Rocki Howard brings receipts to her role as chief equity and impact officer at The Mom Project. After too many years of experiencing “various biases, discrimination and racism,” she decided she was done trying to climb the ladder and resolved to show up authentically — “and be darned good at what I do.”
And one thing she has been good at is building effective teams that highlighted the connection between the business and human imperatives of diversity. An “a-ha moment” accomplishment was when a team she created comprising people of color, women, veterans and LGBTQIA realized increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
She continues to draw on her personal experience at The Mom Project. A self-described Black, Christian mom over 50 who came from economic adversity, she holds a compassionate, expanded view of diversity that informs her work in creating positive change for moms.
She spends her days figuring out how to advocate and create respectful workplaces for “dual working moms.” For her, every mom is a working mother, so she looks for solutions that support women who work inside and outside the home.
“Some of the best lessons that I’ve learned about being a leader I’ve learned from being a mom,” she says. “All of the skills of budgeting, project management, negotiation, time management, education — moms are masters at those things.”
She also works closely with clients and helps them leverage The Mom Project’s WerkLabs data that uncovers what it’s like to be a mom in the workplace. She regularly hosts her original podcast series, “Grown Woman Wednesdays,” and has other projects in the works.
For Howard, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is not something that can be solved by one company as a competitive advantage. She believes we all have to come together as a global community and work together to solve this. Everyone has a role to play, and no one can be removed from that conversation.
She genuinely believes change happens “one step, one story, one conversation, one action at a time,” because when you change the world for one person, they see things differently — and then their actions change, which creates a multiplier effect. “Success here requires us to get past ourselves. We have to be willing to look at what that other person needs and have some empathy with that,” she says.
2023 DE&I Influencers List