Our first Coach Spotlight features Hone coach and self-proclaimed foodie, Dominique Hollins. In addition to instructing Hone learners, Dominique Hollins has extensive experience as a business operations leader and is an expert in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. With over 12 years of experience in the technology and financial services industries working at companies like Google and eBay, she has provided guidance and coaching to executive leaders and professionals within North America, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Dominique Hollins has always had a passion for teaching and leadership development, so becoming a Hone coach was the perfect opportunity to combine her two passions and shape the leaders of tomorrow. We chatted with Dominique Hollins about her role, her outlook on the world of work, and more. Here’s what she had to say:
What trends do you see in the world of work?
I have seen three major trends, by necessity and evolution. As I see it, we’re moving into a technological revolution. The industrial revolution is over and now there’s a shift towards the need for technology in every aspect of our lives. This move is influencing our behavior across every front—how we sign medical paperwork, how we order food, and beyond. This technological revolution, among other things, is affecting the racial and generational differences of this nation and we need to adapt as a country to move forward together. That’s huge.
Number two is the need for community. Covid-19 has exposed the need for us to remain connected, even when we are physically forced apart. It highlights our innate desire to be communal and the reality is that we haven’t done that too well. We must get better at fostering a sense of community and belonging in both our communities and our workplaces. Now is an incredible opportunity to make that a priority as we build the future of workplace culture.
The last one is flexibility through remote work and new working styles. We are now realizing that we can get a lot more work done without the rigid and antiquated workplace practices that were created during the industrial revolution. It’s time we rethink the traditional 9-5. We must adapt, adjust, and manifest a new concept of work throughout our organizations. We started with remote work out of necessity. We must create a new way of work in service of productivity, efficiency, and workplace equity. A diverse workforce, that is set up for success, is more profitable. We have options, we just have to pursue them.
How did you get your start in teaching?
I wanted to be a teacher when I was in the fourth grade. Unfortunately, I witnessed how teachers in the education system were treated and I quickly moved away from it. However, the natural desire to educate and teach others—especially other influential leaders—has never left me. So while I didn’t become an educator in the traditional sense, every aspect of my career and of my life has included some position of leadership, where I was influencing others, building strategies, or creating curriculums or programs.
When I found Hone, the role was so aligned with my natural capabilities that I knew it was an incredible opportunity. I get to teach some of the world’s most influential leaders in service of collective human prosperity.
Why are you passionate about leadership development?
Leaders determine the trajectory of our world. Whether you’re the head of a household, an organization, a team, or a nation, the position or title of a leader comes with the expectation that you will have to make decisions on behalf of the communities that are beholden to you and that you are beholden towards. Leaders are responsible for the lives of other folks and I feel obligated to ensure that leadership is optimally developed within each of us.
I believe true leadership is being responsible for others who work collaboratively to achieve organizational goals. In my case, that means making sure these people leaders are well-informed and in a healthy state of mind. They need the skills and knowledge to lead their teams efficiently, authentically, and successfully. If you can touch even a few of these influential leaders, you can influence thousands and even millions of others through them.
What is one actionable takeaway you want your students to leave your class with?
I want every single student to start with themselves. It’s about the work they do in preparation for leading. We can teach new habits, but if we don’t get rid of the old ones, then we can never truly achieve self-actualization. I want my students to be self-aware and excited about learning because learning makes us more colorful paintings. Every bit of knowledge we acquire adds a new shade of color to our lives. If we would embrace that, we would all be better advocates and leaders, creating a human portrait of diversity, creativity, and innovation.
What’s your favorite part of working at Hone?
Hone is a company that is ahead of the wave of the future for learning and development. We are changing the way people managers are leading by making sure they have access to the right tools to lead effectively using a structured and interactive learning approach. Now is the time for Hone to lead this conversation. And I love the diversity of the facilitators who are going to usher us along the way.
What is the best lesson you’ve ever been taught?
To lead from behind. I have been in a number of leadership development programs and they often teach leaders to be at the front, speak up, and make sure you are heard. And while that works for some, that advice can also be a deterrent for others.
I have learned to be conscious of the strength of my leadership abilities while empowering others to lead and develop their own. I try to awaken the intelligence, the opportunity, and the capability of the people around me to magnify how effective we can be together. That’s what it means to lead from behind and by implementing this advice, my ability to lead has improved substantially over the past 5 years.
Who is someone who inspires you?
It is a tie between Alexander Hamilton and Harriett Tubman.
Alexander Hamilton inspires me because he had a hunger to strengthen a broken nation during a pivotal time in history. It is 2020 and again our nation is hungering for transformation in a pivotal time in history. I am inspired to step into this work the same way Alexander Hamilton did—willing to die, willing to lose everything, for a future greater than the one he could see. I am incredibly moved by his intelligence, selflessness, and resilience, as well as the civic duty of his work.
I am equally inspired by Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist and political activist. Tubman escaped slavery and then continued to risk her own freedom by building an Underground Railroad to save 70 others. She risked her life, became a spy for the Union Army during the American Civil War and achieved the unimaginable for her time.
When people like that guide your walk, it reminds you that you are a part of their legacy. I am the legacy of Alexander Hamilton, perpetuating the health and strength of the rights outlined in our Constitution. I am Harriet Tubman’s legacy as a Black woman who has to continuously fight for justice every day even when the odds are against me. And I will keep going backwards and forwards to bring my community with me.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love wine tasting and great conversations. Plus, I’m a foodie. If I can do a wine and food pairing in a tapas-style meal, then it’s like celebrating my birthday every time! If you want me to have a good day, serve me an eight-course meal complete with a wine-pairing for each dish. Oh, and bring 25 of my closest friends while you’re at it!
What’s something your learners and colleagues probably don’t know about you?
I’m actually an introvert, but my personality does not convey that at all. Actually, the correct title would be an ambivert. That means I get energy both from interacting with people and being by myself.
When I go to major events, I usually have no trouble getting the crowd energized and excited, but at the same time, I’ll be significantly draining myself. So after I leave the stage, I’ll escape for several hours to listen to jazz, calm my brain, and decompress. When people first meet me, they assume I’m an extrovert. They would never know that there’s a completely opposite version of me that goes home at night.
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