Beverly D. Flaxington – Helping Businesses Succeed by Focusing on the Human Element

Many organizations invest in professional development programs to help their employees succeed at work, enhance business acumen, and ultimately improve the work environment. Applying learning experiences can enable career progression and empower individuals to improve overall effectiveness. However, many such programs are only focused on the technical aspects of the technology or skill. Professionals who undergo such programs often feel that the training provided doesn’t help them with applicability to real-life situations.


Whether on the personal or the professional front, learning helps us navigate the path to success. Especially at a professional level, owing to ever-changing business dynamics and to keep oneself motivated, one needs to stay updated with the latest industry developments.


Many organizations learn the hard way, after investing significant dollars in training opportunities, that sustainability, understanding the human element, and teaching strong core interpersonal skills are key elements. Every company is different, and so are its employees and their growth needs. Every individual deserves the respect of being listened to and understood and this is where Beverly D. Flaxington and her firm, The Collaborative for Investment Education & Business Development Inc., differ from others.


The Firm with a Difference


The Collaborative for Investment Education & Business Development Inc (The Collaborative) is a consulting, coaching, and training firm providing learning opportunities with a focus on understanding human behavior and dynamics. All of their trademarked and proprietary approaches keep the human element at the center. “We have a change management process, a growth strategy including the roadmap for success, an online sales academy, a proprietary coaching process, and approaches to help clients market themselves and stand out in a crowded market. We are hands-on in approach, and while we have many, many proven ways of approaching most any problem, we work to understand our clients and tailor the solution to their environment, their team, and their specific needs,” says Beverly.


The Collaborative’s entire team has a depth of knowledge and experience. They’ve all held senior-level roles, had to implement change from a corporate seat, and have mentored and coached successful professionals for years. They have many proven ways of delivering content, but they also understand that every person, every team, and every company is unique. “We spend time getting to know the culture and the nuances. We believe each individual and organization is different, and so we don’t have an “in-the-box” style. We have developed a number of repeatable, proven approaches, and we work in partnership with our client firms to ensure that all of the material is tailored to their environment. Our clients come back to us time and time again because they get a unique experience working with us, unlike most any other vendor in our industry,” shares Beverly.


Turning Life Around

At the age of 16, when dreams start blooming and future plans begin to take shape, Beverly D. Flaxington met an accident – a – life-threatening one. It required months of rehabilitation to get better. Seated on a couch with nothing to do but watch television, she vowed to use every chance she got, once she was better, to live life to the fullest, learn every day, and help everyone she could to be the best they could be. Today, she’s proud to have kept her vow all these years. She hasn’t just lived her life to the fullest, but has taken care of people, animals, and the environment. She has worked hard every day to do what she can to give back – to her family, her friends, her extended network, and anyone trying to make a difference somehow.


A curious, lifelong learner, Beverly’s best learnings have come from the School of Hard Knocks, where you have to experience something, fail at it, and learn how to do it differently. Academically, she received an MBA from Suffolk University. Beverly is also a certified Hypnotherapist and a Certified Hypnosis Trainer by the National Guild of Hypnotists. She is also certified in Behavioral Instruction, understanding values, and EQ from Target Training International. She started her career in Executive Search, a role that taught her quite a bit but that she didn’t really enjoy. She later joined John Hancock Leasing Company and spent the next 10 years at John Hancock Insurance Company and Mutual Fund Company working in a variety of roles in the finance and investing sector. She took on every role that came her way with a learning attitude. “I don’t assume, I ask questions and listen carefully to what people are sharing, and I am willing to be wrong. It is a continual journey of learning. I love being thrown into something that is a challenge and having to work my way through it.”


Today, as the Founder and President at The Collaborative for Investment Education & Business Development Inc., she does everything from identifying great talent to join the firm, to creating new content, to working directly with the firm’s clients.


Donning Multiple Hats


Beverly truly loves her work – she loves solving puzzles for clients trying to find answers, teaching new ideas, helping people make behavioral shifts, and implementing change to make things even better. She considers her clients as her partners and oftentimes her friends. She became a college professor at Suffolk University in 2008, which has helped her hone the craft of instructional design. She finds inspiration from the students she is blessed with every semester. Working with new students helps her learn how to teach Next Generation individuals through her corporate work, and also stay leading edge with research and new ideas. She finds the students often hungry to learn, and has mentored many outside of the classroom, too. It is her fervent desire to spread her knowledge far and wide to help others be successful. She also started writing books in 2009, and has 8 published now with three as bestsellers on Amazon. “All of these experiences came together to help me offer a unique perspective to the market, and the firm has just continued to grow and enhance from there. I volunteer for a number of organizations and help out financially and personally – especially for under-privileged children and rescue animals. I am passionate about helping those who are unable to have a voice of their own,” shares Beverly.


