Join Torin and Julie in welcoming Shaara Roman
Award-winning entrepreneur, author, and experienced chief human resources officer Shaara Roman is an expert on the role of company culture in driving employee and business success. She has held leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies and spent years advising companies on creating successful strategies for organizational design, values alignment in hiring and leadership, eliminating toxic stressors in the workplace, and fostering engaged and productive teams.
In her new book, The Conscious Workplace: Fortify Your Culture to Thrive in Any Crisis, Shaara presents a global citizen perspective on the importance of workplace culture, and how it leads to a profitable business. Using high-profile examples from companies like yogurt maker Chobani, mattress company Leesa, and King Arthur Baking Company
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0:00:01.0 Torin Ellis: We've been about this work, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, shared through the voices of a White woman and a Black man. We bring lived experiences. We have pursued D&I progress for most of our professional lives. We use Crazy and The King to cover news, tips from colleagues, and host incredible guests. Listeners, count on Julie and I to transparently drive the conversation. We thank you for rocking with us. Check it. Julie kick off the show.
0:00:37.7 Julie Sowash: Welcome to Crazy and The King.
0:00:40.8 Torin Ellis: We have done a pretty good job the last couple of years of ending the year with incredible guests and just hearing some of their experiences. We have guests throughout the year but this is always special because it gives us some time to just decompress, refuel our tank and get ready for January because trust and believe January is going to bring with it the snow and the winds of all types of change. But I'm curious, Julie... First of all, how are you? You good?
0:01:19.1 Julie Sowash: Good, good. I love this too, because there are so many incredible voices in our world that you and I are getting to meet from this podcast, people we never would have otherwise engaged or met in our lifetime and now we get to just sit down and have an amazing conversation with them.
0:01:33.7 Torin Ellis: Yeah, and for those of you out there listening, in case you are new to Crazy and The King, you can go to crazyandtheking.com. We do have a real website that lists all of our episodes, you can sign up for the newsletter, that way you'll get an announcement, I think the announcement comes out at some point later in the day. All of our episodes drop every Thursday morning around 2:00 PM Eastern... 2:00 AM. I'm sorry, 2:00 AM Eastern Time on Thursday. And then you, at some point later in the day, you'll get a newsletter or you'll get an email notice letting you know that a new episode is up. But you said something about mentioning or being introduced to incredible voices. I wanna tell listeners, you definitely wanna stick around to our Her Voice segment later in the episode, because it forced me because of our guests, who's an author and a consultant and a speaker.
0:02:31.4 Torin Ellis: Because of our guest today, I challenged myself, Julie, I said, Let me go out and unearth, let me unearth, ferret out some names of people that I have never heard from or heard off before. Like, I've never read a blog post, I've never seen a social tweet, I've never heard or read or experienced these women's name. And I am assuming that they are out there doing, as some would say, God's work. They are doing incredible work inside of organizations that you and I may never touch, and so hopefully somebody out there listening, maybe you might know one or two of the names that we mentioned later in the Her Voice segment. But I'm looking forward to our guest today, aren't you?
0:03:23.2 Julie Sowash: Yeah, Shaara Roman, author CEO is joining us, has a fantastically interesting background, the way that she grew up, and it's just I'm really excited to talk to her and to learn a little bit more about how she engages and approaches her work as a woman of color.
0:03:40.0 Torin Ellis: Yo, she does. And you know what, you said something, as a woman of color. You categorize her as if... And I'm not saying this in a bad way, you've been communicating with her PR team and her... And so you've had more dialogue with her than I have, but you said she shows up as a woman of color. I wonder if she would say she shows up as a woman of color, certainly one of the things that I am going to ask in our conversation. I think I also wanna ask about that eclectic background. She has a very, very diverse, rich, beautiful background. And I think, Julie, I think about when I was doing work in the early 2000s, and I would go into some of the meetings here in Maryland, it was the Maryland... It was the Governor's Workforce Reinvestment Board, something like that. GWIB, Governor's Workforce Investment Board.
0:04:42.0 Torin Ellis: And I would sit in this room at one of the community colleges, probably a room of 40 or 50 people at the table, I always felt like I was the least accomplished and qualified and educated person to be at the table. Mind you, I've built a seven-figure business, but I still felt like I was the least accomplished individual at the table because everyone had all of these degrees, they were heads of industry, CEOs of big companies, division leads. And what I said, people would say to me, "Well, Torin, how is it that you sit in these rooms?" I said, "Experience and exposure." And what our guest brings is experience and exposure. So, I'm looking forward to chatting with Shaara. So, how about we just take a quick break and let's see if we can bring her up and get her into this conversation.
