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Empowering Careers And Cultivating Leadership – Exclusive Interview With Flo LaBrado

Flo LaBrado is a leadership and career development coach and founder of Olive and Grace Leadership Coaching. She is passionate about people discovering and realizing their goals and working in a healthy workplace.


Flo combines over 20 years of leadership experience, academic research-based practices, and a people-centric approach to empower individuals and teams. She creates space for people to courageously discover and explore their creativity and potential as they develop grounded confidence, grow, and create the journey to reach their aspirations. She believes that integrity to one’s values, strengths, and work preferences is essential to leadership and career development and that teamwork and organizational health are crucial for high performance.


Flo's credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science in Leadership and Management with a focus on Organizational Development, and numerous certifications in innovative change, inclusive leadership, ethical leadership, Trust at Work®, and Dare to Lead Trained™.


Image photo of Flo LaBrado

Flo LaBrado, Leadership and Career Development Coach


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


My name is Flo LaBrado. I am originally from The Dominican Republic and live in the United States with my husband and two senior dogs. In Tampa, Florida we enjoy both the energy of living in the city and the peace and proximity to the beach. My life and passions are more like a swirl of colors than linear and neat. I studied art, psychology, and leadership/management. I lead a product management team in a telecommunications organization and serve as principal coach in my leadership and career development coaching practice, Olive and Grace Leadership Coaching. The common thread in my swirl of interests—people, technology, and art—is creativity and human connection. For the Harry Potter fans: I am a Hufflepuff with a streak of Ravenclaw.

 

What inspired the creation of Olive and Grace Leadership, and what core values guide your business operations?


Over the years in the corporate setting leading teams in systems, customer experience, and product management, my focus gravitated to people and the human experience. I enjoy connecting with individuals to support their growth and development. I also enjoy collaboratively shaping culture and group dynamics to cultivate teams in which people develop their leadership skills and do work they are excited about and proud of. A few years ago, I felt a pull to hold space with people beyond the immediate teams I led. Colleagues and teammates in other business units put time on my calendar seeking coaching. Family and friends asked for support as well. I enjoyed helping the people around me so much, I just knew it was time to develop my leadership and career development coaching practice.


I spent months clarifying my purpose and values in coaching to inform my practice and business operations. It is guided by my personal Compass: my values, work values, and strengths. My values are love and respect, my work values are leading and helping others, and my strengths include empathy and people development. These three combined are the Compass by which I navigate decisions. I wholeheartedly believe that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and capable, and I encourage clients to create their own compasses, too. In my practice, I create a safe and courageous space in which they can clarify their leadership values, take risks, and be challenged to discover, explore, grow, and achieve their aspirations with integrity. My Compass also guides the services offered, the clients I work with, and how I market and invest every dollar of Olive and Grace Leadership Coaching.

 

Can you provide an overview of the leadership development services and programs offered by Olive and Grace Leadership? How do these services contribute to personal and professional growth?


Each client and I co-create a safe, non-judgmental, and courageous space that is centered on the client in which they can explore their creativity, potential, and aspirations. After a discovery video call to make sure we are a good fit, I offer 1:1 coaching with two customizable packages. Each package begins with the client developing their Compass through an assessment of their values, work values, and strengths. The Jump Start plan is great for a client who wants to quickly gain clarity to explore and make career decisions. It includes three video conferencing or in-person coaching sessions, email, and phone support over three months. I recommend the In-Depth plan for deeper leadership skills development work through six video conferencing or in-person coaching sessions and extended e-mail and phone support over four months. For team coaching and workshops, I collaborate with the leadership team to understand their team dynamics and organizational health opportunities. Then I create and facilitate a coaching engagement or workshop customized to their unique needs for high performance.


People spend a significant portion of their time working. How we work impacts our well-being. Investing in leadership and career development impacts both professional and personal development. Integrity is essential to leadership and career development. Teamwork and organizational health are integral to high performance. I am excited about 1:1 and team coaching, and to be a part of people’s journeys as they discover, explore, grow, and achieve.

 

In a rapidly changing business environment, how does Olive and Grace Leadership stay adaptable and innovative in addressing the evolving needs of clients? Are there any new initiatives or approaches in the pipeline?


The exponentially increasing rate of change in the world impacts how we work. Changes such as the proliferation of artificial intelligence, organizational change, the shifting focus on diversity and inclusion, and global migration patterns are happening quickly. We see the social effects like The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting in the United States a few years ago, and the social awakening throughout the world. Often, we do not see these patterns until it’s too late, but the changes impact individuals and organizations in real time before being well understood. People deserve to have the time and space they need to evaluate options and determine their next steps to thrive with intention and autonomy.


My approach is to support clients as they create their Compass to navigate decisions with grounded confidence. The priority is not only skill development. It’s also building resilience and adaptability to emerging changes, anchored by integrity and what is most important to the client. Then there are the efforts to support organizations as they adapt to different ways of work in a global economy. The impact is powerful. One example is a client who recently found themselves at a crossroads of opportunities created by organizational change and new technology. I supported him in gaining grounded confidence to make the best decision for him and his family. Another client recently overcame challenges and significantly improved their leadership skills, enabling a positive workplace for their team and more trusting relationships with other leaders. It all comes down to people, and how we show up with one another in the world, including how we work.

 

How does Olive and Grace Leadership engage with the community or industry at large? Are there any partnerships, collaborations, or community outreach programs that reflect your commitment to social responsibility?


I love this question! Human connection and social responsibility are core to Olive and Grace Leadership Coaching. Exercising responsibility means leadership and career development coaching that honors the wholeness of individuals in a way that is inclusive and fosters belonging. The goal is not to try to get clients to change to fit the mold of a company but to support them as they bring their whole selves to their leadership practice and make career development decisions that are true to who they are. Social responsibility also means making the power and benefits of coaching accessible and not cost-prohibitive. The outstanding rate of change in our world creates more opportunities and more volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). Leaders and coaches have a responsibility to support equitable access to opportunities and skill development. I offer discounts for individuals early in their careers or between jobs and to small businesses; pillars in their communities.

 

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.


There was a galvanizing moment several years ago that changed the way I show up as a leader. There was a period of stress in a large organization in which I served as a leader and in which internal competition and unhealthy conflict were normal. I recall the physical manifestation of the stress in my body, from lack of sleep to the constant feeling that a cinderblock was on my chest. There was no room for creativity or error. My team also felt the pressure. I almost cracked after being the target of a verbal outburst. At that moment, in that conference room, I stopped and realized that I would no longer tolerate the toxicity and that I had to change how I lead. I decided to lead with vulnerability, openness to change, failure, and growth, and to cultivate a team culture in which people could bring their whole selves to work, be creative, and thrive. Freeing myself of the hooks of unhealthy expectations, I shifted to spending half of my time managing (strategic planning, business problem-solving, etc.), and the other half leading — connecting with and empowering people, encouraging collaboration, talent management, and serving. People around me began to feel safe to create, collaborate, problem solve, and emerge as leaders, doing meaningful work and delivering results. I know how deeply satisfying it can be to lead and create space for emerging leaders. I want to empower others to experience that satisfaction. This is the purpose of Olive and Grace Leadership Coaching.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

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