As Founder and CEO of Your Choice Coach, Simone is an accomplished business strategist, executive coach, and DEI consultant. She has held senior roles at Fortune 500 companies across marketing, communications, medical affairs, sales, and global business strategy. Her tenure includes successfully launching and leading products and services, implementing programs for key stakeholders across the globe, and developing and training sales, medical, and technical teams. Simone’s mantra is “Voice, Power, Confidence.” As an emotional intelligence executive coach, she changes the way leaders and their businesses engage their employees and clients. 

Simone emphasizes the human element with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Simone is a keynote speaker and has been featured as a thought leader in articles for Huffington Post, Forbes, and Pharmacy Times. 

She is an active member of the Tri-StateDiversity Council and advocate for women, LGBTQI, BIPOC, people with disabilities, andcross-generations. Simone holds a BS in Pharmacy and an MBA from Howard University. She is co-author of the books: Achieving Results, 30 Days to Courage, and Leadership without Borders, and is certified in DISC, Emotional Intelligence (EQI) 2.0, IDI, Cultural Competence, Cultural Intelligence(CQI), Culture-Values, Block Chain, Behavior Design, and is also accredited through the International Coaching Federation

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.

Growing up in Jamaica, I was immersed in an environment where education and entrepreneurship were highly valued, thanks to my parents who were both educators and entrepreneurs. Our family dynamic often involved lively discussions around the dinner table about various business ventures and strategies, instilling in me a deep appreciation for the world of commerce from an early age. 

As I pursued my education, I chose to study pharmacy in college, setting the foundation for what would later become a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. After completing my studies, I embarked on my corporate journey, delving into diverse areas such as medical affairs, global strategy, marketing, and market access within the pharmaceutical sector. 

Throughout my professional experiences, the entrepreneurial spirit instilled by my parents continued to drive me. I always had a keen interest in starting my own venture, inspired by the discussions and insights gained from my upbringing. It wasn’t a matter of if I would start my own company, but rather when. 

In due course, influenced by the encouragement and guidance of my parents, I founded Your Choice Coach, a culmination of my entrepreneurial aspirations and my passion for helping others achieve their goals. This venture allowed me to blend my expertise in the pharmaceutical industry with my desire to empower individuals to make informed choices and lead fulfilling lives. 

Reflecting on my journey from Jamaica to the corporate world and eventually entrepreneurship, I am grateful for the values instilled in me by my upbringing and the support of my family, which have been instrumental in shaping my path and driving my success.

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”

The motivation behind starting my business, Your Choice Coach, stemmed from both personal and professional experiences that deeply resonated with me. One significant catalyst was encountering a toxic work environment, particularly dealing with a boss who exhibited behaviours that drained the energy and morale of the workspace. 

Experiencing firsthand the detrimental effects of working under a toxic leader, characterized by insecurity, lack of trust, and an absence of transparency, left me feeling frustrated, stuck, and emotionally drained. It was a pivotal moment that made me realize the importance of creating a healthier, more empowering work environment. 

My motivation to start my own business was fueled by a desire to make a positive impact on the world in a way that aligned with my values and beliefs. I recognized the power of voice, empowerment, and confidence in driving personal and professional success, and I was passionate about helping individuals rediscover these qualities within themselves. 

In my journey through corporate America, I observed how many professionals felt muted, unheard, disempowered, and lacking in confidence. This realization became the driving force behind my decision to start Your Choice Coach. I wanted to create a platform where I could empower individuals to step into their greatness without seeking permission or hesitancy, and to help them rediscover their spark and voice in the workplace. 

For the past 12 years, Your Choice Coach has been dedicated to providing executive coaching and diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting services. Our mission is industry-agnostic, focused on empowering professionals from all backgrounds to unlock their full potential and thrive in their personal and professional lives.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

 Absolutely, I’m thrilled to share insights and encouragement with young budding women entrepreneurs. Firstly, I want to applaud the remarkable strides that women entrepreneurs have made in the business world. Our resilience, innovation, and determination are truly inspiring, and you’re making invaluable contributions to the economy and society as a whole. 

If given the opportunity to foster change, one of the key areas I would prioritize is increasing monetary investment in women entrepreneurs. Despite the incredible potential and proven success of women-led businesses, there’s still a significant disparity in funding compared to businesses led by men. This imbalance not only hinders the growth and scalability of women-owned ventures but also perpetuates systemic inequalities in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

By advocating for and facilitating greater financial support for women entrepreneurs, we can unlock a wealth of untapped talent and potential, driving economic growth and fostering greater diversity and inclusion in the business world. This includes not only traditional venture capital funding but also initiatives such as mentorship programs, access to networks, and educational resources tailored to the specific needs and challenges faced by women in entrepreneurship. 