0:05:40.6 Julie Sowash: Let's get at it.
0:05:47.3 Torin Ellis: So of course, this is one of those times where we have a guest. And I always say to you all, I really wish that Julie would give me permission to use the video because you never know what's happening off-screen. All you all get to do is hear our incredible voices, and we have incredible guests, like today. So our guest is Shaara, I believe I'm pronouncing the name correctly. She's going to correct me if I'm not. Shaara Roman, author, CEO and founder. I like founder. We could say entrepreneur, we could say consultant, but founder just sounds so much more exquisite. Shaara is the founder and CEO of the Silverene Group, a boutique culture consulting firm, that is on a mission to make the world a better, more inclusive place for all. Now, I gotta tell you, Shaara, we actually are here, we in each and every show, encouraging our listeners to create better culture, better teams, better workplaces. So you, you are on the right podcast. Welcome to Crazy and The King.
0:07:07.5 Shaara Roman: Thank you. I'm happy to be here Torin. Thanks so much for the introduction and for the invitation, I am looking for some fun times.
0:07:17.2 Julie Sowash: Well, we will try to do that.
0:07:20.1 Torin Ellis: She wants some digital fun times. Let's see if we can... Let's see if we can get that festive digital fun time that Shaara is trying to see if she can cultivate, because I guess that stays with her spirit of better workplaces.
0:07:35.0 Julie Sowash: Yeah. So, as a female founder to another female founder, you've such a fascinating background. You were born in Bombay, raised in Lagos, Nigeria, educated in England, lived in Greece. Add some context for how you ended up right here in Virginia. Married, mom, got a dog, all those good things.
0:08:00.8 Shaara Roman: All right. So this is a long story that I'll try to make super quick. So I was, as you said, born in Bombay, spent my childhood in Lagos. After high school in England I went back to Lagos to take a gap year, and I met my husband, who was stationed with the American Embassy. He's a marine, active duty at the time. He's from Puerto Rico originally, grew up in the Bronx. We met, fell in love, and moved to Greece where we ultimately got married. And then came back to the US so he could continue on with his United States duty stations. And he was stationed in Quantico, Virginia. And so we ended up setting up roots here. And I always sort of joke about the first 20, 21 years of my life were super well-traveled and I lived in a lot of different places, and then I married the love of my life and have spent a lot of my life now in Virginia, so not as sexy and cool as some of the other places, but we're trying to get it there.
0:09:12.1 Julie Sowash: That shows Americans the power of a gap year, I always say that, we need a gap year.
0:09:17.9 Torin Ellis: But hold on Julie, and when we think about that gap year, I gotta tell you, I'm backing up. First of all, you all both, both of you, both of you just did... You took me to school, you took me to vocal school. You know how some folks stand behind the mic and they go through vocal lessons, and the instructor says, sing from your diaphragm, fill up the air pipes and sing from your diaphragm. Well, you didn't take me to singing school, but your pronunciation. I always say Lagos. The both of you said Lagos. And let me tell you, I actually was about to jump in, J, when you said it, I was like, "You know what her flow is on, so I'm not gonna mess her up." And then Shaara you said it Lagos.
0:09:58.2 Shaara Roman: Did I say Lagos? 'Cause it's Lagos.
0:10:00.0 Julie Sowash: Oh.
0:10:00.6 Torin Ellis: Is it Lagos. Okay so, I had it right. But I gotta say to you, when you give that introduction right there, Shaara, I think about our dear friend Deanna Singh from Uplifting Impact, and just all of what you said, born in Bombay, living in Lagos, traveling in Greece or having lived in England, lived in Greece, husband from Puerto Rico, the Bronx, I can only imagine what the cuisine is like inside of the household.
0:10:32.7 Torin Ellis: You understand what I'm saying? I can only imagine. You have to be but our second guest... Now, we probably have had some guests that are wicked in the kitchen, but I can only imagine... Let me not assume, are you good in the kitchen?
0:10:49.1 Shaara Roman: I'm decent in the kitchen.
0:10:52.7 Shaara Roman: I'm decent. My husband and I, Rafael and I make it work in terms of what we cook up, and sadly though, I hate to burst your bubble too much, cooking Indian food takes a lot of time and effort, and so there isn't a lot of that happening in our kitchen.
