Cheryl Ingram is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusologist who currently owns 3 companies (DiverseCity LLC, Inclusology, and most recently DAIPE, Inc.). She specializes in assessment, training, developing, and implementing strategies for business development. Cheryl is an incredibly positive force in Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, and we’re so honored and happy to have had her present at some of our past events.
1. Why do you do what you do for a living?
I do this because I want all people to be treated fairly and inclusively in the workplace, educational system, and their everyday lives. Especially underestimated and underrated populations.
2. Why did you start your company?
About 5 years ago, I started to feel an extreme heaviness from the personal experience and witnessing of struggles of marginalized populations, especially within young adults who were facing the same struggles in the world I have/had been enduring. My response was to solve it and this was my way of identifying how such discrimination existed in the world. I started looking at numbers and letting them tell me a story. A story that identified trends that showed the impact of inequity on our workplaces performance broken down by gender identity and race. I used this data to change the approach of our team and admissions process into our program.
Within months we saw an increase of who was getting in the door, specifically more students of Color, Women, individuals with disabilities and I remember the results helped me to regain a love of science, specifically numbers that tell a story into the issues of inequities that are created by systems, both human and computerized. In our program and working with teams we were able to build processes that supported these populations all the way to graduation of our technical program and I knew I had something here.
I remember the first time I created a system that evaluated trends by demographics, and created assessments that allowed for more equitable practices. Seeing the outcomes change helped me to realize I was onto something and since then I’ve been building methodologies that have improved this process in both my businesses for our clients. I realized that awareness leads to action and informed awareness increases equitable outcomes.
3. What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from being a founder/CEO?
A willingness to accept personal growth (spiritual, emotional, mental, etc.) as a leader can make or break your business and your role in building it.
4. What is the one piece of advice you would share today with your younger self before you started your company?
You have to understand that because you are a Black Founder the world is going to make you work twice as hard and sometimes for twice as less. But don’t give up, take even the hardest lessons as a blessing to prepare you to never make the same mistakes again. Just keep learning, applying, and growing.
5. What is something interesting and unexpected that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I now own three companies. They are all focused on creating positive social change in multiple industries.