Would it surprise you to know that 58 percent of managers said they DIDN’T receive any management training?
This means that while they may be great at what they do, many aren’t so great at developing the individuals they are leading. The truth is there are many leaders in organizations big and small that are not equipped to be the best leader. They have the skills to complete their job tasks, many times exceeding expectations in that area but aren’t given the tools to be great leaders.
So how can these leaders be better trained and prepared to help develop the next set of leaders?
Meet Dorothy Enriquez, communications expert and leadership development guru. Known for her effective communication skills and leadership development talents, Dorothy is making team building, personal development and growth fun and engaging through The Communication Strategist brand.
Tell me about yourself and your business.
I’m Dorothy Enriquez, the principal and founder of The Communication Strategist, a Learning and Leadership Development Firm. I think everything about my journey has been a catalyst to creating and running this business. My path has been an interesting one to say the least. I was born in Italy and raised in Japan. But the last name throws people off. I’m Belizean, from Central America and while I lived in the U.S. as a small kid, I spent my formative years in Japan and didn’t return to the U.S. until I was 16 years old.
I went to college in America and majored in Speech Communication with a minor in French. After graduating, I went to school in Montreal to become fluent in French and upon my return I started graduate school, where I majored in Human Communication and pursued a double emphasis in Organizational and Interpersonal Communication. I taught at the collegiate level for two years which set the ball rolling for my passion for training and development. All of that happened before I turned 23!
I spent the next 12 years in corporate honing my skills in training, facilitation, instructional design and leadership, which is how I gained the acumen, skill and knowledge to launch The Communication Strategist in 2016. I then took the leap and went full time in August 2018.
Speaking of becoming a full-time entrepreneur, what was your inspiration behind it? Did you make a plan to leave the corporate world or did it come suddenly?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I entered corporate at 23 years old and within 60 days, I knew it wasn’t for me. Honestly, 2018 wasn’t the first time I quit my job to pursue my dreams. It was the second. The first time was in 2012. I took the leap of faith and 6 months later was promptly back in corporate. I learned a lot that time and promised myself that when I took the leap again, I’d be more prepared.
What’s interesting is that currently, I’m right at the one year mark and all of that first experience played a pivotal role in helping me to be more successful the second time around. But what was pretty wild this time was that I launched full time in the midst of a divorce and bouncing a newborn on my lap. I’m thrilled I did all the things when I did.
As a mother and entrepreneur, how do you juggle the day to day?
There are elements of my day that are pretty routine, especially now that my daughter goes to daycare. I finally enrolled her when she was about 8 months old, which freed up my day quite a bit. I tend to manage by the week versus by the day because it seems easier for my brain to process.
During the week, I have days dedicated to doing deskwork which could include follow up, doing research or administrative things that don’t excite me. Throughout the week I have face-to-face meetings, coaching sessions, custom workshops and training sessions, as well as conference calls or networking events. I love that every day is different and I enjoy that I get to start and end each day spending time with my little bun in the sun.
What is the biggest barrier for women, especially black women, in leadership roles? How can this barrier be overcome?
I think one of the biggest barriers for women of color in leadership roles is building diverse teams. Here’s the thing, naturally we hire people who look like us. White people do it all the time. And folks don’t really blink about it. However when people of color, especially women, do it, they personally feel quite a bit of stress around the matter. Their peers and leaders tend to highlight the visual diversity present on their teams.
All of the research shows that diverse teams are more innovative, productive, creative and engaged. However, because we are so used to seeing, working in and experiencing homogenous teams or teams where we are the ‘only’, a diverse leader will sometimes follow suit and feel pressure to hire a majority white team to avoid drawing undesired attention.
I think the best way to overcome this barrier is, as a leader, if you decide to create a diverse team you need to demonstrate your ability to get results and add value within the organization. The numbers will not lie. And you can tie in your results and impact into whatever Diversity & Inclusion goals the company has in place to show how you’re positively impacting the bottom line.
What’s your biggest win in business?
The Professional Development Series that I created with Be Noble Group. This 8-week program is impactful and rewarding and it is an opportunity for me to shine on the non-profit side of the house to close the skills gap. Ultimately, there is a gap between the expectations of employment and how talent, young and seasoned, show up in the workplace when it comes to communication, public speaking, writing, self-awareness and relationship management. Our program is designed to provide opportunities for attendees to get ideas, tips and tricks on how to show up in a more impactful and powerful way at work.
What’s next for The Communication Strategist?
I’m working on virtual programming for 2020 and being able to expand TCS outside of Wisconsin and I’m thrilled. The idea of traveling and being able to show my baby new things along the way excites me. And 2020 is about to be lit! Taking my business online will be new territory for me, but I have a great support team in place to help me execute with brilliance.