0:11:09.9 Torin Ellis: I know, that's right.
0:11:10.3 Shaara Roman: Puerto Rican food, same thing. So when you have two working parents and all of the craziness of the busy lives we lead, food has gotten pretty simple, but what I think is interesting is that... First of all, it's really a blend, we use a lot of... We do use a lot of spices, so I may not make Indian food or he make Puerto Rican food, but we use a lot of cumin and garlic and ginger and cayenne and whatever else is happening. And we tend to lean into more of the Mediterranean style. I think our, couple of years that we lived in Greece, in terms of grilled meat or fish and just fresh veggies, and that's kind of where we lean into. But it's a big smorgasbord. That word came out okay. [chuckle]
0:11:57.2 Torin Ellis: I like that. It did, it did. So your experience, Shaara, has positioned you in a variety of organizations, and what you've said is that over time you've helped organizations through some of their inflection points, you've transformed leadership, you've done quite a bit inside of the companies that you've supported. I'm wondering, what have you seen as being the greatest action, the single greatest thing that you've been able to do or that you've encouraged others to do that has brought about organizational impact?
0:12:34.6 Shaara Roman: Yeah, that's a great question. And the one thing... It's hard to always pin it down to one thing, but I think the single most thing is when we have helped, I've helped, my team has helped a leader have that aha moment, where that light bulb goes off, where they start to shift how they think and how they see the world and the impact they can potentially have by being more inclusive, by being more curious, by really thinking about their people first. And not just saying those words, 'cause a lot of people say those words, a lot of companies say, "Oh, we're people first." But truly being intentional about that concept around, "Wow, I have to recognize that the people that I work with are unique individuals, they all have their own back stories, their own lived experiences, and how do I really help each of them bring their unique talents to life."
0:13:34.1 Shaara Roman: When that light bulb goes off and they sort of realize that then that just opens the flood gates to real change happening. Because we always talk about change management and changing organizations and transforming organizations, and yes, ultimately that's what you want, but you have to transform and change the individuals in the organizations in order for that to happen, 'cause the organization is an entity and it's made up of the individuals and the people. And that's what we have to focus on.
0:14:04.3 Torin Ellis: And I wanna stay there for just a moment, what I appreciate in your response is, and I'm not criticizing, so when people hear me say this out loud, I want them to know where it's coming from. What I just heard you say, Shaara, is that there is no magical potion, there is no red or blue or green or yellow, there's no one pill, there's no one prescription. And here's why I like your response, I like your response because I asked that question for a reason. When people ask me, "Well, Torin, what's been the greatest impact you've had in consulting over the last three, four, five years?" I always say, "The one thing that I do is I get all of my organizations to try to ask on the performance evaluation, what did you do to help with our D&I efforts?" If I can get companies to do that for 500 people, 10,000 people, 100,000 people, that's the one thing that I'm pointing to.
0:15:10.9 Shaara Roman: Yeah.
0:15:11.6 Torin Ellis: I like what you said. Everyone arrives at that aha moment differently.
0:15:18.2 Shaara Roman: Yeah.
0:15:21.1 Julie Sowash: So, you've been a CHRO, you've helped drive employee and business success, as we've been talking about, you've been advising companies on creating successful strategies around organizational design, leadership, eliminating toxic stressors in the workplace, that's one of my favorites. And you decided, "Hey, you know what, I need to put this into a book called The Conscious Workplace." Tell us why you decided it was time to share that knowledge with the world?
0:15:52.7 Shaara Roman: Yeah, so I'll just start by saying I had no plans ever to be an author, so constant... [0:16:00.8] ____.
0:16:01.4 Torin Ellis: Well, Shaara, why not? Were you hesitant to get into the writing process, you didn't wanna do the whole, lock myself in a hotel room and no one can talk to me? What was your hesitation around...
0:16:14.0 Shaara Roman: It was just... Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off there. It was just more like, I'm not a writer. Like, why would I do that? I'm more of a get on stage, talk about it, right?
0:16:24.8 Torin Ellis: That's right, that's right.
0:16:28.8 Shaara Roman: So for me, when I... So I do a lot of speaking and I do a lot of consulting, and I've stayed in touch with a lot of the people that I've worked with, and I kept hearing this common theme of, "Do you have a book? Did you write a book? You should write a book, you should really put this down on paper." So that was a lot of the groundswell, sort of, kind of organic movement sort of saying, You should write a book. And then I was approached by a firm that wanted to... They worked with entrepreneurs the whole time, blah, blah, blah, and they were like, "You should write... We'd love to help you tell your story." And I gave that some pause and reflection to say, "You know what, maybe I really should take that time and let me really think about what it is that I can add value to."
