Led by passion and purpose to help for profit and non-profit organizations to leave their own indelible impression upon their workforce and society, Yvonne Alston, is the Culture Architect, CEO and Founder of Indelible Impressions Consulting, LLC. Yvonne believes that being inclusive and cultivating a sense of belonging brings out the best in people, enhances innovation, improves team/community cohesiveness and productivity, and, as a result, benefits a company’s workforce and bottom line.
Yvonne has coupled her deep commitment to DEI+B (diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging) with 22+ years of expertise in corporate marketing and communications, which includes providing businesses with crucial inclusion and communication methods to develop their culture. Working with leading insurance companies, legal firms, and consulting firms is part of this background.
Below are highlights of the interview:
Tell us more about the company.
Indelible Impressions is a Connecticut-based, woman and minority-owned consulting firm. Its primary goal is to advance important conversations, education, and training to help organizations understand the importance of culture and its impact on the human experience. The firm and team focus on centering the employee experience, amplifying personal and professional value, and inspiring hearts and minds as they challenge systems of inequity, champion dimensions of diversity, and drive inclusive practices holistically.
What has been your biggest learning since becoming a coach for organizations and people?
You have to take the time to understand people’s stories in order for them to willingly come along on the DEI+B journey. There are many external influences that are at the root of how people think and feel, and thus how they engage within the workforce and in everyday life. It’s not our role to judge that or make people feel bad about themselves or their lived experiences.Instead, I believe one has to calibrate and have courageous curiosity to bridge the differences between people. Then, hopefully, you earn the respect and trust needed to help remove the barriers to deeper human connection. Then people start to understand that regardless of someone’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, etc., their life will be truly enriched by being open and experiencing difference.
How do you motivate people to go the extra mile?
My team and I assure them that they are not alone in their efforts to better understand others or to becoming more open in their thoughts and feelings toward people who are different from themselves. That’s no easy feat. Additionally, my team and I focus on meeting people where they were. We don’t force them to change – we inspire them to change. With compassion, empathy, and a true heart’s desire to see each individual be reflective, and then get excited about how the work will positively impact their personal and professional life.
What gets you up in the morning? What motivates you?
The ability to connect with people in the organizations that Indelible serves. Those who know they need to change, those who want to change, and even those who don’t. Getting to know what makes people think, say, and do the things they do is so interesting to me. To help them overcome barriers to experiencing all there is to life—through vulnerability, openness, and greater acceptance of others—it’s really beautiful.
Kindly describe how you will specifically know what success looks like for you.
For me, success looks like this: A person who has gone through our program shares a cherished moment or experience, either within or outside of the workplace that was different and positive. Or, they had some breakthrough that helped them know they are a better human being because of the transformation, and they are excited about what that’ll look like over time.
I’ve had the privilege-and it is a privilege-to have that feedback from several folks over the years. And it always makes me humbly grateful and literally fills my cup of joy.
What is some of the advice you give to aspiring women leaders?
Understand who you are and what you are purposed to do. Once you find that, and let that be your guide, your compass, you will find immense joy in what you do. And that is really the ultimate measure of success; thriving in authenticity – both professionally and personally.
“You owe it to yourself to be exactly who you were created to be. When we are free in that way, we have the capacity to be the most focused, creative, and best expression of ourselves, for ourselves and others.” Yvonne Alston
What are your future plans to sustain Indelible Impressions’ success?
We are expanding our offerings and capabilities and using technology to do so. In the near future, we’ll be licensing some of our content to organizations so they can get the learning and experiential tools needed to build a better culture across the continuum.
Also, there are quite a few companies that want to become strategic partners with Indelible. I could not have forecast the level of interest in who we are and how we do what we do. It’s humbling and exciting.
“It’s time to go well beyond ‘I have a dream,’ to the realization that ‘I am the dream’ while fully awake.” Yvonne Alston