As founder and CEO of Catapult Change since 2010, Ford Lyn's past clients include executives from Fortune 500 companies like Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Ralph Lauren, Netflix, and Johnson & Johnson.
As a Black, queer woman who is known as one of the top executive coaches for Black women, Ford Lyn has a particular knack for helping executives (and the companies they shepherd) who find themselves as the “first." As companies work to foster diversity within their organizations and create better, more inclusive workplaces, these “first” leaders are often looked to for their leadership, expertise, and identity classification — which can create unique challenges.
"As we ascend to positions of power, Black executives often feel particularly compelled to use our positional power to advocate for the advancement of others from historically marginalized groups. That advocacy requires emotional energy and unpaid labor that is often invisible to others," Ford Lyn tells The Advocate Channel.
Ford Lyn coaches her clients from experience: as an out Black, lesbian and breast cancer survivor, Ford Lyn has had to work to practice what she preaches with regard to mindfulness, self-advocacy, and calling in the right support. Her day to day visibility as a lesbian is critical to uplifting others, leading by example, and empowering queer youth.
As she explains, "When we excel, we help the teams and organizations we are a part of to excel as well. However, if those around us don’t know our ambitions, they don't know how to reward us in the ways that matter to us. For some people, that reward may be a change in responsibilities, for others a change in title and for others still it means a change in remuneration. When we advocate well for ourselves it gives our sponsors, mentors and allies the information they need to get us the rewards we want."
As a queer, Black leader, Ford Lyn has been a key coalition-builder for communities of color nationwide since holding her first executive leadership position at the age of 25. In addition to her work as an executive coach primarily for women, Ford Lyn is a sought-after consultant for major companies interested in incorporating more holistic and organic diversity, equity, and inclusion practices into their workplace cultures.
"At a time when acknowledging my identity and the existence of my marriage is under attack, showing up proudly as a member of the queer community makes our erasure just a bit harder. When people meet me, one of the first things I often reference is my wife as a way to make visible this part of my identity and to continue to normalize same sex relationships," Ford Lyn continues.
Lesbian Visibility Week is a celebration of all LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people launched by DIVA Media Group, Europe’s leading LGBTQ media group. With an digital audience of 250,000 people, DIVA has found that LGTBQ+ women are increasingly felt misunderstood and under-supported — both inside and outside of the queer community.
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