0:17:14.0 Shaara Roman: And Torin, maybe part of what was holding me back, although not a lot holds [chuckle] me back, but what I think might have been holding me back is, I'm not a writer, but I'm not like this person that's arrived in the world, like who am I to take pen to paper and tell a story. But as I really thought about what is the impact I'm having when I go, when I talk to a group of women that wanna break into entrepreneurship or wanna grow in their organizations, or I talk with leaders that even in a 15-minute speech, have that moment of awakening to say, "Oh, I might wanna look at this differently."
0:17:52.2 Shaara Roman: I thought, well, if I can impact people by putting these thoughts, my perspective as a woman, as a woman of color, as an immigrant, essentially to this country, as someone who lived a very good life prior to coming here, and then that life didn't quite carry over it, 'cause when you come to the US it's sort of like a blank sheet of paper and you gotta prove yourself in America. And all of that contributes to who I am and how I've maneuvered my way, for lack of a better word [chuckle] through the corporate world, and now how I lean into both, driving the business, building a business and sharing that with everyone. So those were all the things that were happening. And I think it's an important story actually for people to read about, and it's not a story about me, but it's a story from the perspective of of me.
0:18:48.0 Torin Ellis: Yeah, I wanna get to the subtype, but you actually said something which I don't wanna speed past that. You said, lived a good life. Coming to the US things were a little bit different. You said, a woman of color immigrant. So I'm curious, Shaara, how do you show up from day to day in professional environments? May be an uncomfortable question, but do you show up as a woman of color? Do you show up as... If this is appropriate, I might even be wrong in saying this, do you show up as an immigrant? Do you show up as... I have a dear friend, Aubrey Blanche, who's a White-passing Latina, and she admits that she can lean on her White-passing side even as a Latina. How do you show up?
0:19:36.5 Shaara Roman: Yeah. That's a really great question. And how I've showed up and how I'm showing up is evolving day-by-day.
0:19:42.4 Torin Ellis: Oh, thank you for that.
0:19:44.1 Shaara Roman: So I didn't show up for a lot of time embracing women of color, or embracing my Indian heritage, because quite frankly, I don't have much of a connection to India. I was born there and then I moved to Nigeria when I was a baby. My parents grew up in a very Western... My parents and my grandparents even grew up in a very western type of way, which has its own pros and cons. But there was a time when I was actually at CGI, and I had taken over a fairly large team, and the young women that came saw me as this super strong, super together, very poise professional woman. And in a way it was very intimidating to them because they're like, "Well, you're so perfect and everything is perfect. How can I ever get like this?" So that was one of the moments, probably what, 15 years ago now, 10, 12, whatever, somewhere in that, in the early 2000s. That was a light-bulb moment for me in terms of how do I really show up more authentically as a woman and as a mom and as a wife.
0:20:53.4 Shaara Roman: And then as I've continued that learning and that journey I realized that I have been able to claim some success because maybe I'm White-passing, maybe because... Maybe not, it just depends on how that is, but I don't make people feel super uncomfortable, 'cause I talk. I've grown up here and lived here my whole life. I think because of being a child and moving around and living everywhere else, I can easily adapt and conform. And I know how to make people feel comfortable. But more and more, as I introduce myself, I do to talk about, "Hey, I'm not mainstream." Right? I do think differently, I have different experiences and backgrounds. I come at this as really a very intersectional person. So it's a growing piece. The immigrant piece is a little bit more challenging in the sense that I don't lean into it or try to take advantage of it, I guess, in one respect, because immigration and immigrants, there is a whole different set of circumstances and stories behind that. But ultimately I didn't grow up here, and I don't have a lot of the baggage and the... I haven't had those experiences as a child growing up here and so those were not my formative years, but now as an adult, looking at all of it from the outside, or actually looking at it more introspectively, I see how that plays out for so many different people.
0:22:41.6 Torin Ellis: The subtitle of your book, The Conscious Workplace, the subtitle is, Fortify Your Culture to Thrive in Any Crisis. Now, I'm wondering like inside of the book, did you put case studies like navigating a poor economy, global climate crises, war, a pandemic, or Shaara, is it a bit more predictable, like dealing with a boss that has micro-aggressive tendencies and other examples like that?
