Women Teaming for Success: Meet the Leadership of Exude Human Capital
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebrated global holiday that takes place on March 8th. This celebration serves as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence against women.
Exude Human Capital celebrates the many women and diversity of our team and clients we partner with every day. We are proud to have two strong women, Alison DiFlorio (Co-Founder & Managing Partner) and Kimberly Scheetz (Chief Operating Officer & Managing Partner), leading our consulting firm that embodies our mission and vision of supporting those who are changing the world.
Alison DiFlorio joined Exude as the Co-Founder in 2006 with Marcos Lopez. With over 20 years of experience collaborating with corporate leaders in both the human resources and learning/development, she launched Exude Human Capital as a consulting firm focused on the connection between Human Resources, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion/Belongingness (DEIB), and Leadership Development. She strongly believes that in order to create truly inclusive cultures, leaders must be intentional when designing people processes, policies and practices to be mutually reinforcing.
As a leader/thought partner/advisor, Alison has played a key role in helping organizations to reimagine human resources, so they remain competitive and relevant. Alison is a graduate of The George Washington University where she earned a BA in International Studies. Certifications & training include Professional Human Resources (PHR), Certified Master Trainer of Myers- Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), Member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Alison says, “One of the most gratifying aspects of being a leader is to watch others grow and realize their potential. It’s no surprise that women still face stronger headwinds on the path to leadership. I believe that leadership has a responsibility to reimagine people processes like recruitment/selection/promotion/compensation with an intentional focus around diversity, equity, and inclusion to better support women and other disadvantaged groups to advance in their careers.”
Kimberly Scheetz joined Exude in 2021 to build the infrastructure for sustainable growth to take the consulting team in this ever-changing business environment to the next level. She quickly proved herself in the organization by taking a lead in other strategic areas of the firm such as delivery, sales, and marketing.
Kimberly brings over 16 years of experience in professional services with a focus in consulting operations. She is a proud graduate of Temple University, where she received her BA in Communications. Kimberly also holds HR and coaching certifications that include: PHR, HR Management, HBDI Whole Brain Thinking and InsideOut Coaching. Kimberly values her position because she genuinely believes that putting people first is always the right answer and pays dividends in the future to any business.
“My experiences as a woman and observations of others’ have led me to empower any team around me to not only have a seat at the table, and to not only have a voice at the table, but to also have that voice be heard” shares Kimberly.
In August of 2022, Marcos asked Alison & Kimberly to co-lead this growing human capital consulting firm. Marcos Lopez, Co-Founder & CEO states: “Asking Alison and Kimberly to lead the organization was an easy decision at the time because of the implicit trust I have in both of them. Leading with integrity isn’t a heavy lift for either Alison or Kimberly. It’s the way they show up! They do it every day within a framework of strategic, analytical, creative, and empathetic problem-solving. Our team benefits from their unique blend of qualities as do our partners and clients.”
Since taking the leads, Alison & Kimberly have appreciated how collaborative, engaged, and passionate the team is in achieving not only our own goals, but those of our clients. Exude Human Capital provides solutions around HR outsourcing, compensation, strategic advisory, organizational and cultural assessments, DEIB advisory and training, coaching and leadership development programs. We strive to become the trusted advisors of all things people.
We asked Kimberly (KS) & Alison (AD) about their lessons learned and how that has shaped the culture at Exude Human Capital.
What motivated you to step up and become a leader in the organization?
- KS: I have experienced positives and negatives as a woman in the workplace. The not so positive experiences are what fueled me to lean in and help do better. In some spaces, I was treated less than, given the administrative tasks, told my ideas were rash and not thought out because they came to me quicker than my male colleagues, and treated negatively by other women. Sometimes, when I had a seat at the table, I felt they didn’t always care to hear my voice. From those experiences, I wanted to help create a path for other women so they wouldn’t feel that way. I wanted to create a culture where others had a seat at the table because I genuinely cared about their voices and insights. I wanted to create an environment where others can feel they can be their true authentic selves at work. I wanted to create a collaborative safe space where we can learn from each other and share real ideas together without judgement. I found that at Exude. And that culture and environment made me feel like I found my home. I found others that embraced that. Because when we can be genuine and have a safe exchange of ideas, that’s where we all make each other better. And who doesn’t want to have a seat at that table? We all want to do good and make a positive impact together – we’re stronger as a team to accomplish those goals, always.
