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Our Vision

To change the trajectory of emerging leaders and organizations –  cultivating a workplace and a world of thriving, exemplary servant leaders from all walks of life.


Our Mission

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

  • Equip emerging leaders with the necessary tools to authentically navigate, accelerate performance, and contribute at their highest levels
  • Build and advance diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces that foster belonging, elevate retention, and empower all talent to thrive
What We Do

Leading corporations, workforce development organizations, and universities trust us to empower their talent to take ownership of their career development, accelerate performance, and results.  Click here to view our services.

As a result of our solutions, our partners better engage, develop, and retain emerging leaders. Our work has produced ROI of up to 120% 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.

  • Authentic Energy and Excellence
  • Curiosity and Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Resourceful and Resilient
  • Intention
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Results with Integrity


Our Founders' Story

Pivotal Impact was born out of failure, frustration, and first hand experience by our founder, Candace D. Washington. As a millennial she struggled for years learning the hard way that – emerging leaders need far beyond book smarts to navigate, lead, and succeed in the marketplace. 

As a diverse young professional, gaps in real-world skills and challenges navigating non-inclusive work environments were barriers to her success affecting job performance, decision-making, individual and organizational effectiveness. She was left feeling disengaged and underdeveloped watching others advance while she was left behind. 

Over the next decade, Candace leveraged resources that increased her consciousness and competence to succeed and thus elevating her career trajectory within organizations.

Today, as a successful leader in her field, Candace founded Pivotal Impact – a talent and organizational development consulting firm on a mission to change the trajectory of emerging leaders and organizations through tools and inclusive cultures that equip talent to authentically navigate, accelerate performance, and thrive; generating the greatest results for themselves and organizations.

Many emerging leaders entering and navigating the workplace face a familiar story of challenges stifling potential – especially those from marginalized and underrepresented upbringings. But not on our watch!

Pivotal impact is moving the needle transforming potential into performance – increasing leadership impact within and beyond today’s organizations. 

Who We Are

We are who we serve. We’ve lived the lessons we teach, and know what it takes to accelerate performance and retain talent! Our diverse team of consultants bring 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.

PI Website Candace Head

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.


Khalilah Lyons is a results-driven career and talent strategist devoted to advocating for underrepresented and untapped talent in others. 

Her HR experience ranges from Fortune 500 corporations and manufacturers to digital start-ups. She has successfully developed and executed initiatives around diversity & inclusion, strategic planning and workforce management.

Khalilah currently is driving diversity and inclusion at Discover Financial Services.  In addition to her corporate role, Khalilah aligns her passion to disrupt exclusive narratives and create opportunities for inclusion and diversity for various groups across Chicagoland. She serves as a D & I expert for several nonprofits, sharing inspirational and actionable messages as a keynote speaker, mentor, advisory council member, thought leader, board member and volunteer. Her purpose, experience and zeal drive her to present compelling stories, to facilitate workshops, to influence youth and to create spaces for courageous — and often provocative — conversations.

When not working, she spends time with her two children being inspired by their approach to and perspective on life.  She lives life fully as a dedicated mother, sister, friend and disruptor.


Joelyne Marshall, affectionately known as Joie, has over 25 years of experience in the training, development, and coaching within a variety of industries. She is a certified coach with a focus on accountability, goal-setting, and execution. She is full of creative ideas and has the skills to make just about anything happen! Joie 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.
Joie’s expertise is in coaching and facilitation of effective learning solutions in various modalities, including eLearning, face-to-face and virtual instructor-led, and blended programs.

Joie leverages the partnership with clients, stakeholders, and subject matter experts to problem solve challenges.


Danielle Ayodele is a Consultant, Trainer and Career Coach with a personal philosophy to reachteach, and inspire others through her work of 11 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.


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.

Maxine (2)

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.


Norah oversees all administrative functions for Pivotal Impact consultants. She is skilled in management of financial matters such as client billing, accounts payable, and manages site updates for timely communication. She has a passion for helping others and delivers service with a smile, always! If you need immediate assistance or questions in regard to administrative concerns, she is always happy to help. Norah is currently studying business management at Colorado Technical University. Contact her at

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