Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deborah Threadgill Egerton, MA., Ph.D., President and Founder of Trinity Transition Consultants, LLC., located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Trinity Transition Consultants specialize in transformational experiences that create sustainable culture change. Our culture change initiatives utilize the Enneagram and trademarked TTC tools and create the mindset shift necessary within communities and organizations to respect the diversity of every individual at all levels of society. We coach individuals, organizations, and communities to move from the space of apathy & tolerance to acceptance & inclusion.
We specialize in facilitating change by working with individuals utilizing the Enneagram Personality Archetypes. This unique approach allows us to go beyond the normal scope of work and dive deeper into the heart of the organization: the people. To learn more about the Enneagram and our process, please visit our Enneagram page at www.trinitytransition.com/enneagram. Our other services include executive and life coaching, management training, culture change, diversity, equity, and inclusion frameworks, discrimination, all forms of harassment prevention, and compliance & ethics training. Our results yield the return of humanity to the work environment, philanthropic-based morale, productivity improvement, and respect for all individuals.
Tell us about yourself
I have spent most of my life with a deep awareness of racism, discrimination, and what we now describe as “othering” or marginalization. Over the years, I have been asked how my journey started and how I got into this work—the truth is I was born with a purpose and knew very early on that my life was meant for something greater than myself. While I now reside in California, I was born and grew up in New York City. I watched the marching and fighting for human rights during the Civil Rights Movement. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to don my white Go-Go boots and mini skirt to enter the fray.
My life continued to evolve in ways that kept me grounded and rooted in the battles for the very soul of our individual and collective humanity. My work brought me into boardrooms and face-to-face with high-level senior management teams. I knew my presence was usually a new experience for people at the highest level, where black women may not have been welcomed or expected. Over the years, I encountered the highs and lows of humanity through the way organizations curated and cultivated their culture. I was determined to expand my approach to bring more awareness and depth to the traditional diversity and inclusion (D&I) work.
My quest began for more information about team-building tools and personality assessment— a quick Google search brought me to the Enneagram Institute. I was off on a journey that took me beyond the belief that I had to find a destination for the journey’s end. There was no looking back at this point. I did not expect the Enneagram journey to lead me down a path directly into the heart of humanity.
Ultimately my work evolved, and I transitioned to doing more work as an Executive Coach and less as a psychotherapist. My company became more actively focused on consulting and coaching in the I.D.E.A. (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism) space. I believed that this was the place where I could help to create a safe space for individuals to speak their truth and to be who they were created to be.
Within the past decade or so, I have witnessed a dark cloud cast a shadow over humanity. People have become disconnected from their empathy, compassion, kindness, and the basic human capacity for loving one another. We will have to take a leap of faith to build bridges and reconnect with one another. With my faith as my strength and the Enneagram as my roadmap, I have been able to continue working on those bridges to reconnect humankind. If we work towards this together, all things are possible.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I founded Trinity Transition Consultants, I worked with organizations on a national and global platform to develop healthy, sustainable organizational cultures through executive coaching, management training, culture change initiatives, all forms of harassment prevention, and compliance & ethics training. Little did I know that my company would take on a life of its own and transform the very fabric of how organizations function from the ground up. The evolution of traditional DEI work soon grew exponentially when I discovered the power of utilizing the Enneagram in the corporate world. This unique approach allowed me to go beyond the normal scope of work and dive deeper into the heart of the organization: the people. I learned that while many organizations operate as a singular entity, many people fail to recognize and appreciate the individuals as the foundation for the organization’s culture. By bringing the wisdom contained in the personality archetypes of the Enneagram to each person within an organization, the culture can transform at a molecular level and create sustainable connection, engagement, and balance.
I began teaching the Enneagram in boardrooms and in maintenance yards. I found that it was the key to connecting people, and I was determined to bring the Enneagram to every corner of whatever organization I found myself consulting for—and I did. In one organization, I was hired to coach the executives and the senior team and asked to focus my attention on making them better leaders. After a few sessions, it became clear that the problems they faced were widespread and usually involved communication and cross-departmental or multi-management level relationships. I coached them as they requested, but it became apparent that the work couldn’t end with the senior team members; it was too transformational and powerful to reserve it for a few. These leaders would emphatically advocate for total organizational culture change, and it always started with the Enneagram. Of course, there were some leaders—usually close to retirement—who were set in their ways and refused to take the necessary steps to transform into better leaders. They were the people who needed the Enneagram the most.
Nevertheless, the work I did with the Enneagram permeated all aspects of the organizational culture. It was a game-changer. People at all levels began to communicate in new ways; they were more respectful and adapted better when challenges emerged. The culture within the organization began to shift, one by one, department by department, it was unmistakable, and it was intentional. That was the key difference: the intentional culture that manifested became thoughtful, inclusive, productive, energetic, and sustainable while it replaced the toxic culture that had festered for years. People at all levels began acting with intentional engagement and were actually invested in the people around them and in the organization.
When we develop the awareness of our connectedness as people who belong together, especially within the workplace, we can begin to cultivate a healthier environment where inclusion and respect are valued. The individualism we are predisposed to begins to fade away and make space for the grounded connection we share with our sisters, brothers, and siblings within the human race. Our actions, behaviors, and beliefs become less self-serving and evolve into a shared awareness of our undivided connection as a single species. We take mutually beneficial actions grounded in generosity, we behave in collaborative ways with consideration for our fellow human beings, and we hold beliefs anchored in a compassionate approach to finding common ground.
It’s no secret that a lot of us spend more time with the people we work with than with our families. So why wouldn’t we want to make our workplaces better? Isn’t it logical to invest some time and effort into making the place we spend the majority of our time more pleasant, kinder, or maybe just more tolerable? The answer should be yes. And it beings with the people and with seeing others as people and not as objects or obstacles in our way. Being able to see another human as you see yourself can bring on a wave of gratitude, generosity, and connectedness. The inner work aligned with the exploration of the Enneagram can be a transformative and healing experience. When the work is honored and continued beyond self-reflection, its wisdom reinforces our spiritual growth and expands out into the world with an energy that can “create the ripples on the pond.”
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The recognition that the Buck stops with you. You are responsible for the failures and challenges as well as the joy of the successes. While it is absolutely necessary to have advisors in place, ultimately, you have to make the tough decisions for better or worse.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked in your life.
- Do what you love, and then the hard work pays off. Your work should be something that you are passionate about.
- Stay in alignment with your values and your moral compass. Never compromise your integrity.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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