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Interview with Mariela Dabbah

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Interviews,

Mariela Dabbah

Mariela Dabbah

Key Topics:Gender Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership, Female Leadership
Location:United States

Mariela Dabbah is the founder & CEO of the Red Shoe Movement a career and leadership development company powered by a global community of women and men allies who support each other for career success. 9 years ago her company launched #RedShoeTuesday, a weekly invitation to openly support women’s career growth. It’s supported by 7 Principles that promote an inclusive culture in organizations and society.

Mariela is a renowned TEDx and international speaker, and corporate consultant. Her clients include Microsoft, Novartis, MetLife, Honeywell, Walmart, Prudential, and Celebrity Cruises among many others. She has presented at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Yale universities.

She has published 6 best-selling, award-winning books among which is Find Your Inner Red Shoe. (Penguin)

She’s a media reference on issues of gender inclusion and female leadership.

Among the many awards and recognitions she has received throughout her career: “Leader in D&I Award in an agency of any size” by the Public Relations Society of America; she’s included in the “Top 100 Influencers on Gender Equality & Diversity” by Onalytica. In 2016 she was nominated by María Elena Salinas to People en Español’s 25 Most Powerful Women list and she won the popular vote. Mariela was also honored with the “Business Leadership and D&I” award by the Latino Network Coalition, a group of ERGs of Fortune 500 companies in the NYC region.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I’ve been in the education, and connecting the dots to success for 30 years. First, with Hispanic parents immigrating to the U.S. to help them understand the school system, then for their children, to go to college and graduate, then to first generation Hispanics working at large corporations and in the last ten years for women. My focus has always been multicultural women. Each one of my books opened new opportunities as a speaker, media contributor, influencer.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

Inclusion in the workplace, levelling the playing field for 100% of the talent and leadership.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Elizabeth Nieto, Adam Grant.

Outside of key topics, who else influences you?

I read, research, listen to and watch a lot of content outside my field that help me think outside of my world. From podcasts such as Through line, Hidden Brain and Freakonomics to books on science, social science and philosophy, to TED talks on any number of topics.

How would you describe your offline influence?

An ever larger group of people is being impacted by the work and ideas of the Red Shoe Movement, so I’m constantly surprised by people all over the world who are following our principles and initiatives, and of women who owe a lot of their career growth to what they learned in our programs. I find that level of influence immeasurable but utterly satisfying.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I work with brands in all sorts of different ways. We create innovative campaigns that are organically integrated with a brand to strengthen their inclusion credentials. These go from in person activations to online webinars, speaking opportunities online or offline, and interviews. I’m open to all types of collaboration.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?

I’m in touch with a lot of influencers who work at Fortune 500 companies and boutique companies and hearing their challenges helps me foresee what their future issues will be. For example, right when the pandemic hit in March, we launched a special campaign #InclusionIsNotOnPause to remind everyone to keep their eyes on the ball because women were going to suffer a lot more than men as a result of the pandemic. Many months later, the research proved us right. My team is extremely diverse and each one keeps an eye on different fronts so we’re usually ahead of the game in the fronts that we care about. Another example, when the UN launched “Ring the bell for gender equality” a few years ago, we supported the initiative from day one and because the #1 contributor to their hashtag that first year. After that, we created our own initiative to echo theirs while bringing it closer to our consumers.

What brands have you worked with?

Our clients include: Microsoft, Novartis, MetLife, Sanofi, Walmart, Prudential, Coca-Cola, Honeywell, and other Fortune 500 companies.

Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?

I am interested in attending or speaking at an event the most. However, I am also keen to provide a quote for content or news article and to participate in a podcast or webinar.

What are your passions outside of work?

I’m a fiction writer and I love dancing. I’m currently taking salsa lessons with my partner.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Via email.