LaVada English is the CEO and Founder of Bright Places, Inc., a consulting firm that equips and supports organizations in dismantling their unhealthy workplaces. She holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and is a certified Intercultural development coach.
Lavada recently sat down with us to talk more about the birth of Bright Places, her passion for people, and a career that’s been wholly focused on changing the world, “one conversation at a time.” In this interview, she shares what sets Bright Places apart from other consulting groups in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) sphere.
During your career as a Diversity Talent Consultant with Johnson & Johnson, you were instrumental in increasing diversity hiring acquisition by 40%. How were you able to accomplish such a staggering increase?
Our strategy consisted of four parts: representation, relationships, strategy, and support. For representation, it was imperative that our talent consultants and hiring managers had diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We built relationships with diversity and inclusion organizations as well as universities to aid in diversifying our talent pool. We also developed a dynamic strategy in which the plan and policies reached across the entire organization, as well as the operating companies within the organization, so we could look at the metrics and identify the best place for our diverse talent.
Finally, we ensured that, once we brought the talent in, we provided them with support by way of follow-up, feedback, and working to continually make things better. When implemented across an organization, these strategies help reach, bring, retain, and grow diverse talent.
What was the motivation behind rebranding to Bright Places Inc.?
We wanted our name to reflect our passion for bringing the light and energy of inclusion to organizations that are stuck in an unhealthy workplace culture. Our goal is to reach higher and expand further to connect with the people we want to serve. We want to equip and encourage leaders to tap into their full potential as well as that of others.
In addition to running your own business, you’re also involved with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Why is it so important to build up women in business?
NAWBO has been helping to shape women entrepreneurs since 1975, and I’m honored to have been elected president of its Ventura chapter. The more empowered women become, the more empowered societies become because women take what they learn and give it back to the community. Any system in place designed to keep women apart is detrimental to society, and NAWBO is a place where we can come together and benefit from each other’s experiences.
How has Duran Kinst Strategies (DKS) been able to support the work that Bright Places is doing?
DKS understands our vision and has turned our content into shareable messages that allow for more engagement. I know that Bright Places is in the right hands. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
Thank you, LaVada, for your kind words and for taking the time to chat with us. It’s an honor to work with you and your team!