At a Glance
Gena Cox, Inclusive Leader Coach & Speaker, Feels Human, LLC
Focus Areas: Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership, Social, Business Strategy
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Gena Cox
Latest Content: 3 ways to drive inclusion in organizations, 5 Strategies to Infuse D&I into Your Organization, Gena Cox: Building Inclusive Organizations, Leading inclusion starts at the top: A blueprint for inspired organizations.
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Gena Cox, Inclusive Leader Coach & Speaker at Feels Human, LLC.
Dr. Gena Cox is an organizational psychologist, executive coach, speaker, and author of the new book Leading Inclusion, a groundbreaking guidebook for corporate leaders who want to build inclusive organizations from the top down. Her new book, released on October 11, won the 2022 NYC Big Book Award, being recognized in the Nonfiction and Business-General categories. Gena holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of South Florida and is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach (PCC).
She is featured in Thinkers360’s Special Reports 175 Women B2B Thought Leaders You Should Follow in 2023 and The Year’s Most Popular Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders (1H’22).
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
GC: I see the world through the lens of a mother, immigrant, and organizational psychologist. I started my Ph.D. when my daughter was two years and just after being divorced. I am proud that my education enabled me to provide for her and still have a meaningful career. I was born in England, grew up in Barbados, and have lived in the United States for decades. Those varied perspectives influence my thinking and my work. I aim to improve workplaces by helping leaders see how they can lay the human-centered foundation that enhances workplace inclusion and drives positive day-to-day experiences for all employees.
Thinkers360: What are your current responsibilities and what’s a typical day look like?
GC: I am an advisor to leaders; my services include coaching and speaking. I spent most of my time in the advisor/coach role, working directly with individual leaders who want to enhance their impact and influence to achieve specific outcomes. My speaking work aligns with my advisory/coaching work; I deliver keynotes and participate in fireside chats with leaders that generally focus on the future of work and race/ethnicity, and gender inclusion and equity. These are also the issues I wrote about in my award-winning and best-selling book, Leading Inclusion. On a typical day, I spent 50% of my time interacting with clients, about 25% of my time writing or creating new content and 25% of my time in new business development activities like talking to prospective clients and responding to validated requests for proposals.
Thinkers360: What’s the favorite part of your current role?
GC: I am foremost a leadership geek, so I love the coaching part of my work. I get a lot of satisfaction from watching my clients progress toward their goals, feeling more confident that they can conquer the next challenge that comes their way. I love watching my clients become better leaders.
Thinkers360: What is the most difficult aspect of your work?
GC: I focus on leadership, and under that broad umbrella, I help leaders with various topics. My work regarding race/ethnicity and gender inclusion is very challenging. It is evident that some people believe this topic is taboo, but if they were in my shoes (a Black woman who has studied workplace behavior for decades), they would understand that we must talk about these issues, or else a portion of our workforce will continue to have very negative day-to-day experiences at work. I believe any leader who thinks about this will realize that the topic is urgent and critical and an essential part of effective leadership.
Thinkers360: How do you utilize Thinkers360?
GC: I use Thinkers360 to help me get the word out about my expertise and to find potential collaborators for my thought leadership work. I love to share the work of others who do complementary work.
Editor’s Note: See Gena’s Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio.
Thinkers360: How do you like to work with brands who wish to engage you as a thought leader?
GC: I want to work with brands that have taken the time to understand my unique perspective on leadership and inclusion. I honor my clients by doing the same; I become immersed in their business so I can understand the larger context and the nuances that help me deliver customized solutions that can be optimally impactful.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for upcoming thought leaders?
GC: A thought leader has both a point of view and a way to deliver that point of view to change the world. And a thought leader must be someone with whom observers believe they can build a connection. I advise upcoming thought leaders to focus not just on speaking their truth clearly and loudly but to do their work in a way that burnishes their reputations. Thought leaders must be careful about how they communicate and what they share. And my final piece of advice is to read voraciously. A thought leader must be up-to-date on what is happening in the world.
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