I believe we can design a better future
I believe we can design a future that makes the most of a full mix of people to sustainably address our most complex challenges in business and society. As a business strategist, I turn breakthrough Diversity & Inclusion strategies into business success stories. When leaders are not achieving meaningful results in what they care about most, I help them design new, inclusive ways to make the most of a full mix of people and achieve groundbreaking outcomes through innovation, integration, transformation, and impact. I create fresh value with D&I by working with progressive leaders around the world to:
• Design custom strategies and measure the value they create
• Lead innovation labs and propel deep, lasting change
• Connect vanguard people and practices via speaking, coaching, teaching, and writing.
Progressive Diversity and Inclusion strategies can enable, enhance, and accelerate the outcomes you and your organization must achieve.
For more than 2 decades, my work has made a difference with leaders and their global and local companies, international membership and research organizations, professional organizations, multinational non- governmental organizations, local non-profits and start ups, international development organizations, regional governments, universities, and more. A sample of these organizations include:
Why I am Committed to Diversity and Inclusion Breakthroughs
At my core, I am driven by a strong desire to do work that matters. I am drawn to D&I breakthroughs that bring out the best in you and your organizations to make the meaningful difference you want and need to make. This requires continuous innovation to bring a new lens to the familiar, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover groundbreaking understandings, actions and impacts.
To design breakthroughs, I question the status quo, scratching below the surface to examine systems and structures along with individual behaviours and group interactions. I collaborate with a wide variety of partners, and I sample broadly across disciplines and cultures to find new ideas to integrate into my work. I seek new ways of working to achieve better outcomes, and I thrive when cultivating potential in others, individually and collectively, in ways that enable shifts in how you create worthwhile value to make your workplaces and your world better.
Launching and leading D&I strategies in both premier organizations and promising start-ups across sectors and around the world has emphasized to me the value in building new paths to elevated outcomes. I have also gained valuable experience from being on Boards of Directors, including with the remarkable Tostan organization. My education, experiences, and network of experts, best practices and research provide me the agency to thoughtfully and rigorously engage in dynamic paths of exploration, ideation, and implementation of generative solutions that address the complexity of contemporary D&I challenges and opportunities. I bring all of this to my work with an array of organizations and to my role as a Senior Fellow with The Conference Board (US).
If we are satisfied with the status quo, we can keep doing what we’ve already done in D&I and get the same kind of positive, but slow and insufficient results. I cannot settle for such thin progress in D&I. The stakes are too high. Therefore, I believe innovations in D&I are necessary to accelerate positive outcomes for individuals, for organizations, and for society.
We can and must design innovative solutions. That is why I employ coaching, learning experiences, transformation labs, and other ways of working that help people like you create new and customized ways of making the most of D&I so that we can achieve better, more rapid results that matter.
What experts are saying about my work
“Rebekah can envision where D&I work should be in the next 50 years and execute what needs to be done today to lay the foundation in systems, structures and more importantly, mindset…She does this with the grace and skill of a diplomat and the authenticity of a close friend—a rare and refreshing combination” - Nadia Younes, Global Group Adviser, Diversity and Inclusion, EDGE, Switzerland
"Rebekah is a leading expert in D&I and brings important and innovative ideas and insights to everything she does, consistently pushing into new territory. She is one of the best listeners I've encountered, listening actively and encouraging others to share their thoughts and ideas as openly as possible." - Alison Maitland, co-author of Why Women Mean Business and Future Work, United Kingdom
“This is some of the most innovative Inclusion and strategy work being done in our field today, Rebekah. A true pleasure to follow you, breakthrough after breakthrough. Kudos.” -Mary Farmer, Management Professor and Consultant, Switzerland and Canada
“It’s my great pleasure to recommend Ms. Rebekah Steele as a coach to individuals who wish to grow as D&I lead or change agent. After completing six times of 30-minute session with her, I find the experience extremely fulfilling, pleasant and precious." - Hisako Kaneko, Chief Diversity Officer, Japan
“Rebekah has changed paradigms about what diversity is about, who it applies to (everyone) and how it can be leveraged to yield tangible business results.” - Michelle Grocholsky, Senior Manager, Client Experience, BMO Canada
“Rebekah brings a highly evolved and integrated systems approach with contemporary leadership, supportive coaching and a high involvement mindset… an always refreshing and authentic viewpoint.” - Tim Galusha, Principal, TMG Associates USA
"Thank you for an inspiring and thought provoking salon. My mind is still spinning with insights and a fresh awareness of how much more effective I and the charities I'm involved with could be in truly taking a community-based, inclusive approach." - Karen Greve-Young, Director Strategic Initiatives, MaRS Discovery District, Canada
In completing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at William and Mary, I built a strong understanding of organizational dynamics, cultural norms, and social stratification challenges, as well as a foundation of quantitative and qualitative research and statistical methods. Some of my most engaging Sociology classes had titles like Social Problems, Deviance, and Changing Gender Roles, but I also loved the classes I took in Philosophy, Biology, Ethics, Writing, White Water Canoeing, Adventure Games (featuring a high ropes course and similarly daunting challenges), and my multidisciplinary Honors studies wherein I took a special interest in examining the intersection of gender diversity, cultural diversity, and philosophical relativism. William and Mary’s liberal arts setting provided an interdisciplinary, systems thinking orientation fostering my continuing cross-fertilization of ideas and heuristics across disciplines, rigorous critical thinking skills, and a systemic approach to sustainable change. It also reinforced my broad curiosity and eagerness to learn.
I continued my education with a Master's degree from the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois which built my base of strategic human resources management capabilities and the beginnings of my business acumen. My coursework was supplemented by an internship wherein I designed a marketing plan for a Fortune 100 company's Training and Development Centre of Excellence which had recently assumed P&L responsibility. My classroom learning was also augmented by an independent exploration of strategic diversity management as the field of diversity began to "grow up" to be about more than compliance with equity and human rights regulations and more than valuing differences. At that time the field was in an early phase of emerging as a business imperative and business enabler.
Continuing professional development has included Executive Education at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and the College of Executive Coaching, as well as courses in marketing, finance, leadership, and social innovation generation. I am also certified in Myers-Briggs, Six Sigma, and DeBono Parallel Thinking.
I have a high appetite for learning and a voracious appetite for opportunities to apply my learning and working experiences to make a difference with results that matter in Diversity and Inclusion.
MLIR, University of Illinois, USA
BA, William and Mary, USA
Certifications & Professional Development
College of Executive Coaching
University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business - Executive Education
Professional Development courses including marketing, finance, leadership, change management and social innovation generation