Kindness - an interview with Nicole Sanchez, founder & CEO of Vaya Consulting

Kindness - an interview with Nicole Sanchez, founder & CEO of Vaya Consulting

Nicole Sanchez is the Founder & CEO of Vaya Consulting where they provide best-in-class leadership & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consulting services for organizations shaping the 21st century. She is also the host of the podcast “Impossible to Manage,” a discussion about workplace culture (especially the hard stuff).

Q. What does kindness mean to you? 

A. Kindness is extending ourselves lovingly to others. This includes fellow humans, animals, and the planet. It is a remembrance that we are all worthy of being loved and “seen,” from opening the door for a stranger who has their hands full to supporting loved ones even when they’re working your last nerve. It isn’t all smiles and puppies, though. Kindness is also sharing hard truths with each other in an attempt to prevent hurtful patterns from repeating themselves.

Q. How are you sharing 21 days of kindness?

A. Kindness is something baked into the culture of my company. Unkind words and actions are an automatic flag on the play…we pause to correct ourselves and preserve the trust we have with each other when unkindness is introduced. I’ll keep the rest of my plans to myself; don’t want to spoil surprises for folks involved :-) 

Q. What will you do to share kindness today?

A. I’m going to be patient and helpful to the people around me at SFO and JFK, which can be very difficult! I am also writing notes to people on my team letting them know why I appreciate them. I am happy to be reminded that kindness is a *daily* practice.

Q. Favorite example(s) of how others can share kindness

A. I love when people give unsolicited shout-outs to people on social media. It’s tiny and feels so good. Low lift, nice payoff. I also love seeing strangers helping each other. I would watch an endless loop of video content with people extending a small gesture to each other in public places.

Q. Today I celebrated…

A. A group of people, from a wide range of backgrounds, who asked me to teach them how to talk about race together without getting hurt. I could throw a party, I’m so happy when that happens.

Q. I am grateful for…

A. My husband Patrick. On the 23rd of this month, we will celebrate 20 years of being married. He’s pretty much the kindest human on the planet so I’ve been able to study with the best for a couple of decades now.

Q. Someone I would like to recognize for showing me kindness.

A. One of my colleagues, Amanda Gelender. She has worked hard to help me figure out how to take time off and have a real vacation in the coming months. It turns out I wouldn’t have done it without her being proactive and helping me stay committed to it.

Q. What I do to appreciate myself

A. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked this question before. This is hard, but it shouldn’t be, right?

Q. I am so glad that I get to… 

A. Travel for my work. Tired as I am, I am so grateful to get to see as much of the world as I have.

Q. What do you do when your day doesn’t go as planned?

A. My day never goes as planned! I might be shocked if it did. As a mom, entrepreneur, consultant, wife… I think I’ve just gotten very used to constant change as the norm. 

Q. I am inspired by…

A. Lizzo. Look at the joy she brings to people. She radiates it and is doing exactly what she was put on this earth to do, to make people feel like that. She reminds me to love myself. 

Q. A dream I am currently focused on fulfilling is…

A. Blending visual art and music with my current work, taking a multi-disciplinary approach to building inclusive culture.

Follow and connect with Nicole Sanchez online.