Many communities are engaging with external consultants and facilitators to help address diversity, equity, and inclusion. External experts can assist in conducting audits of internal policies and procedures that may reinforce systemic inequities within the community; assessing social service gaps to identify opportunities to better serve the needs vulnerable populations; or providing training to equip staff with the skills to apply an equity lens to their work or navigate difficult conversations and conflicts in the workplace and broader community.
To support these efforts, the Mayors Caucus has compiled a list of local consultants and facilitators. Organizations are listed below in alphabetical order. Listings include contact information, areas of expertise, description of services, and lists of local clients. Organizations that are interested in being featured in this directory may fill out this form. For questions, please contact Katie Friedman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated: 9/16/2021
Avant Consulting Group
- Contact: Dr. Nicole Avant, email@example.com, (773) 443-6454
- Areas of Expertise: Uncovering and mitigating bias ; Interpersonal power dynamics ; Inclusive leadership ; Multiple level of inequities ; Institutional and structural inequities 101 ; etc. We deliver dynamic, interactive, unique, innovative, highly-engaging, eye-opening, transformative, evidence-based equity workshops to create structurally competent, self-aware employees. We provide robust assessments (e.g., climate assessments and community-based participatory research) to improve patient and client experiences, employee engagement, community engagement, and workplace culture.
- Description of Services: We are a team of academics, trained educators, and researchers with diverse specialties (e.g., bias, healthcare, anthropology, sociology, history, social work). We are a well published team with nearly 30+ years of research and education experience. We operationalize our own equity research and other evidence-based methods to facilitate challenging conversations and minimize defensiveness such as create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive learning environment; utilize experiential learning for personal awareness development and knowledge expansion; incorporate intergroup diversity to empower learners to create change; anticipate and acknowledge emotions to facilitate learning; and provide learners with an opportunity to complete reflection assignments. Additionally, we infuse personal stories as each facilitator holds multiple marginalized identities. Our workshops, trainings, consultations are developed to ensure that each individual present feels respected and honored while also acknowledging feelings of discomfort when discovering biases. We use evidence-based interventions to reduce anxiety such as self-affirmation exercises to affirm egalitarian values, communicate high standards with assurance that standards can be met, encourage individuals to externalize anxiety, name uneasiness and its effects, promote structured intergroup dialogue, and ask people to suspend judgement. Avant Consulting Group is a highly knowledgeable, forward thinking consulting firm that researches and specializes in intergroup dialogue, perspective-taking, introspection, self-assessment, and cultivating welcoming learning environments. We customize our trainings to the “the why” and goals of the organization. We provide evidence to support the need for implicit bias training specific to the type of institution and services offered. We discuss strategies to mitigate bias specific to the client’s industry. We also collect and report data (e.g., attendance, feedback) based on organizational and funding requirements. Our trainings have been successful across institutions due to our expertise and ability to customize to client needs. Additionally, we offer assessments to help clients engage in problem awareness and collaborative solutions.
- Chicago-area clients: We have worked with city, county, and state governments interacting with school districts, juvenile corrections system, health departments, and academic institutions. We have worked with: Cincinnati Public Schools ; Ohio Department of Youth Services; University of South Florida College of Pharmacy ; Hamilton County Public Health; Binghamton University – State University of New York ; UC College of Medicine Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery ; Cincinnati Health Department ; University of Illinois at College of Pharmacy.
- Contact: Lexi Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 892-4124
- Areas of Expertise: – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Consulting and Advisory; Trainings (View menu here: https://bit.ly/3y7FfY9); Programs
- Description of Services: Ethos is a full-service DEIB transformation firm that advocates for opportunity for underrepresented and underserved groups in companies. At Ethos, we give our clients the security to pursue optimism through Consulting and Advisory, Trainings, and Programs. DEIB is woven into the fabric of this daily work. It’s the impetus for us creating the best tools for organization to excel and empowering individuals to feel fully leveraged for who they are. We are strategic thinkers and creative problem-solvers with a shared mission: Give the people who drive companies the tools that they need to improve so their companies become better, too.
- Chicago-area clients: We primarily work with growing and growth-stage companies across the Chicagoland area and in a variety of industries but have also worked with larger companies (and are open to it). Our remote world has allowed us to expand nationally as well. Some of our current and past clients include: The Chicago Community Trust, The Pat Tillman Foundation, Illinois Justice Project, dscout, Fast Radius, 1871, Table XI, LogicGate, FourKites, Havas
- Contact: Maggie Heaps, email@example.com, (603) 759-7251
- Areas of Expertise: DEI & Employee Experience Consulting, Unconscious Bias/Bias in Hiring, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development, Cultural Competency, Employee Engagement, DEI Strategy, Hiring Pipeline Analysis, ERG Development & Facilitation, Transparency Reporting, and Compensation & Benefits Analysis.
