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Experts and Advisors in Young Professional and Emerging Leader Development.

Our Vision

To change the trajectory and elevate outcomes of rising leaders.

Our Mission

Our mission is two-fold and is based on the future of work. We help organizations:

  • Equip rising leaders with necessary and equitable tools to authentically navigate, accelerate performance, and contribute at their highest levels
  • Build and advance DEI workplaces that foster belonging, elevate retention, and empower all talent to thrive

How We Help

Leading companies, fast-growing start-ups, workforce development, and universities trust us to empower their talent to take ownership of their career development, accelerate performance, and results.

We help our partners develop, engage, and retain young talent through professional development tools and inclusive cultures that position them to thrive!

Our work has produced a ROI of up to 130% increase in learning and performance post-training.

Our Values

We are guided by a set of core values that shape our work and relationships with partners. Our commitment to walk the talk generates a sustainable Pivotal Impact on individuals and organizations.

  • Passionate Energy and Excellence
  • Authenticity
  • Curiosity and Collaboration
  • Continuous Learning and Improvement
  • Intention
  • Resilience
  • Results with Integrity

Who We Are

We are who we serve. We’ve lived the lessons we teach. We know what it takes to accelerate performance, engagement, and retain talent! Our diverse team of consultants brings many years of subject matter expertise in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, coaching, organizational culture development, training strategy and curriculum/ program design, and measurement of training effectiveness.

Candace Head 2021

Leadership and professional development guru Candace D. Washington empowers emerging leaders with tools to accelerate success and hit the ground running in life
and career. Organizations partner to build their emerging leaders capacity for individual and organizational effectiveness.

As a diverse leader, having learned the hard way from years struggling post undergrad to succeed in the marketplace, Candace teaches skills beyond book smarts pivotal to leadership success like how to build winning relationships, develop emotional intelligence, self-awareness, effectively communicate, influence up, make critical decisions among others. She is committed to demystify the workplace to help others navigate smarter, farther, and faster.

Before launching Pivotal Impact, Candace served as Senior Lead of Training and Development at the University of Chicago. She holds over 14 years of experience in Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profit organizations, and higher education institutions.

Candace is an alum of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Advertising communications and received her MBA, with emphasis in Learning and Development from Roosevelt University. She is known for her passion and exceptional record of bridging skill gaps with performance driven solutions that accelerate leadership and elevate outcomes.

Expert: Danielle Ayodele

Danielle Ayodele is a Consultant, Trainer and Career Coach with a personal philosophy to reachteach, and inspire others through her work of 15 years as a Training & Development Specialist.  She has trained thousands of individuals across the country, working with Fortune 500 organizations to provide customized learning experiences for their staff. Danielle has become an expert on a variety of topics related to Soft Skills, HR Professional Development, Employability, and Technology. Her true passion is in Career Development and she has helped hundreds of job seekers cross difficult hurdles on their path to employment. Danielle is based out of Chicago, IL and holds an MBA in Training & Development from Roosevelt University and a Communications degree from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Consultant: Carter Cofield

Cortlon Cofield is the Owner & Advisor of Cofield Advisors, LLC. He is our guru in financial literacy and brings extensive knowledge as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) with years of experience. He’s known for his ability to capture a room with his story and know-how to help young talent manage finances with savvy and peace of mind. Cofield hold a Masters Degree in Accountancy from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Trevor Jenkins

Trevor Jenkins is a results-driven DEI strategist who believes that DEI is about helping people understand who they are, the value they add, their limitations/bias, and their need for community within the organization. People are both gifted and limited, therefore we need each other to achieve a greater impact on our teams and towards our business goals.

He holds over a decade of experience that ranges from Fortune 500 corporations to global high-growth tech companies such as ActiveCampaign and ServiceNow. His areas of expertise include DEI culture assessments, inclusive leadership strategic planning, and workforce education with global executive teams and staff. c

His purpose, experience and zeal drive him to present compelling stories to influence and shift perspectives that create a deeper sense of belonging among teams.


Expert: Maxine T. Garcia

Maxine T. Garcia is a seasoned Human Resources Business Partner with 10+ years of experience as a strategic HR advisor and facilitator to senior leadership. Maxine brings extensive skills servicing multidisciplinary environments within Professional Services sectors: Non-Profit and Higher Education, Architecture/ Engineering Design Consulting, and Real Estate as well. She is known for her strong communication, facilitation, and analytical skills that support Pivotal Impact clients in an array of capacities. Her detailed-oriented approach to assessing outcomes of research and design is essential to our team. Maxine is an alum of Marymount Manhattan College with a B.S. in Management/ Marketing and received her M.A. in Organizational Development from Roosevelt University.

Shaunte Pic

Shaunte is an innate leader who is passionate about elevating the outcomes of today’s diverse youth and young professionals. Her passion drives her role as a Project Support Administrator to execute the Pivotal Impact mission by assisting in marketing, customer relationship management, client onboarding, and quality assurance of engagements to help our partners reach their goals. 

Shaunte is an avid learner and committed to supporting solutions that helping to unlock the full potential of today’s emerging leaders. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Illinois State University.


Miriam is a Pivotal Impact coaching partner and the owner of Empowerment Coaching MC. Miriam has been a Professional Coach since 2007.  She has acheived and maintains the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Certification, the gold standard of coaching, with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Miriam specializes in Leadership, Executive, and Life Coaching.  She is also an experienced trainer for topics on coaching, mindset, teamwork, positive intelligence and leadership.

