“Never lose your why. Stay anchored to it. It fuels our fire.” —Gwendolyn J. Tucker, NAWBO Memphis member
Gwendolyn Tucker had built a successful corporate career as an accountant and auditor and later as manager of diversity and inclusion for a Fortune 500 paper company. She worked in Florida, Ohio and then Tennessee, and spent nearly 40 percent of her time on the road, traveling to four continents.
But in 2007, on her way to work and stopped as the train passed by, she had an epiphany that led her into entrepreneurship: People needed and wanted what she had to offer.
Gwen’s now-husband, who was her fiancé at the time, had started his own executive coaching practice, RIX International. So she decided to join him. They added training and consulting—leveraging her experience in accounting as well as diversity, inclusion and sensitivity training to help propel desired business outcomes for their clients.
“When I joined him, I enjoyed helping others be their best, but had no idea what it took to build a thriving business,” she recalls. “I’m still learning and that’s where NAWBO has been phenomenal.”
Although Gwen had connected with other local organizations that help women business owners, it wasn’t until someone introduced her to Dianne Dixon, incoming president of NAWBO Memphis, in 2015 that she really found a sisterhood of support.
“Dianne shared her vision for NAWBO with me and had me hook, line and sinker,” Gwen laughs. “She just had a way…she immediately brought me onto her board as membership chair.” That set the stage for Gwen to become incoming president, president and now immediate past president, and to successfully grow chapter membership.
During her time on the NAWBO board, Gwen focused on the economic area of NAWBO's mission through things like an Accelerator program and Mastermind groups. She believes that when you reach a greater economic sphere of power, you become a magnet for social and political influence.
Today, Gwen is managing partner of RIX International whose core consulting areas are leadership development, diversity and inclusion and performance management. She also created Leader Who Leads to equip leaders to build the best teams and achieve uncommon results.
Gwen has adapted during this time of COVID-19 by focusing her efforts on something she had been thinking about for a while: how to translate what they do into a virtual environment without sacrificing quality.
A NAWBO webinar Gwen attended on how to create and market elearning proved critical to this process. She’s proud to announce she just completed her first elearning course from her Diversity at Work Series, which she produced with help from a NAWBO member.
So what’s next? “Someone once said, ‘Do you own your business, or does your business own you?’” says Gwen. “For 2021, I want to connect with people who believe what I believe. They are looking for me and I’m looking for them; we just don’t know each other yet! Another thing for this year is to find great partners with whom we can grow together. Ideally, several will be my NAWBO sisters.”
To learn more or connect with Gwen, please visit:
Talking Diversity and Inclusion
Gwen has been involved in and led diversity and inclusion efforts since 1987. She was co-chair of the Chairman’s Diversity Council during her corporate career at the paper company and helped to develop and implement the blueprint to drive diversity and inclusion for a division of more than 9,000 employees.
“You have higher engagement when you have diversity AND inclusion,” she shares. “When people feel included they are more willing to contribute their best. They have a voice and are able to innovate, create and drive business outcomes. Also, typically, customers tend to be diverse so having a diverse staff helps you to better serve your clients.”
Her advice to other women business owners implementing these efforts is: “Identify implicit bias in your organization and eliminate it now. Without the right blend of diversity, inclusion, equity and sensitivity, an organization dies slowly from within.” Want to learn more? Click here.