- Description of Services: Holistic provides a myriad of services, primarily consulting and training, both client-facing and public-facing. We facilitate listening sessions, trainings, and ERGs as well as create employee handbooks, launch company-wide surveys, and deep dive into our clients’ hiring processes.
- Chicago-area clients: We serve clients from many different sectors, ranging from local to global, including technology recruiting companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and member-based business organizations. Some of Chicago-based clients include Northern Illinois Food Bank, Home Chef, Chicago Loop Alliance, Metropolitan Family Services, Erikson Institute, United Way of Metro Chicago, Hirewell, Imerman Angels, co, Benchprep, Ascent Regtech, Righpoint, and Loyola University Chicago’s Baumhart Center.
Josephine Kearns Inc.
- Contact: Josephine Kearns, firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 474-9334
- Areas of Expertise: Gender Inclusivity, with an emphasis on transgender, queer, and intersex identities.
- Description of Services: I provide customized gender inclusivity trainings, from basic to multi-part advanced level trainings. I also consult on gender inclusivity at the organizational level, including HR policies, databases, PR language and imagery, facilities, hiring practices, and more.
- Chicago-area clients: I work with organizations of all types – past work has included Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Evanston Public Library, Oakton Community College, Illinois Educators Association, over two dozen suburban school districts including Evanston D65, River Forest D90, Downers Grove D58, and more, as well as many private institutions including Feinberg Medical School and Northwestern University. I have also worked extensively in medical fields including Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and more.
The Kaleidoscope Group, L.L.C.
- Contact: Amy Zimmerman, email@example.com, (312) 274-9018
- Areas of Expertise: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Consulting & Strategy; DEI Assessments (Organization, Team and Individual); DEI Education Design & Delivery on all DEI Topics for all Levels (Bias, Conscious Inclusion, Allyship, Dimensional Topics (Race, Gender Identity, LGBTQIA++, Veteran, Abilities, etc.); Coaching; Specialized DEI Law Enforcement Model and Practice which includes Assessment, Strategy and Education services Transformation and Change Management DEI Services
- Description of Services: We are a certified minority owned business with NMSDC & City of Chicago. We have over 30 years of proven capability and success in DEI. We have ~50 staff of all backgrounds and functional expertise. We provide overall consulting services in 5 Strategic Focus Areas that ensure DEI success: Workforce, Workplace, Community, Marketing, & Supplier. Everything we do is tailored and built toward organization and individual success, creating change and transforming organizations, teams and individuals. OUR VISION-UNITY: A world where companies, organizations and institutions are maximized because everyone prospers in line with their capabilities. We are better together! APPROACH: REAL PEOPLE HAVING REAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT REAL ISSUES TO CREATE REAL CHANGE AND IMPACT.
- Chicago-area clients: City of Evanston, Cook County Forest Preserves, Cook County Sheriff’s Department, Cook County States Attorney Office, Cook County Juvenile Protection Services, Village of Arlington Heights, Chicago Zoological Society.
- Contact: Benjamin Viette, firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 268-5831
- Areas of Expertise: Race and racial equity; Sexual orientation and gender identity; Disability and veterans; Generational differences; Talent management life cycle improvement; Anti-harassment training; Employment policies & compliance; Unconscious bias; Conflict management; Faith in the workplace; Working internationally
- Description of Services: We organize our core service offerings into three areas: (1) Strategy & Structure, (2) Education & Experiences and (3) Bridges & Breakthroughs. Our work includes, but is not limited to strategic planning, policy and practices reviews, communications support, DEI crisis intervention, DEI Council launch and support, and training and coaching leaders and individual contributors to build internal capability and capacity.
- Chicago-area clients: inQUEST works with clients in complex, dynamic environments – from start-ups to large global organizations – in both the private and public sectors with varying dimensions of difference including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, generation, etc. inQUEST has provided a myriad of solutions to various government clients in the U.S. Most recent government clients include Cook County Assessor’s Office and City of Elgin. Some Chicago area clients (past and current) include Harris Associates, Velocity EHS, lllinois Institute of Technology, Attorney Registration & Disclipinary Commission, Jones Diversity Group, Center for Conflict Resolution, Trustmark, Erie Neighborhood House, Molex, Gift of Hope, McGarry Bowen, Belvedere Trading, CME Group, Metro Infectious Disease Consultants, The Chartis Group, Harris Associates, CDW, Kraft Heinz, Kabouter Management, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Embarc, and Institute of Real Estate Management (to name a few).
