Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in organizational development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sheliza Jamal, Founder of Curated Leadership, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Curated Leadership is a coaching firm committed to providing leadership training and professional development to employees and organizations rooted in the foundations of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We offer expertise and high-quality outcomes to develop employees' professional skills in leadership competencies as well as internal EDI audits to support organizations with their EDI strategic goals. Our values are rooted in equity and justice, and we use community-based anti-oppressive frameworks in all the work we engage in. Our customers are small, medium, and large-sized businesses that are working to develop a deeper awareness of diversity and equity to create more inclusive workplaces.

Tell us about yourself

As a woman of colour, I have had lived experiences of discrimination and marginalization. I started out as an actor and writer creating performance pieces on issues of injustice. While I was pursuing my Master of Education at Harvard University, I brought together my lived experiences, my theatre background, and the decade of teaching experience I had to create Curated Leadership. I was motivated to engage individuals from all backgrounds and industries to engage in embodied empathy around equity and inclusion. I am motivated every day when I see clients and workshop participants shift their thinking, challenge one another, and have difficult conversations about oppression.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is growing my business to employ four other women of colour to work towards the company's mission and values of creating a more just and equitable society. We have grown from offering single workshops to large contracts working with organizations to audit their HR systems to uncover possible barriers and biases, as well as implementing DEI strategies for organizations.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is balancing time between day-to-day administration and business development, strategy, and growth. Hiring has also been a challenge. It is also difficult to find, build, and grow a team around you that has the experience, knowledge, and ambition to carry out the company vision.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Put yourself out there. Share your story with the world, and people will come.
  2. Start today. Don't wait to have everything planned out because nothing will ever be 100% perfect or ready. Start with one offer and test it out.
  3. Ask for help. It is okay to ask for help from friends, mentors, and colleagues. We don't have all the answers, but someone in our network will.

When you put yourself out there, start today, and ask for help, the business will grow. Mine has grown through referrals and word of mouth, and I am truly grateful for that!

Where can people find you and your business?

LinkedIn (Personal):
LinkedIn (Company):

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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