Leading Below the Surface: How to Build Real (and Psychologically Safe) Relationships with People Who Are Different from You - Publish Your Purpose
Leading Below the Surface

Leading Below the Surface

Real connections within teams can create a culture shift for an entire company. Leading Below the Surface illustrates this vision, taking a radical stance against the “surface-ness” of corporate culture and exploring how highly rewarded behaviors are actually destroying organizations, blocking us all from creating truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures of belonging.

This book is not a step-by-step instructional guide or dry academic theory. With a foreword by Amy Edmondson, author and Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, this book is inspired by organizational culture research, social psychology and neuroscience frameworks. Leading Below the Surface is a compass for the purpose-driven and forward-thinking leader. It merges true stories from the lived experiences of culture leader LaTonya Wilkins with actionable insights backed by dynamic interdisciplinary research. Just like she has done for hundreds of coaching and organizational clients, LaTonya effectively coaches you through this transformation through each engaging chapter.

Leading Below the Surface disrupts the way we think about traditional leadership constructs and the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that have failed to make lasting change. The wisdom in these pages is powerful enough to not only change the way we think about corporate culture, but will instantly activate opportunities for the individual looking to advance their career while remaining authentic to who they are.

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LaTonya Wilkins

About LaTonya Wilkins

Founder of The Change Coaches and author of Leading Below the Surface: How to Build Real (and Psychologically Safe) Relationships with People Who Are Different from You, LaTonya Wilkins specializes in coaching executives on leading “below the surface” to build psychologically safe relationships with their teams across differences. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and has inspired audiences all over the world. Through highly customized coaching, culture academies, and human-centered design services, LaTonya and her team work with executives, upwardly mobile professionals, and teams to create cultures of belonging, motivating environments, and amplify the “only ones” at work so they feel more valued, heard, and engaged at work.

LaTonya has worked with leaders at many well-known companies including Google, GE, The New York Times, and several nonprofits. She built her career working in HR, talent management, and learning & development at Fortune 500 companies before teaching and taking on progressive leadership roles at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business. LaTonya was rated an “excellent” teacher by her undergraduate business students, and she is also a board member of the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association at Indiana University. She is currently the President of the True Star Youth Foundation board, which is a digital marketing social entrepreneurship company that recently received a Google Impact Award.

LaTonya has been featured in publications such as Fast Company, Well+ Good, and Inc Magazine. She also gained global recognition when she was recognized on the most inclusive HR influencer list in 2019.

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What People Are Saying

What People Are Saying

As a People Operations Executive, working with LaTonya has been transformative for my leaders, my company, and my personal professional growth. Building a culture of inclusion at our company is critical to our success as a business -- and by working with LaTonya we have refined our connection and shared vision as an Executive Team, enabling us to make better decisions on long-term, structural strategy in D&I work. Personally, I am a better people leader due to LaTonya's coaching, her ability to operate from a place free from judgment, facilitate tough conversations, and willingness to challenge in ways that increase accountability have been invaluable. I am excited she is sharing her perspective and thinking more broadly in Leading Below the Surface and look forward to reading it again with my team.

—Betsy McCann, People Operations Executive in the Tech Industry

There are very few below the surface leaders. Becoming a below the surface leader is vital to the success of your organization AND the people that you lead. LaTonya's unique experience has positioned her to create this easy-to-understand and practical guide. I witnessed this firsthand when she presented at our national conference, CultureCon. The audience was engaged and she provided them with action steps to make change in their own lives and within their organizations' respective cultures. Her presentation received some of the highest attendee reviews out of any speaker we have ever had at our conference. LaTonya's book is a must-read to better yourself, the people that you lead, and your organization's culture as a whole!

—Zach Blumenfeld, Co-Founder of CultureCon

LaTonya Wilkins wrote the book that speaks the uncomfortable and powerful truth about the failure of DEI programs. Leading Below the Surface teaches us how to embody inclusion, going beyond trying to say and do the right things. The result will be what we all have been hoping for; finally developing real organizational cultures that truly embrace the brilliance of all people who walk through their doors.

—Dr. Marcia Reynolds, world-renowned leadership coach and author of Coach the Person, Not the Problem and The Discomfort Zone

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