The Nova Collective
- Contact: Brynne Hovde, email@example.com, (866) 383-4463
- Areas of Expertise: Consulting & Strategy, Communications, Training, Research
- Description of Services: Consulting & Strategy: We take a 360 approach to evolving how your business operates, so that we can function as your external DEI department and deliver against your goals. We leverage our Collective to bring subject matter expertise across a range of core functions to deliver initiatives around Annual DEI roadmapping, Strategic Communications Plans, Hiring, Performance Management, Community building (resource groups), Policy and process Audits, and Supplier Diversity. Communications: How you talk about DEI is almost as important as how you do it. We build Strategic Communications Plans, Current Event Response Protocols, and D&I Lexicons. These tools give your team what they need to socialize and metabolize the internal work you’re doing and what’s going on in the world outside the workplace. Training: We’ve built explicitly Learning Pathways for individual contributors, people leaders, executives, and communicators within your organization. We provide virtual and in-person programs around topics including Social Identity & Communicating Across Difference, Bias Awareness & Microaggressions, Effective Allyship & Bystander Intervention, Developing & Coaching Multi-Partial Leaders, Leading Across Lines of Difference, Organizational Identity, and Unpacking Our Culture & Planning for Change. These programs aren’t your average “diversity training”, they are targeted professional development workshops that build vital Core Competencies for your workforce.
- Chicago-area clients: We’ve worked with a broad range of government, F500, and nonprofit organizations such as Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago, Walgreens Boots Alliance, the City of Denver, the Air National Guard, Facebook, Goodwill, and Comcast.
- Contact: Jes Scheinpflug (they/them), firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 789-7229
- Areas of Expertise: consulting, trainings, program evaluation, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, trans-affirming best practices, anti-racism and anti-oppression, trauma-informed frameworks
- Description of Services: Praxis Group is committed to providing you with tools to implement immediate change, as well as support to identify and execute the long-term strategies that lead to true organizational transformation. Our work empowers teams of any size to work more effectively by creating space for dialogue and growth. Through facilitated conversations and tailored interventions, we help to foster environments that are inclusive of all employees, clients, patients, students, and community members. When people feel safe to bring their true selves to the table, teams are more productive, innovation is encouraged, and businesses thrive. Our work is rooted in social justice and customized to your group’s unique goals, environment, and members. Collectively, our team brings over 30 years of experience in advocacy, training development and facilitation, and grassroots organizing to your project. We ground our work in the practice of cultural humility – striving always to engage with others “humbly, authentically, and from a place of learning” – rather than cultural competence. Our work centers queer people, trans and nonbinary people, people of color, women, and femmes. Our team not only reflects these identities, but prioritizes intentional listening to and feedback from communities who are most impacted by systems of oppression. Just as we encourage our clients to do the radical work of changing their team cultures, we too are invested in continuous growth. We believe that marginalized people should be paid for the labor of educating peers and colleagues about how to engage with them from a place of respect. We also believe that marginalized people should not be solely responsible for this labor; to this end we practice a dual facilitator model and strive to pair facilitators with complementing dominant and non-dominant identities. Finally, we are committed to using our access to open doors for people who are not typically included in these conversations. For us, this looks like collaborating with other groups who share our values to build power and capacity. It also looks like mentoring and training queer and trans young people and early professionals of color so that they can benefit from the work of advocacy and training.
- Chicago-area clients: Aligned Modern Health, Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Chicago Public Schools, Downers Grove Library, Facebook, Faith in Place, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Feeding America, Grainger, Higher Learning Commission, Housing Action Illinois, Leo Burnett, Museum and Science and Industry, National Lawyers Guild Chicago, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin (NOAA), Northwestern Library Systems, RefugeeOne, Swedish Covenant Hospital, US Cellular, wndr museum, Women & Children First Full list: https://praxischi.com/about/#clients
Shakti Diversity and Equity Training
- Contact: Cindu Thomas-George, email@example.com, (415) 420-1970
- Areas of Expertise: DEI, anti-racism, and intercultural competency training and professional development. DEI coaching.
- Description of Services: Shakti Diversity and Equity Training is a boutique DEI consulting firm. We offer professional development experiences and coaching services that empower business leaders and employees to cultivate an inclusive, equitable, interculturally competent, and anti-racist workplace culture. Shakti Diversity and Equity Training has served businesses across industries for over fifteen years.
- Chicago-area clients: Lake County government, CMAP, City of Elgin. I work with organizations across industries from Education to Finance.
Systemic Educational Equity, LLC
- Contact: Ivette Dubiel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 386-0141
- Areas of Expertise: Equity Audits – primarily for school districts; Equity Action Plans; Professional Development/Training on a series of DEI topics; Coaching/Mentoring for DEI personnel, and leadership teams
- Description of Services: Equity Audits = a multi-month process that involves qualitative and quantitative inquiry to identify inequities; Equity Action Plans = working with organizational teams to identify measurable, accountable and strategic ways to mitigate inequities and advance equity; Professional Development/Training = a series of DEI topics scaffolded to build capacity and deeper learning to complex paradigms of equity; Coaching/Mentoring = typically personalized based on mutually discussed goals.
- Chicago-area clients: We have clients in over 30 suburban school districts to support their equity journey. We recently expanded to include equity services to nonprofits and private corporations.