0:23:14.8 Shaara Roman: Yeah, so we actually... So I didn't talk so much about war or any of that climate crises or any of that. I'm not necessarily an expert in that space, but what did feature fairly providently in the book, is the whole pandemic. Because that was so centered to what was happening for the workforce, for employers. But if you think more globally about ESG, Environment, Sustainability and Governance, that if you're at the board level and you're able to drive that conversation in a much more global way, or broad way, that's what we want people to do, but really the thrive in crisis was really about... It could be anything, but we used the pandemic as the example of, "Listen, we had to overnight completely pivot, reshape, rethink how we were doing things." And unfortunately, not everyone has really adopted. We are still... We're saying, Oh, the new normal, and we're just bolting on things in an organization versus really exploring and examining, Well, how do we really structure our organizations to begin with?
0:24:34.9 Shaara Roman: Why are we... We're saying we're really productive, but we're really productive because people are working 50% more than they were working before. So how do you ensure that people have proper workloads, appropriate workloads, that people are leaning into their strengths, that you're really making those human connections, 'cause hybrid is great remote is great, but not if you leave people in their own little isolated window screen and you're not really engaging them. So that was really the back story or the theme that we have through the book.
0:25:07.5 Julie Sowash: And sticking with this belonging, empowerment, Why do you feel that DEI isn't enough until you get paired with the critical components of belonging and empowerment in a culture.
0:25:24.8 Shaara Roman: Yeah, so from a belonging perspective, it really, at that point, allows us to bring our whole selves into the workplace. And we talked about this just earlier, that I'm a mom, I'm a founder, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a CEO, I'm a wife, I'm a woman, I'm a woman of color; All of those pieces. And if you as an individual can't feel fully safe, fully connected into the organization, fully know that your boss, your manager, or the leadership, really have your back, then you're going to always hold something back. And if you hold something back, then you're not fully bringing all of those strengths and talents that you have, and then you're not able to really bring everything into that organization to help the organization be more creative and be more innovative and ultimately, be more profitable.
0:26:20.0 Shaara Roman: And you don't feel like you belong with in terms of the empowerment piece, because so much... Again, going back to what we were talking about earlier. So much of our work life is prescribed. Our bosses wanna tell us what to do and how to do it, and instead of saying, "Hey, here's what I need done, and here's when I need it done by." Instead of forcing the, "This is the way we've always done it. We don't allow that creativity, we don't allow that exploration." And so when you are empowered you have opportunities to make decisions on your own. You're allowed to figure out how you're gonna get to the end game, of course, within the parameters the organization sets.
0:27:05.1 Shaara Roman: When you have that ownership you can have an element of opining on the future of the organization. So you wanna bring all those pieces together, because we know that diversity is about facts and numbers. It's a good thing we need to know it, but it can get very metric-driven and more people feel like, Well, I have to do this and can easily check the box. When you have inclusion people are included, and you want managers to ask questions and drive curiosity, but unless you really put those other pieces in place, people aren't gonna feel like they belong, and they're not gonna feel like they can really be empowered. Does that make sense?
0:27:50.3 Torin Ellis: It does. In the book, you talk about the best friend being a critical component to productivity and to engagement. I'm wondering, as we close out the segment, Shaara, why is the best friend important? So your response to that criticality, and then maybe something you want listeners to absolutely take away from your time here with us on Crazy and the King.
0:28:15.6 Shaara Roman: Sure, the best friend concept was introduced by Gallup many, many years ago. And it's a question they ask on their Q12. But essentially having a best friend at work is like having a friend, having someone that you can lean on, someone that you can talk to about what might be bothering you without holding back. So much of the time we are afraid to share what is truly going on for us in the workplace, because we feel like we'll be judged, we'll be marginalized, we'll show a sense of weakness, and then that would be used against us somehow, somewhere, some time. And particularly for women, particularly for people of color, particularly for people from other marginalized groups, whether you have a disability, whether you're a member of the LGBTQ+ community, whatever, you don't wanna share because you're worried. So when you have that friend, that person you can fully trust and hopefully you have lots of friends, then that just really helps you, again, feel more connected, feel like you belong, feel like you can really be who you are. And if you're not spending all that mental energy holding things back, then you're bringing it all. You're not worried about all these other things that are distracting you.
