Lila Asante-Appiah

Certified Professional Coach | Certified Career Coach

Earlier in my career, I was drawn to managing and influencing others. My interest in management became stronger as my scope of work responsibilities grew. During this same period, I was mentored by several wonderful senior leaders. As I advanced in my career and assumed formal leadership roles, I quickly recognized my opportunity and responsibility to positively move forward the organization's agenda through others.

At this same time, I began taking note of what leadership really looked like; how it played out and was embodied by various leaders from all walks of life. This influenced me in several ways: my personal values and desire to become more self-aware; my posture towards others; and lastly, the affect that organization leaders had on employees. I set a goal to positively influence individuals so that they would want to bring their best selves to work.

What I observed throughout my earlier years, shaped how I chose to lead my work teams and treat people who were apart of the organization. I knew that I had a responsibility to own my role and bring other junior employees along so that they were aware of the value that they brought to the team. All the while I was learning more and more about how to lead from my most authentic self. This was probably the most difficult for me as I was often ‘the only’; only female and/or only person of color on the leadership team. My lived experiences have served as a catalyst to champion and honor individual's differences as well as embody diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. Putting people first is not merely a nice to do – it encapsulates in three words, why doing so requires intentional efforts to increase representation as it relates to all diversity dimensions, establishing and modeling inclusive practices that increase belonging, and seeking out ways to strengthen access and opportunities for individuals whose voices have historically been silenced or ignored.

I believe that leaders have an opportunity for ownership. This simply means that leaders have a responsibility to look over their shoulder, reach back, and tangibly bring others along with them. It's about purposefulness and can result in dual benefits for the leader and the junior employee.

Case in point; I have always had a great desire to and have helped young professionals, particularly emerging female leaders, find their path. I recognize that despite the strides that have been made to close the gender gap, there's still much work to be done. My experience has been that male professionals are mentored - or better yet - sponsored by an executive earlier in their careers than their female counterparts. This enables male professionals to be placed in the promotion pipeline at faster rates than female professionals. What drives me is to make this look different in the future. Preparing female professionals at the beginning stages of their careers is key. I see this as a catalyst for change. In large part, this is what drove me to start Purposeful Pursuits. I realize that the change I want to see starts with me and I intend to own it.

I have spent the last 25 years in diverse organizations across various sectors as a business executive who has achieved success through leading and influencing others. I am a consultant, professional coach and a trusted advisor with expertise in human resources, diversity/equity/inclusion, and organization development.

I acquired my bachelor's degree in management and a Masters in organization development, both from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL.  I have several certifications in human resources (PHR), talent management (SWP) and professional coaching (CPC) and career coaching (CCC) credentialed by the World Coach Institute. I am honored to be identified by Corp! Magazine as a Business Diversity Leader award honoree for 2021.

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