We had the good fortune of connecting with Nadia Ali and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nadia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Having the opportunity to build healthy organizational cultures while creating more flexibility and balance in my life inspired me to start my own business.
My business, Idea Labs, was born out of inspiration and passion to create kinder and healthier communities. I’m constantly thinking about how we can be better, kinder, and minimize trauma. I’ve worked in the healthcare and non-profit sector for over 20 years, and feel privileged to have worked on programs to increase access to care for low-income and immigrant populations, create leadership opportunities for underrepresented minorities and increase awareness and dialogue around health and racial equity. My business is the culmination of my various personal and professional experiences.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I became more deeply involved with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts a little over 10 years ago. While working as a Director of a nationally-recognized healthcare non-profit, I focused on fostering a more inclusive culture by shifting the organization to a skills-based hiring model, implemented new interviewing practices and pathways for leadership, and created opportunities for professional development that focused on improving team communications and culture.
When I moved to Colorado in 2015, I worked for an organization where I redesigned and co-facilitated the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for new hires and was involved in creating culturally relevant communications for the communities they serve. As a way to expand my professional network in Colorado and learn more about DEI practices, I participated in a year-long Leadership Fellows program with the Community Foundation Boulder County and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, with a central focus on inclusive and transformational leadership.
Soon after participating in the Leadership Fellows program, I founded Idea Labs. Since launching Idea Labs, I have worked with over 20 companies and non-profit organizations to advance their DEI efforts through training, leadership coaching and organizational strategy. I have worked on a range of efforts in partnership with executive leaders, human resource professionals and staff members to improve organizational culture and communications, create opportunities for growth and build partnerships that have resulted in diverse talent pipelines.
Given my professional background, my approach to DEI work includes using a trauma-informed lens, therapeutic communication techniques and adult learning principles. I also draw from my lived experience as a visibly Muslim woman of South Asian heritage. Having a bi-cultural identity has been such a large part of my life, in terms of my values, how I am perceived in various spaces, and how I participate in my community. I recognize how many barriers minorities can face and how important it is to help dismantle systems of oppression to create more opportunities for others. My educational and professional background and now my business has given me the privilege to serve the community in various ways, from playing a part in creating opportunities for others as well as furthering my commitment to advancing social impact across communities.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We are based in Boulder, so some places I would take them in town include:
– 🏔 Chautauqua Park for a nice long hike then picnic on the green. Seeing the Flatirons is incredible from that vantage point!
– 🍕pizza at Barchetta – a new local pizza spot in downtown Boulder
– 🍦walk around downtown Pearl St and get ice cream at Gelato Boy!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to all of my family and friends, especially my husband, two children and my parents. They have really encouraged and supported me on my entrepreneurial journey and I feel incredibly grateful.
Bianca Roman Photography ELC Photography