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Natalie Runyon

Natalie Runyon

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am a inclusion leadership strategist, professional ally of under-represented groups, intrapreneur, recovering entrepreneur, mother of two boys aged 4 and 8, non-profit board member, and wife. My life's mission is advancing women and colleagues of color to attain positions in the executive ranks of corporate America and political institutions.

I am currently focused on doing research of ideal allies from the perspective of Asian-American, African-American, Latinix, LGBT, and female communities to create workshops targeting white, heteronormative men. These workshops offer education on how to be an intersectional ally to underrepresented communities by demonstrating that the behaviors it takes to be a great leader are the same as those to advocate for and champion colleagues of color and women.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

My favorite recent memory was at an Innovator luncheon where I ran into a colleague I had not seen in four years. It was great to catch up with her.

I am a member of Ellevate because I want to expand my network of badass women, committed to and investing their own money in social change across industries.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

In my view, creating environments for women and colleagues of color to thrive is going too slowly. A culture of inclusion in organizations is key. Moving away from "male, white-centered heteronormative" leadership styles, ways of working, and definitions of success is key.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

Networking, community building, and visibility attained as co-chair of the Women's Network at my company. Through my efforts, I was able to move from a back-office corporate function to two roles in strategy and operations and thought leadership in marketing, supporting revenue-generating, frontline salespeople over the course of five years.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

A person who taught white colleagues and leaders how to be an intersectional ally for women and colleagues of color, and demonstrated it through walking my talk.

Who are your role models?

Rev. Jacqui Lewis, PhD, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, my mom, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Rev Dr. William Barber. Successful professional women of color inspire me every day because they experience gender and racial bias and micro-aggressions way more often than anyone else and persevere in the face of obstacles that if I encountered, I think would break me in the long run.

What is your morning ritual?

I get up, make coffee, drink coffee, get ready, drink more coffee, get my boys up, feed them, and drink more coffee so that we are out of the door for the day by 7:35 AM. I hope one day I can say exercise and meditation is part of my morning ritual.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

The combination of my strategic insight and capability to execute, with an ability to oscillate between both several times a day. Also, my ability to connect, adapt, and find alignment in mutual goals for collaboration.

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is at different stages. I think I am successful at this moment because I love the person I am and the woman I am becoming. I am proud of my professional accomplishments and my achievement of my personal goals. I like who my kids are growing up to be.

Long-term, I want to make investments today that generate a passive income to fund a lifestyle that gives me more flexibility in when, where, and how I work. I am focused on figuring out this strategy now, and Ellevate is part of it.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Focus on what you enjoy doing with your kids and outsource the rest. I enjoy taking my kids to their activities after school. I don't clean or buy groceries. I have organic frozen food delivered weekly that requires me putting it in the oven.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.