By Evan J. Cutts
“My life purpose is to ensure that women and People of Color have a seat at the corporate table,” declared Kimberly S. Reed, CDP, Diversity and Inclusion strategist, Founder, and Chief Transformational Officer at Reed Development Group, LLC (RDG).
Since RDG’s founding eleven years ago, Reed has worked to inform and educate senior executives and hold them accountable to the organizational values of D&I practices. Her strategies bolster recruitment, retention, and professional development for women and people of color, from entry level to C-suite positions.
“Diversity is not a corrective action; it is astute business. It must be in the DNA of an organization, in order to be sustainable. Effective D&I must be deliberate, evolutionary, [tangible], and valued,” Reed explained.
“Every day, we’re required to take it to the max,” shared Reed, “meaning, everything we do, we have to do with excellence and integrity.”
Successful handling of the responsibilities of a D&I strategist requires certain leadership qualities. Reed’s experience has shown her that it’s necessary to be sensitive “to the kaleidoscope of thought and execution among your staff and clients.” In other words, in supporting their teams and programs, effective leaders and strategists recognize not only cultural diversity, but the diversity within each individual, as well.
Reed realizes that, as a brand, her efforts are, in some ways, representative of African-Americans in the US. As such, she sets her expectation of high-quality service for both herself and her team. “I am continually motivated by the legacies of my late grandmothers, Hattie V. Reed and Mary J. Morris.” reflects Reed. “They taught me, in their own ways, to be unyielding and that I can do anything. My debt to them is to be excellent and kind and to help others in my life and work.”
“It is my father and my hero, Rhyme L. Reed, who taught me to be fearless. And of my beloved mother, Barbara E. Reed, who dwells only in my soul, along with God’s spirit, who was my rock and my best friend, I will say this: I am, because she was. I emphasize the middle initial, in particular, because it represents her roots as someone following the example made by these women of strength.”
As a woman of color and a D&I leader, Reed believes that people of color cannot take being great for granted. “We have to be extraordinary and make sure we’re taking care of each other.”