Diversifying Leadership

Caroline King's mission to bring DEI to the workplace

King Story

CAROLINE KING, founder and owner of Bright Star Consulting, has a mission to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to the workplace.  DEI is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for the bottom line, King says.

“Diversity helps productivity and employee loyalty, and companies become more competitive in their industry,” King says.

King, who is African American, knows first-hand the impact an inclusive and diverse company culture can have on staff. Armed with a Ph.D. in business and executive leadership from Liberty University, she helped national healthcare companies such as Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield improve their efficiency by applying business strategies and methodologies.  However, despite King’s education and her successful track record, King says she was blocked from executive-level positions. In her twenty years in corporate America, King says she also saw others who didn’t comply with the standard corporate mold hit the same barriers.

“I was being overlooked, and I saw a pattern in who was overlooked,” King says. “Those who looked like me or were women or were neurodiverse, those that didn’t fit into a box in corporate America, had the same problems.“

Those experiences played a key role in King’s decision to leave corporate America and forge her own path. She concluded that the best way for her to change the workplace was to work outside it.

The social injustices highlighted in the news also contributed to King’s determination to open her own business. She determined the best way she could help was through her work.

“By using what I have, I can make a difference,” she says. “I can educate people and make the world more equal for everyone.”

Thus, Bright Star Consulting was born. The firm offers a range of services focusing on DEI, including guidance on talent acquisition and management, cultural competence training, diversity and inclusion strategic development, crisis management, and executive leadership coaching. Bright Star Consulting also offers an array of professional development certification programs.

“We specialize in business strategies but integrate DEI in every level of a company,” she says. “Integrating diversity into every level of a company is a daunting task, but over time it grows and the company becomes a healthier and more equitable workplace. It’s a long-term process, and it’s a commitment leadership has to make.”

In addition to working with national companies, King has made it a point to reach out to local businesses. The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is one of her clients as is StepUp Wilmington, a nonprofit committed to eradicating poverty through sustainable wages.

A big part of King’s work in the Wilmington area involves training, she says.

“The businesses start with education and awareness,” King adds. “Following that is the desire to make improvements. People have to understand how serious the situation is.”

King hopes to make Bright Star Consulting an innovative leader in the industry that has a national presence. Her goal is to be proactive, rather than reactive, to what is happening in society.

“I want to bring companies along with me,” King says. “We need to take time now to focus on diversity and inclusion. If we don’t make actionable changes now, we are in real danger of going backward.”

To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.

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Categories: Women to Watch