Allison Manswell, Founder and CRO (Chief Results Officer)
Path Forward Consulting is a rare breed in the diversity and inclusion (D&I) industry in that the company was founded by Allison Manswell who has lived twenty years of her life on each side of the fence. Having been a consumer of D&I services in the most recent part of her career, Allison closely relates to the problems highlighted by her clients. Unsurprisingly, Path Forward is celebrated in the market as a company that simplifies the most difficult conversations, an attribute which has led the company to harness a clientele acquired through word of mouth only.
Allison has carefully knitted Path Forward’s services based on her previous experiences. The company offers consulting, training, and coaching designed to align with clients’ needs and find solutions to their problems.
A Cornucopia of Efficient Solutions
Through consulting, Path Forward aims to understand the root cause of the clients’ challenges and the outcomes that they aim for. Based on the findings, it conducts assessments in the areas of diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion (aka DEBI assessment), leadership 360 assessment, and inclusive hiring, selectively. Once the client’s problems are defined, Path Forward delves into zeroing in on the right intervention as part of the solution.
While different organizations restrict training to a checkbox, Path Forward has spent years trying to grasp the organizational development change that companies strive to achieve through training. Pondering upon this matter, the company has realized that unless people are motivated to change themselves, organizational impact will never occur. “To that end, we use training as the catalyst for change, not just an event that exists in a world of its own,” stresses Allison, who is also the Chief Results Officer at Path Forward.
During the training, Path Forward aims to engage people from across the organizational hierarchy, from senior executive leaders to middle-level managers through individual contributors. Employees are trained on aspects that will help them upskill themselves and bring new changes within them for improved performance.
We use training as the catalyst for change, not just an event that exists in a world of its own
“We couldn’t be more proud of the quality training we offer based on its impact in terms of variety, curriculum and depth of facilitation,” says Allison. The company offers a range of training topics in the areas of unconscious bias, race, gender, generations, inclusion experiences, inclusive leadership and traditional development. The consulting team also customizes and creates content for clients.
“In addition to the in-depth knowledge of race and the related aspects, I am very proud of how my book, ‘Listen In: Crucial Conversations on Race in the Workplace,’ which has been the gold standard for companies that are ready to address race in a comprehensive way and individuals looking to expand their career,” adds Allison. She has designed a separate inclusion portfolio through which Path Forward offers inclusion services regardless of the type of diversity in concern. What’s more, the company offers additional courses and consulting on inclusive leadership for HR and talent management. It also provides experiences for senior executive leadership in the form of a customized curriculum. “We are also well known for our breadth of our curriculum,” says Allison.
However, all problems cannot be solved through training alone. This is when Path Forward moves to coaching. Through its coaching service, the company addresses employees’ behavioral and systemic challenges, which need consistent engagement, by assigning a dedicated coach for long-term engagement.
Client-Centric Business Model
Apart from the quality offerings, it is Path Forward’s client engagement strategy that draws Fortune ranked companies, large non-profits, and Ivy league academia closer to the company. Path Forward gains knowledge of the client’s journey thus far and compares their current operations to the industry best practices. This helps the company to steer clear of assumptions and prescribe the right solution that meets the clients where they are in their journey.
Path Forward Consulting maintains a work culture that is high on energy and passion. Allison highlights how the team is trained to listen to clients’ needs and make notes in real time. Allison calls it ‘Napkin Effect’ because she sometimes uses napkins on the table to note key points and brings back those ideas to the ‘lightning session’, the company’s brainstorming meeting. After the meeting, the ideas are shared with clients, polished, and given the shape of a new course or content material. With such a zealous approach to delivering high client value, Path Forward is able to keep content fresh and stay ahead of the market’s needs.