenting. My son is 13-years old and attends a private school in the Valley. In the first year of middle school, he experienced racially inspired bullying. He was made fun of for not being black enough and he began to hate school. He did not understand why children he had known since age three would begin to single him out because of skin color. He did not understand why some children could not accept him for who he was but instead wanted him to fit the stereotypes they had of who he should be. The bullying continued and culminated in about 12 boys jumping my son and holding him down and beating him at a Halloween school event. Only two other boys tried to fend off the attacks. The school did not handle the incident as prescribed in their Handbook, and it was swept under the carpet, and the boys who beat my son did not get any consequences for what they did to him. This was a huge disappointment to our family and I realized that some of the injustices that I experienced in Corporate were at play at my son’s school.
I am a very active member of the school community. I began the first Black History Month program for the school in 2012 encouraged by our therapist who said that my son needed more exposure to Black culture as we are very obvious minorities in the community. I have served on Parent Teacher Association and the School Safety Committee. I am the Parent Lead and Project Manager for the Yearbook where I oversee parent volunteers who take photographs and design the school Yearbook. I joined Yearbook Parent Volunteers because our first year at the school, there was one photograph of my son in the entire yearbook. I am dependable, visible, and active in the school, so the way this incident was handled was a huge blow to my perception that we were accepted and equal in the school. It was a very confusing and hurtful time for us all, which personally made me realize that more enlightenment was needed in the community. This incident also helped me realize that more work needed to be done for the DEIB workspace.
I believe that empathy is the foundation of all human relationships and interactions, and as a leader, I lead with what I call the 4 E’s – EMPATHY, ENCOURAGEMENT, EDUCATION, AND EMPOWERMENT. I thrive to encourage people to be the best versions of themselves, and I achieve this primarily through listening and empathy followed by setting and establishing corporate policies to back up the change. My purpose in life is to bring meaningful change despite the history of injustice that has marginalized underrepresented groups within the world. My negative experiences in Corporate America and my son’s as a minority in a private school, though challenging give me the drive to a create diverse, inclusive, and equitable world – a better tomorrow for our children.
My goal is to dedicate the remainder of my career to ensuring that nobody in my sphere of influence experiences what my son or I did at school or work. This can be done through empathy and creating a culture that is inclusive and backed by solid policies. Being that my background is in Corporate America, I chose to begin there. I thrive on motivating teams to goal achievement, increased productivity, and profitability through vision-based strategic planning. I believe that people are the lifeblood of any organization. My ability to listen (empathize) allows me to direct and encourage the environment needed to create change while maintaining employee morale.
I advise and coach senior executives in private and non-profit organizations. I believe that investing in people, from leadership down, will create a thriving business. My work in Executive Management has given me an appreciation of the extraordinary demands that are made on leaders in today’s culture. I work to bring the best leading-edge ideas and approaches to my clients to help them make the changes that are most important to them and the culture of their organizations.
Before setting up my own Consulting Service – Rachel Rudo Consulting (www.rachelrudo.com) I worked in Executive Management in numerous industries including Healthcare, IT, Banking, and Finance. When not hiking the hills surrounding Los Angeles, I volunteer for various organizations in my community.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it has not been a smooth road. I had to shift my mindset to go it alone. The bottom line was that I had to have faith and confidence in myself and shut out the naysayers who were many and also very close family members. Straight out of college, I was ready to rule and run the world. I began a marketing company to help minority-owned businesses and that ended up being a total failure because my business model was wrong.
The failure of this venture caused a lot of self-doubts and in the face of “I told you so’s” from close family members, I retreated and resorted to the family script of getting a good job and working my way up. It brought financial gain and satisfaction, but emptiness inside because there was not a strong sense of purpose. The discriminatory practices I experienced on the job did not help either. So after my “position was eliminated” I began soul searching and ended up starting my own consulting company.
The biggest hurdle for me has been my own self-doubt.
We’ve been impressed with Rachel Rudo Consulting, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Rachel Rudo Consulting is a change management consultancy, seamlessly engineering transformational changes working with C-Suite executives in companies and nonprofits. I primarily focused on bringing companies from chaos to clarity. I believe that change is inevitable, and thriving is a choice. I believe that change comes by utilizing the 4 E’s – Empathy, Encouragement, Education leading to Empowerment.
We facilitate CHANGE for companies and individuals. We help set priorities, focus energy and resources, and strengthen operations.
What We Do…
We help create decisions and actions that shape and guide who you are, who you serve, what you do, and why you do it – all with a focus on the future.
Then we help you measure the success and hold you accountable.
How We Do It…
We help you articulate where you are going and the actions needed to make progress. We establish agreement around your intended outcomes and assess and adjust the direction in response to a CHANGING environment.
One cannot paint every business with the same brush because every business is different. We provide customized strategic plans for each organization.
I am proud of the personal touch that I provide for each organization.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB):
Mission-driven organizations express their desire to institutionalize workplace DEI programs. This is done by launching staff-led task forces, workgroups, and committees. We facilitate the realization of organizational objectives that create more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace cultures.
Change is inevitable, and thriving is a choice. As change management experts, we help prepare, support, and help individuals and organizations in making change. A few change drivers include crisis, technological evolution, process review, consumer habit change, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational restructuring.
A clear and shared vision is powerful. We facilitate this and help drive the organization towards its desired future. Strategic Planning is setting priorities, focusing energy and resources while strengthening operations. All this while ensuring that all stakeholders are working toward common goals and establish agreement around intended outcomes.
The leadership that gets an organization to where it is today may be quite different than the leadership that will take it into its future. Planning for this is key. We navigate leadership transition while focusing on organizational health and longevity.
We coach executives to achieve peak performance with a balance between challenge and growth. We act as an advisor and help executives gain self-awareness, clarify goals, and achieve and develop objectives. Executives ensure everyone is developed to do their best work, but they too need support to maximize professional and personal potential.
We coach individuals to make empowered decisions that will lead to building a fulfilling life. Transformational coaching is focused on enabling self-actualization. We explore an individual’s psyche, focusing on who that person is and desires to become. It is all about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
Diane Johnson – unofficial mentor – modeling a successful minority-owned business Ralph Plumb – unofficial mentor – advise when I ask him
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.rachelrudo.com
Jade Alayne Photography