Furthermore, I would encourage young women entrepreneurs to embrace the journey of entrepreneurship with courage, resilience, and a willingness to learn. The first few years in business can indeed be daunting, but they also present incredible opportunities for growth and innovation. Surround yourself with mentors, advisors, and a supportive community who can offer guidance, encouragement, and practical insights to navigate the challenges and uncertainties of entrepreneurship. 

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey, and each setback or obstacle is an opportunity for learning and growth. Stay true to your vision, leverage your unique strengths and perspectives, and never underestimate the power of collaboration and solidarity among women entrepreneurs. Together, we can create a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future for all.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?

Women’s leadership today is an undeniable force driving positive change in workplaces worldwide. We’ve witnessed significant progress in recent years, with more women breaking through the glass ceiling to ascend to leadership positions at the highest levels of organizations. This trend is not only a testament to the talent, skills, and capabilities of women leaders but also a reflection of the shifting dynamics within workplaces and society at large. 

However, despite these advancements, there are still systemic barriers and challenges that hinder the full realization of women’s leadership potential. One critical issue is the existence of a “broken rung” in the career ladder, particularly for women at the frontline worker level aspiring to reach management positions. This disparity often stems from factors such as implicit bias, lack of mentorship and sponsorship, and limited opportunities for skill development and advancement. 

To address this challenge, it’s essential to focus on fixing the broken rung by implementing strategies that promote gender equity and inclusivity at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. This includes fostering a culture of mentorship and sponsorship to support the career progression of women, providing access to leadership development programs and training initiatives tailored to their unique needs and challenges, and implementing policies and practices that mitigate bias and promote diversity in recruitment, promotion, and decision-making processes. 

Furthermore, increasing representation of women in leadership roles is crucial not only for diversity’s sake but also for driving better business outcomes. Women leaders bring a unique perspective and approach to issues such as financing, organizational culture, and conducting business, which can lead to more innovative solutions, better decision-making, and enhanced performance. 

By ensuring that women have a seat at the decision-making table, we can ensure that the barriers and challenges faced by women professionals and entrepreneurs are top of mind and actively addressed. This requires a concerted effort from both organizations and society as a whole to dismantle systemic barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create an environment where women can thrive and succeed in leadership roles. Together, we can continue to break down barriers and build a more inclusive and equitable future for women leaders in workplaces worldwide.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

The most important lesson I’ve learned in both my personal life and professional journey is the power of self-belief and trusting your instincts. Throughout my experiences, I’ve encountered numerous challenges, uncertainties, and moments of self-doubt. However, I’ve come to realize that often, the most significant breakthroughs and achievements occur when we have the courage to trust our intuition and bet on ourselves. 

My mantra is  “voice, power, and confidence.” This mantra encapsulates the belief that true strength and fulfillment come from embracing your unique identity, expressing yourself authentically, and believing in your abilities to create positive change in the world. 

Cultivate a foundation for a life lived that is filled with purpose, passion, and authenticity. This reminds me that my greatest power lies within. By embracing who we are and what we stand for, we can unlock our full potential and make a meaningful impact in the world.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

Do not drop the baton: Remember that you are part of a legacy of women who have fought tirelessly for equality and opportunity. You carry the torch forward, and your contributions matter. Stay committed to your goals, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Keep pushing forward, and never underestimate the impact you can make. 

Have a plan and be strategic: Success rarely happens by chance. Take the time to develop a clear vision for your business or initiative and create a strategic plan to achieve your goals. Set milestones, measure your progress, and be adaptable in the face of change. Having a plan will help you stay focused and resilient, even when the journey gets tough. 

It’s a jungle gym: The path to success is rarely linear. Embrace the twists and turns, and be open to exploring different opportunities and pathways. View your journey as a jungle gym rather than a ladder, where each experience and challenge helps you grow and develop new skills. Be flexible, resilient, and willing to pivot when necessary. 

Remember your support system: None of us achieve success alone. Remember the people who have supported you along the way – whether it’s family, friends, mentors, or colleagues. Their encouragement, guidance, and belief in you have been invaluable. Lean on your support system when you need it, and always remember to express gratitude for their contributions to your journey. 

Pay it forward: As you climb the ranks of success, remember to lift others up with you. Mentorship and support are powerful tools for driving change and empowering the next generation of women leaders. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and resources, and strive to create opportunities for others to succeed.