- AD: Over my career, I watched many individuals advance through an organization not because of their talent, but because of their gender and the privilege that provided. I was also extremely fortunate to work with some incredible leaders, both men, and women, who encouraged me along the way, showed me what great leadership looked like, and included me in opportunities that helped me learn and grow and build the confidence to advance. I wanted to step into leadership to be able to do the same for others. When I was tapped to co-found Exude Human Capital, I knew this was an opportunity to build something special – something that would provide an opportunity for others to expand and grow. It was also an opportunity to work with leaders of other organizations as they sought to reimagine the workplace to be a more inclusive and equitable experience.
What are the benefits to having women in leadership?
- KS: Different perspectives and different approaches are always positive thing. We may not all bring the best idea to the table every time. However, we can build off each other’s ideas. Each other’s different experiences can provide more creative ways to look at something. Having representation in many ways at the leadership level allows us to build more upon those different experiences into something incredible and not just from a single perspective.
- AD: Women represent approximately 50% of the workforce and make 85% of all consumer purchases in the US, according to Forbes. While the statistics in certain industries may vary, having women at the table adds an important perspective to leadership discussions/decisions that may impact both internal and external customers. Several studies support that companies with greater gender diversity in senior leadership are significantly more profitable than those without.
How can women navigate power structures?
- KS: Be your true self but always trust what you have to offer. It’s in our nature to sometimes back down and folds at the sign of any resistance. If you truly believe it’s the right thing, make sure that it’s clear that you feel that way and have supporting facts to back it up. Don’t let people intimidate you into being quiet. Everyone has insights and voices – we need to make sure they all get heard. The ideas won’t all get taken, but not being heard or folding is the worst thing we can do to ourselves.
- AD: Find and leverage allies. This may require you step out of your comfort zone to build relationships with leaders in the organization who support you and seek their advice or guidance when needed to navigate power structures.
How can we stop gender bias?
- KS: If you witness bias (of any kind, not just gender), help become an ally. If you’re able to help course correct the action, you should do what you can. The more we stand up for each other, the more these behaviors can be corrected. We also need to stop taking more administrative activities automatically because we think we should. It will take effort from all of us but we’re making progress and we’ll continue to do so, together. Awareness is really the key. Be aware of yourself and what you’re asking of others as well as what you’re taking on because you feel like you must.
- AD: Awareness is the first step – recognize bias when you see it and do what you can to stop and/redirect. Support efforts to remove gender and other forms of bias from your business processes/practices/policies around recruitment, compensation, promotions/advancement, and access to learning opportunities. Lead by example by addressing/redirecting bias in a productive manner when you see it, so others become more comfortable doing the same.
What advice do you have for women looking to grow either their own business or within the company they work for?
- KS: Seek out people that have different perspectives. It’s easy to gravitate to those that think similarly. Find the ones that think differently. That’s where you’ll do the most growing and learning. Seek to understand their perspectives and why they may approach something differently or how they would have made a different decision. Things that force us to be a little uncomfortable and not just think where it feels natural are some of the experiences which I’ve learned and grown the most from.
- AD: Look for mentors inside and outside of your organization. These can be formal or informal relationships with individuals inside or outside your organization who offer a variety of perspectives on business situations you may face. They may also help you expand your network to help you grow your business or move within the company you are in.
Creating a safe and culturally diverse workplace has been the focal point of Exude since its start in 2006. With Alison’s and Kimberly’s leadership, the team has found a happy combination for a healthy and engaging culture. Hearing Alison and Kimberly’s words is only part of the story. We asked those they lead to share their experience. One team member summed it up as follows. “Alison and Kimberly are leaders that see you as a whole person. Their leadership style creates a safe space to learn, contribute, make mistakes, and be your authentic and true self. They listen to ideas, take action, provide feedback, and help navigate times of uncertainty and change.” – RoMaine J. Wise
Learn more about Exude Human Capital by clicking here.