What It's About
An expert in workforce development and empowerment strikes out on her own.
Words of Wisdom
Akilah has built up multiple sources of income within the consultancy, and this is critical. But it can also be a challenge when you’re getting started. In the long run, you want these different sources, but when you’re starting, focus on your flagship service and build from there. Trying to start it all at once is like trying to start three businesses at once.
The Center for Women Policy Studies found 21% of women of color surveyed did not feel they were free to be "themselves at work." The same study found more than one-third of women of color—ranging from 28-44%—believed that they must “play down” their race or ethnicity to succeed.
Notes from Chris
For Dr. Akilah Cadet, her dream job had become a nightmare. She had been promoted to a high position at her hospital-sector company and worked tirelessly to secure funding for future projects. But, as soon as the money hit the company’s bank account, Akilah found herself demoted to her old position and never paid for her work. She felt like she’d been chewed up and spat out by her boss, and couldn’t figure out why it had happened. Was it because she was a woman or color? Had she just been used for her skills? Akilah spent months searching for answers to these questions and felt a gaping hole in her life. Her sense of purpose and self-worth had been called into question, and she didn’t know where to go. She tried therapy to overcome the depression but eventually decided to take a two-week trip to Thailand to escape and spent some time connecting with herself. It was here that she would find the answers to her questions, and the side hustle which would change her life. She was tired of racism, sexism, and invisible glass ceilings in the workplace. It was time for her to create a job where she was calling the shots and could ensure other people never felt the same way she had. To bring this to life, Akilah came up with the idea for a consulting company, which she called Change Cadet. She wanted to go into workplaces and show people how to create a more diverse workplace environment so that more women and people of color could work their way to the top. She was studying for a doctorate in Leaders and Organizational Behavior at the time and felt like it was the perfect application of her skills. One decision she made early on was to ensure her branding and services were only targeted to women or people of color. Although she knew this would be cutting out a lot of potential customers she knew this was the demographic she could best serve. This decision has turned out to be profitable. In 2018, Akilah earned over $240,000! Change Cadet has already helped plenty of people and businesses overcome these internal barriers, though. By helping introduce more diverse staff structures, creating leadership development programs, and working one on one with clients, she’s seen people take leaps in their career and business results. She says she loves nothing more than seeing the light bulb in someone’s head come on as they make a life-changing realization. Akilah wants to take Change Cadet national and have an impact on women and people of color all across the country.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Change Cadet: Don't let a glass or concrete ceiling keep you from reaching your potential—learn more about what Akilah is doing over on her website!
- Introvert Builds Networking Experience to Help Women: A Denver transplant learns new skills and creates a networking group that now includes a podcast, magazine, and $30,000 in side income
- Engineer Creates "Inertia Project" for Women: How a former engineer loses in Las Vegas and redesigns the trajectory of her life, creating an impressive hustle along the way
- Attorney Defends Women’s Right To Good Content: This attorney was frustrated with the content the media creates for modern women—so she started her own magazine to represent what women like her wanted to read
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