Caren Young is the founder and president of The Professional Adult, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) consulting firm, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Caren has been working with FMP over the past few months to evaluate our DE&I efforts, identify gaps, and provide recommendations for success. We recently sat down with Caren to discuss her background and the services she offers at the Professional Adult. She also shared some advice on how organizations can make their workplaces more inclusive!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?
Before getting involved in the DE&I space, I worked as a Product Manager for a software company, as well as in advertising. About three years ago, I moved into the DE&I space, utilizing my mixture of people and software skills. After a few years working in DE&I, I decided to create The Professional Adult.
What led you to want to get involved in DE&I work?
Before working in DE&I, most of the work that I did was in technology and software. After many years, I got really tired of being the only Black person in the room, especially as a manager and a leader. It was difficult to never see or interact with anybody else who looked like me. The tech industry is not always the friendliest place, which leads to high turnover. Instead of leaving, I started working with HR to help bring in more diverse individuals so that others would not have to experience the same micro and macro-aggressions that others and myself experienced.
What kind of work do you do now at The Professional Adult?
I specialize on a variety of work in the DE&I space at The Professional Adult to help organizations become assess where they currently are and help them become more inclusive. One of my main focuses is around inclusive management. Basically, if the work revolves around DE&I, I am here to help!
What do you love most about the work that you do at The Professional Adult?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work is a very new field, which is exciting. The structure of DE&I consulting has a much different, more fluid structure in comparison to other consultancy specialties. I also love getting to be a part of hearing about people’s lived experiences and giving them a space to share.
What sorts of services do you offer?
I offer a wide range of services to fit the needs of any organization. Some of my services include 1-on-1 counseling, hosting team workshops, organizational DE&I strategy, and helping organizations build and administer personalized assessments.
What advice would you share with people who want to make their organizations more inclusive?
Making real change requires bravery and genuine willingness to want to take part in the hard work. You also need to be willing and open to have the hard conversations, knowing that you may hear feedback that is uncomfortable.
So many people want to seek out a “checklist” on the exact steps it will take to make their organization more inclusive, but even the perfect checklist is not going to work if the people participating in it do not have the heart or want to put the steps into action.
Are you feeling inspired by Caren’s story and the services she offers to help make your organization more inclusive for all employees? Below, you can find her contact information and a link to her website to learn more about ways that she can help you get there!
Jessica Freim joined FMP in May 2020 as a Human Capital Intern with the AT&T COE working on organizational development and change management initiatives. Currently, she is earning her M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and enjoys living in an area with so many beautiful places to hike nearby. When she is not working or studying, Jessica enjoys cooking, exercising, and cheering on University of Alabama sports teams.