Can you tell us more about yourself?
My name is Hanadi and I’m an Inclusion Consultant and Coach. I became interested in the diversity and inclusion space after experiencing discrimination as a Muslim, living in the U.S. While I’ve been in the D&I space for the last 8 years, I was born in Lebanon, spent my early career in Dubai, and then completed my postgraduate studies in London, where I earned a Master’s degree in Education. None of those international experiences prepared me to experience what I did in the U.S. and that pushed me to become a Certified Inclusion Professional. Today, I enjoy working toward changing people’s perceptions of others and striving to create a better world for everyone.
What first attracted you to coaching?
I have always been fascinated by the power of communication. Initially, I started my career in advertising and learned all about the power of what can be communicated in 30-seconds. Now, with the conversations that I’m leading in the coaching space, it’s more about 1-to-1 conversations on how effective we can be in conveying ideas and thoughts, especially the ones that are difficult for us to communicate. Leading DEI cohorts with Hone allows me to connect with people, make a difference and grow along with participants in leading and listening to courageous conversations.
What is your philosophy on coaching?
People transform by being inspired. “Transformation through inspiration.” For people to change their behaviors, they have to be inspired — and most become inspired when they see something they don’t expect. That’s what happens in most of the Hone classes I facilitate. I dig deeper into participants’ answers or comments and ask them to reflect on what’s being shared so we learn to process emotions and talk about them as we go.
The best way to transform people’s behavior is to be a role model of what you’re preaching. As a coach, my advice is to really live the values you’re coaching so that people can feel inspired to change.
What is your superpower?
What I’ve learned from people’s reactions to my coaching is that I speak truth to power. In the conversations I lead, I don’t shy away from challenging what people are saying, encouraging people to speak their minds, keeping people mindful of their word choice, and digging deeper into how we express ourselves in sessions. That sheds light on some of our preconceived notions. It’s really important that when we do see something that doesn’t sit well with us, we give ourselves the permission to challenge it or to talk about it gracefully so that people can be invited to see that different perspective.
If someone is struggling with a work or personal issue, what is your best piece of advice to help them see the situation clearly?
Seek support. When we are in a difficult situation — and we’ve all been there — it’s really difficult for us to see a high-level picture of the situation. My advice for people going through difficult times is to reach out to people that you trust and who care about you and share your situation with them. Oftentimes, because they aren’t as emotionally invested in the situation, they can have a unique perspective that you might not be aware of. Sometimes you just need to shift the way you view things to make a difference.
Are there any books you’ve recently read that you’d recommend?
I’ve been recently reading Isabel Wilkerson’s books, specifically Caste and The Warmth of Other Suns. I highly recommend these two books for people who want to have a deeper understanding of the Black community’s experience here in the U.S., specifically around what slavery was really like and how it felt to the people. The author conveys historic events with such detail that it really brings the books to life and brings me closer to understanding this country's history.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I always say that when you’re unapologetically yourself, the world will learn to adjust to your presence. The workplace [as we know it today] is not necessarily designed with people of color in mind but that is bound to change if we stand strong in who we are as people, and commit to the values that we live and breathe every day. I encourage people to be their true selves and live their own values so that others can gain perspective and insight into what makes them unique.