Miriam is trilingual and an avid learner. She has a Masters of Science in Management from Troy University; Masters in Educational Leadership from George Mason University; and completed a Special Education Leadership Certificate program also from George Mason University.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Languages from Catholic University of Paris in Madrid, Spain.

When emerging leaders and managers need 1-on-1 support to unlock their full potential, Miriam helps them gain clarity, mindset, confidence, and personal awareness for peak performance. Miriam absolutely loves her work and the transformation it brings!

Coach: Joelyne Marshall

Joelyne Marshall, affectionately known as Joie, has over 25 years of experience in the training, development, and coaching within a variety of industries. She has achieved and maintains the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Certification, the gold standard of coaching, with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). As a coach, Joie specializes in accountability, goal-setting, and execution. In addition, she is a facilitator of effective learning solutions across various modalities, including eLearning, face-to-face, virtual , and blended programs. She leverages partnership with clients, stakeholders, and subject matter experts to problem solve challenges.

Joie is full of creative ideas and has the skills to make just about anything happen!

She holds a Fine Arts degree in electronic media from Northern Illinois University. Joie couples that with her Masters degree in business administration from Roosevelt University to provide strategic solutions to clients.


Advisor: Yehuda Cohen

Yehuda Cohen is a senior operations executive with extensive experience in technology commercialization, turnaround consulting, real estate and start-up companies.  He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.  For 10 years he was a State of Illinois Supreme Court appointee to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.  He is a 4th generation Chicagoan.

Michelle 2

Michelle is a results-driven, influential, global change leader with a solid track record of leading organizational transformations involving people, technologies, and processes across global markets to accelerate business growth and profitability. The outcome of these strategic solutions increased employee involvement in survey results, customer allegiance scores, and annual business goals. 

Michelle’s twenty years of distinct strengths, including strategic business management, operational excellence, and transformational leadership, have been pivotal in leading PMOs and COEs. She is accomplished at facilitating various impactful transformational learning experiences for big and small groups in a virtual or in-person classroom. Michelle worked across diverse functions, industries, and international markets (North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia -Pacific), connecting people and processes to deliver impact in matrixed organizations. 

Academically, she has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Workforce Training and Development from, Master of Arts in Human Performance Improvement, PMP Certification, Global Leader Change Management Certification, and Certification in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Advisor: Alex Kruzel

Alex Kruzel is the CEO of Telesto Strategy, a management consulting firm committed to reframing how business, organizations, and countries achieve growth; redirecting corporate strategy to solve for today’s biggest challenges while delivering positive ROI. She brings a bold global vision of building an international network of diverse business and civic leaders to formulate growth strategies that are regenerative from an environmental perspective and achieve both organizational growth and network benefits.

Prior to founding Telesto Strategy, Alex served as President of Market Strategy Group, a Chicago-based boutique consulting firm, and was part of Deloitte’s Emerging Market practice. Prior to consulting, Alex served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique and supported a variety of volunteer, consulting and development-related NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. Alex is an avid traveler, painter, dancer and learner of languages. A Chicago native, Alex gains inspiration from the grit, tenacity, internationalism and architecture of her beautiful hometown. At the same time as thinking globally, Alex believes in local engagement and is highly involved with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a variety of education and arts civic organizations.

She holds a B.A. from Vanderbelt University and an M.A. from The University of Chicago.

Advisor: Ellen Cohen

With twenty plus years of executive leadership experience in educational and business environments, Ellen Cohen has created and launched innovative global initiatives, developed and executed strategic plans, built technical infrastructures, and created innovative and cost-effective program solutions.

A former dean of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, Ellen is currently the Executive Director of the university’s Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS). She provides strategic and thought leadership through interdisciplinary research and training at the interface of health and the social sciences to more than 100 faculty affiliates across all of the university’s schools and divisions. Together with her team they manage a $35 million portfolio of federal and non-federal research and training grants.

Advisor: David Seidman

David Seidman is Managing Director at Seiblon Ventures, LLC. He is an attorney who practices both law and business. Prior to Seiblon Ventures, David was Principal at Fischel & Kahn. Ltd.  

“David is one of those rare lawyers who can counsel clients on all aspects of their corporate needs – from start-ups through M&A – and at the same time serves as a skilled litigator and savvy advocate for his clients in court,” said Fischel & Kahn Managing Partner David Inlander. Current ventures include PPE, Copper Universal, and hotel development.

He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. 

Advisor: Shelton Banks

Every day, Shelton Banks tackles one of the biggest challenges of today head on: closing the diversity gap. Shelton is particularly focused on improving DEI in the tech sector and encourages inclusion regardless of age, gender, color, abilities, disabilities, or health care needs. 

Shelton has been the CEO of re:work training since 2018, which is a national diverse talent development network that works within the communities it serves to create space in tech for untapped potential. As the leader of this rapidly growing and unique non-profit, Shelton is dedicated to changing hiring trends for communities that have been overlooked in order to make the tech industry as diverse as the Chicago neighborhood he comes from. 

In 2019, Shelton was part of the exclusive Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program that helps small business entrepreneurs create jobs and provide economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital, and business support services. 

Believing a sales-driven approach can boost the long term value of nearly any organization, Shelton brings this mentality to every experience, whether in his current role as CEO, in past roles in finance and banking, or while serving on various advisory board positions.

Shelton is passionate about using his time, talent, and treasure for philanthropic efforts. He listens to Alexander Hamilton when he needs to be creative, Drake before business meetings, and Jay-Z after he closes or gets a win. Shelton lives in Chicago with his supportive and beautiful wife and two wonderful girls.

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