“I returned to the U.S. at a time when our failure to acknowledge and address various forms of marginalization and violence against PoC and LGBTQ people were the top news stories. This remains the case. Now more than ever, I’ve committed myself to exploring the intersection of culture, civic engagement and corporate governance and strategy.”
Meet Eboné. Don’t look to her to offer your typical elevator pitch: “I never start out with what I do. It betrays more about the person doing the asking and how they actually want to categorize you. Instead, I offer that I love talking — I want to be a professional people person. That I love dj’ing and scuba, reading, and hopping time zones. And I ask them: “What are you into?”
That said, Eboné is a business consultant who helps companies plan and achieve culture change. Prior to engaging on this entrepreneurial endeavor, Eboné was an international corporate transactions attorney who worked in Europe and Asia. She’s now a semi-recovering attorney. Eboné is a proud east-coaster, born in Miami, raised in the D.C. metro area, schooled in New England, and currently residing in Brooklyn. You can reach her via email, and follow her on Twitter.
What Does She Do?
“You have to interrogate where you are. Where are the blind spots? Be ruthless. You might know *who* you should hire to join your company, but, consider: They’d never want to work there.”
There are new rules and new laws and new consumer expectations that are reshaping the way companies are structured and how they engage with the public. Eboné works with companies to increase their cultural competency, giving them a competitive advantage of being a 21st-century company.
“A large part of what I do, whether it be negotiating deals, engaging in strategic planning, reimagining corporate governance approaches, and helping companies and organizations understand why they need to understand and respond to society and culture, is facilitating the process of Getting to Yes. That is, bringing together diverse stakeholders, creating a common language and framework, and managing expectations in order to move all parties to achieve the desired goals. Behind the scenes, it means developing project implementation strategies, managing workflows and constructing and leading teams to fulfill project objectives.”
How Did She Get Into This Work?
“I remember going to an ERA march when I was just six or seven. Holding a green and white circular sign — Equal Rights Now! My mother always made me aware and was herself aware, that we had to be civically engaged. She went to Spellman and passed this part of her DNA onto me.”
Growing up in the DC area, Eboné’s mom saw to it that she was exposed to whatever culture was on offer – from seeing Lena Horne at the Kennedy Center to weekly trips to the museum.
“I was a scholarship student at Holton-Arms School (now well-known beyond the Beltway, thanks to Brett Kavanaugh) and at Brandeis University. Intersectionality, economics, race, sexuality, and gender have all played out for me in every single space. And that very much informs how I approach and see things because I’ve had to engage with different types of people and code-switch.”
During her senior year at Brandeis, Eboné was awarded a “Humanity in Action” fellowship — a global network of students and established leaders committed to promoting human rights, diversity and active citizenship — enabling her to see herself as a Global Citizen more than merely aspirationally.
Eboné graduated from Fordham Law during the financial crisis. While a job freeze prevented her from accepting a job offer at the Secret Service, she knew that she had no interest in litigation. “I did not summer at firms.” Instead, she worked at the War Crimes Tribunal in Cambodia and then the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
Through a friend pursuing a Fulbright in Khazakstan she took a job in Mongolia for three years, focusing on mergers & acquisitions, market entry, and risk mitigation. As this work was winding down, she took note of the ascension of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo and began to think about how her experience set could be leveraged to design and implement cultural competency.
“I returned to the United States at a time when our failure to acknowledge and address various forms of marginalization and violence against people of color and LGBT people were the top news stories. This remains the case. Now more than ever, I’ve committed myself to exploring the intersection of culture, civic engagement, and corporate governance and strategy.”
How Did She Come to Civic Hall?
As Eboné was thinking through how to manifest her new core focus, Civic Hall stalwart Teresa Gonzalez suggested joining the community. “I checked out the website, had a series of conversations with Jessica [Quinn] and Fiona, and here I am.”
“I came to Civic Hall seeking a community of social entrepreneurs with whom to share ideas, discover mutual points of interest and help each other along the path of building our companies. Also, accountability: Programs and initiatives that keep me accountable to my goals and timelines for building my company.”
What Project Is She Working On?
Eboné is currently creating the DEI plan for a handful of New York cultural institutions; building the Human Resource Department (staff and policies) for an international security and investigations firm; and guiding the legal and corporate compliance structure and organizational culture of the philanthropic arm of an international members-only club.
What is She Reading?
Eboné is a voracious reader. She’s currently re-reading Robert A. Caro’s five-volume opus on Lyndon B. Johnson: “Every volume is a Bible, and in 8-point font. [LBJ’s] such an incredible character of history We don’t appreciate breadth of his blueprint.”
She adds that the times demand, as a black queer woman, that she revisit such classics as Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider and James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Eboné’s also a stan of Grey’s Anatomy, and Narcos.
What Is Her Ask and Offer of Civic Hall?
“I’m excited to engage. I like being of service to others. In what ways can I help companies and individuals here?”
It’s only been about six months since Eboné intentionally pivoted into the DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) space. She is beginning to look for help in building out a website and online presence, and has a few ideas for technology – yes, an app is involved – which she’d love to collaborate on with Civic Hall’s many makers.
Eboné’s also been planning a podcast for the past two years. Look for upcoming announcements from her!