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Optimal Leadership

Agatha Agbanobi
Austin, TX, USA

I am a Black immigrant woman, a first-generation Nigerian-American who grew up in Houston, Texas, and has had the privilege of living in different U.S. cities and foreign countries throughout my educational and professional career. I began equity work in education development in 2010 with the USAID Office of Education in Senegal, West Africa, in partnership with a U.S. nonprofit organization, IFESH. I continued my work in education equity reform in Texas and had every intention of working in state and/or federal departments of education for the rest of my career until I finally had “a seat at the table” with high officials at the Texas state department of education, the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

All of the conversations that transpired at that table, who was always invited and expected to speak, who always spoke first, whose ideas were always challenged, and the absence of leadership accountability for the harm caused to employees and other leaders, especially Black, Hispanic and Asian employees, really motivated me to start working against racism and other identity-based inequities in the workplace. This work feels long overdue for me.

My lived experience and that of those in my community, as well as the “progress stories” of my clients, motivate me to keep moving forward in my work - no matter how hard it becomes.

Optimal Leadership LLC is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) management and advisory firm that serves clients in the tech, fashion/beauty, government, and higher education space. We work with leaders and teams who are already committed and ready to do the work of centering marginalized voices and perspectives, driving a climate of equity and inclusion in people communications and interactions as well as organization-wide policies and procedures and evaluating for continuous improvement and meaningful impact along the way.

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