0:29:29.1 Shaara Roman: So I think as a final take away, I think that if leaders in organizations, and even... I look at leaders as not just sitting in the C-Suite. We're all leaders, we all have a way we can lead change and drive change in the organization, but if we come in with this mindset of being intentional about our culture, being really intentional about how we show up, how we wanna lean into curiosity and learn about the people that we work with, then it'll just end up leading into trust and belonging and creativity and growth, and really a place of abundance that we can all thrive because that's what we want. We have close to 65% of the workforce is disengaged and unhappy about the places that they work with. That's a serious problem. So if we're conscious and we're intentional and we lean into how we can create places where people can thrive, then it's a win-win for everyone.
0:30:42.3 Torin Ellis: The Conscious Workplace: Fortify Your Culture to Thrive in Any Crisis. Author, founder, consultant, CEO, mom, incredible speaker, all of those things, Shaara Roman, we appreciate you for joining us here on Crazy and the King. People that are listening, you can find Shaara, on her website, Shaara that's S-H-A-A-R-A Roman R-O-M-A-N, shaararoman.com. Again, shaararoman.com. And are you active on social, Twitter, Instagram, any of those places?
0:31:21.0 Shaara Roman: Definitely, active on LinkedIn, probably the best place to find us, yeah.
0:31:28.1 Torin Ellis: That works. Absolutely, Shaara Roman, thank you so much for joining us.
0:31:31.2 Shaara Roman: Absolutely, thank you both. Torin and Julie, real pleasure to connect with you both.
0:31:37.6 Torin Ellis: Alright, Her Voice is where we amplify women that are making moves. And in the spirit of our fun conversation, Shaara, said that she wanted to have some fun. I hope that Julie and I enabled her to have a bit of digital podcast recording fun. But in the spirit of our conversation, we decided to feature women that are authors, consultants or speakers, women that have done some things, and so our first person is coming from Shaara. She actually raised a name, Jennifer Ives. She's a friend, a colleague. Shaara, says that you, Jennifer, are brilliant. You are a thought leader in the tech space and in sales. That you are also generous, you lift up other women, you mentor and you lead inclusively. So shout out to you, Ms. Jennifer Ives.
0:32:40.3 Julie Sowash: And the next one, which I am so pumped about, Marissa Nissley, who was an undergrad student at Georgetown, yay. Who is doing her podcast to help others understand the world of people living with disabilities. She hosts a podcast called Legally Blonde and Blind. Shaara, loves your energy, smarts and action orientation to making the world a better place. Name drop to you Ms. Marissa.
0:33:07.9 Torin Ellis: Adriele Parker, she helps leaders, teams and organizations improve cultural competence. She helps them to identify and disrupt systemic barriers, and she also builds more equitable and inclusive spaces for all. Now, what I like about Adriele, is that she also coaches Black women and has an awesome YouTube channel. You can find her on Twitter at Adriele Parker, that's A-D-R-I-E-L-E, Parker, Adriele Parker.
0:33:39.3 Julie Sowash: And finally, this week we have Tiffany Grandchamp, founder of Women Lifting Women a consultancy, and all women leadership team were so happy to amplify Tiffany. If you reach out to her, let us know about the experience. Her website is womenliftingwomen.org.
0:33:58.1 Torin Ellis: Womenliftingwomen.org. Moving through the holiday season. So appreciate you, J. Appreciate Shaara Roman for coming through. We close reminding each and every one of you to share the pod with your digital tribe and to find your individual unique and special voice. Let's do everything that we can to be a better human, build better teams, better culture and better work places. For now, J and I, eggnog style, we ghost.
Shaara Roman is the founder and CEO of The Silverene Group, a culture consulting firm that aligns people, strategy, and culture to optimize organizational performance and author of the new book The Conscious Workplace: Fortify Your Culture to Thrive in Any Crisis. As an award-winning entrepreneur, board member, speaker, author, and experienced chief human resources officer, Shaara and her team consult with leaders to create healthy workplaces by helping them build inclusive workplace cultures, design effective organizations, and align their company values and people programs to achieve business goals.
Prior to founding The Silverene Group in 2016, Shaara held leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies, including Fannie Mae and Visa, as well as CGI and the NRECA. Born in India, schooled in Nigeria and England, and having lived in Greece before coming to the US, Shaara uses her global experience as the foundation for her distinctive expertise in crafting strategies to improve culture, workforce quality, and operations across a multitude of disciplines in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She received an MBA from Georgetown University, where she is also an adjunct professor. Today, Shaara serves on several advisory and nonprofit boards.