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50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2021

Path Forward Consulting — An innovative talent management firm helping organizations shift from good intentions to business impact

Path Forward Consulting — An innovative talent management firm helping organizations shift from good intentions to business impact

Business owners are always looking for ways to increase overall effectiveness and profitability while ensuring company growth. Organizational effectiveness is one way organizations focus on their physical and human resources, and leadership as a way to manage productivity. Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is one critical element of this equation.

Path Forward Consulting, LLC (PFC) is a talent management firm that delivers products and services that shift organizational behavior from good intentions to business impact. It offers consulting, training, and coaching services in the areas of leadership development, organizational effectiveness, diversity, and inclusion. The company is a trusted partner for many of the nation’s most respected Fortune-ranked companies, small and mid-sized organizations, government agencies, and non-profits.We interviewed Allison V. Manswell, the Founder and Chief Results Officer of Path Forward Consulting, to understand more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:

Q. Why was the company established, and how has it transformed over the years?

Path Forward Consulting was established as the solution to the challenges I faced as the decision-maker responsible for leadership development, organizational effectiveness, diversity, and inclusion. As a naturally creative person, I figured out that entrepreneurship was the best option for me to bring my bright ideas to life. My goal was to create the boutique firm I always wanted to work with. Over the years, our team, portfolio of solutions and methodology have expanded. We have transformed from predominantly face-to-face delivery to the addition of an engaging virtual instructor-led model. However, our commitment to listening and responding to client needs has stayed the same.

Q. How do you equip leaders for challenges and responsibility through your service offerings?

When designed and deployed strategically, training is one of the organizational interventions. Our course topics are the result of over 25 years of experience in sophisticated work environments where I have observed the needs and tracked trends. Secondly, our design methodology is the biggest example of innovation and our ‘secret sauce.’ Each course zeroes in on the most important elements for the topic researched and a specific way of thinking about behavior change. Then we provide tangible action items that can be applied immediately.

Q. What are your signature speeches, and what are the highlights of them?

Our most popular course is called Silence is a Statement: Understanding Race in the Workplace. This course helps participants understand critical context elements of why race continues to be such a difficult topic to talk about and solve for. We experience the workplace as either a member of the corporate majority or corporate minority based on the relative number of people in our ethnic group. The highlight of this course is understanding the experience of the race from a perspective other than your own. This deeper level of awareness acts as a catalyst of its own to improve our comfort level, demonstrate empathy and gain skills for difficult conversations.

Q. What insight does your book Listen In provide?

My book Listen In: Crucial Conversations on Race in the Workplace provides a unique opportunity to have a fishbowl experience of race. This means that readers are given insight into the thought process and invited into conversations they otherwise would not be privy to. As a novel, it is really two books in one. The five main characters provide career development coaching for people of color and leadership advice for those who lead people of color. The sixth main character is a white CEO who commits to racial equity in his organization. Through this storyline, readers get business consulting on how to do this effectively.

Q. How does Path Forward Consulting  ensure innovation as part of your brand?

We have integrated innovation as a value, vocabulary and an everyday practice. First, it is coded into the company’s DNA to constantly think of new ways of looking at an issue or idea. Secondly, we use language to differentiate between a ‘bright idea’ (random brainstorm; not fully thought out), a ‘real idea’ (has been thought through)  and  a ‘thing’ (an idea that has come to life in a real way). Finally, our daily practices support spending a designated amount of time on something that wasn’t on the agenda but needs other’s input to be completed. 

Q. How satisfied are your clients with the services you provide?

Since 99% of our business comes from referrals, I would say that clients are exceptionally satisfied. We have volumes of individual feedback on every course that covers facilitation, content, and impact. Our scores are consistently in the top 90% of agree and strongly agree. Most of our clients come back to us as thought leaders for strategy development and implementation and ongoing support in the implementation phase.

Meet the Founder

Allison V. Manswell is the Founder and Chief Results Officer of Path Forward Consulting. She is a seasoned talent management executive with over 25 years of proven experience in human resources, organizational effectiveness, employee and leadership development, diversity, and inclusion interventions with Fortune-ranked companies, mid-size organizations, and boutique consulting firms. Ms. Manswell has grown the firm from a small start-up to a globally recognized industry leader recognized as Top 10 Leadership Development Firm by HR Tech Outlook Magazine, Top 10 Diversity & Inclusion Firm by HR Tech Outlook Magazine, and Global Excellence Award: Most Influential Race Specialist (USA) by Acquisitions International Magazine.

She holds the industry credential of Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) from the Association for Talent Development. In addition, Ms. Manswell holds an MBA in Leadership and serves as a Faculty Member for the Forum for Workplace Inclusion Coaching Center. Her career began with a bachelor’s degree in justice and Law Enforcement and roles with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Revenue Canada.

“Our senior consultants and support team are a group of seasoned professionals with extensive industry and global experience in various disciplines and industries.”

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