Bringing a Paradigm Shift


At The Collaborative, Beverly has been talking, coaching, and teaching about the human element for as long as the firm has been in business. But many firms where The Collaborative has a primary focus, in the investment and financial industry, remain focused on the technical piece – training on products and services. Things have shifted dramatically in the last few years, now the industry is finally catching up with what The Collaborative has been practicing. There is a specific focus on wealth planning and whole life planning. It is all about getting to know the client, their fears, hopes, and dreams. It’s about listening, asking good questions, and staying open to learning. These are all things Beverly and her firm have been teaching and coaching for over two decades. Their work has become very relevant, and they are in demand to share their knowledge of human behavior and Emotional Intelligence with practitioners. As most people know, when it comes to money, emotions and the way people think and feel factor in, significantly. The Collaborative shares the philosophy they teach their own clients, which is to connect and care about them beyond what you can sell and deliver. Get to know their business. Develop relationships, so firms, large and small, understand you are the “go-to” for them. Stay abreast of what is happening, so you learn about their obstacles and challenges. Don’t believe you have all of the answers – continue to learn and grow.


“Our clients have the competitive edge because they implement our ideas to connect with their market at a deeper level. It’s been so fulfilling to watch this happen. And our work is relevant whether the market is up or down. People are on emotional highs and lows regarding their finances almost constantly, and you have to understand, as an advisor or wealth manager or asset management firm, how to meet them where they are, and it isn’t by offering the best products and services,” shares Beverly.


The Balancing Act


Beverly has spent her career in what has always been a man’s business. She had male bosses and colleagues make extremely inappropriate comments hundreds of times. However, there also have been men, especially clients, who have been nothing but respectful, professional, and appropriate. “I have many close client relationships and have never once felt mistreated, disrespected, or unsafe. However, it is a balance for women in our business – you can’t be too direct or pushy, but you can’t be too demure or soft. If you have children, the balancing act is tough and most of the men I have worked with, really don’t understand how tough it is on a working mom. We care deeply about our careers, and we care deeply about our children. It isn’t an “either/or” scenario. Every day is a challenge to figure out how to be present for both and give both the necessary attention,” says Beverly.


“A specific take-away from my own journey,” she continues, “is that the boss and culture matter a lot. Some people and places fully support women and their unique journeys, others not so much. I tell professional women “be your authentic self, but you have to do so by understanding your boss and the organization.”


A Word for Fellow women Entrepreneurs


Beverly’s advice to young women who want to succeed is to learn about themselves. “Be clear on your own strengths and areas for improvement. Don’t beat up on yourself, but rather be objective about what you can contribute, and what you can do differently and better. Find a mentor, or a sponsor – someone who will guide you and help you avoid some of the landmines. Make mistakes. Some of the best learnings come from what we don’t do well the first time, and that helps us understand how to do something differently. Be confident in who you are and find the ways to bring your best self forward.”


She also feels that it is important to find ways to incorporate the things we care about outside of work into our daily life. “I am totally passionate about what I do and enjoy working with clients and partnering with them on their journey, but I also enjoy my family and being with my children whenever the opportunity presents as they are now all grown up. I love boxing and physical activity, and I love animal rescue work, volunteering and giving back financially. Live a well-rounded life,” Beverly advises.


The Path Ahead

Beverly wants to spread the word even further about how understanding people is the key to success. Investors deserve to work with firms who truly care about them as people, and about what they think and feel toward their money. There is still plenty of work to do in the industry to raise awareness about this, but most importantly to give advisors tools to get better. Most advisors do not have backgrounds in psychology and social work, so helping them learn how to apply the skills is key. In addition, she hopes to expand out to other industries – The Collaborative has worked with some medical companies, and retail banks, and there is a lot to do there as well. “In addition to the business objectives, when I look more broadly at my goals, as an avid volunteer in the animal rescue space I want to continue to share my time and energy to help as many unfortunate animals as I can. I would also like to write one or two more books on effective parenting and the importance of listening to and really understanding who your child is so you can parent most effectively,” concludes Beverly.

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