Dr. Kidde Kelly

Pioneering Leadership In Human Resources And Driving Organizational Change

In a world where organizations are constantly evolving, HR visionaries serve as beacons of inspiration, guiding companies through challenges and opportunities alike. Their innovative strategies, inclusive practices, and commitment to employee well-being not only drive organizational success but also set new standards for excellence in the field of human resources.

Dr. Kidde Kelly, Founder and CEO of The Catalyst for Discovery Group, LLC has emerged as one of the most influential HR leaders today. Her focus on leadership development, transformation, and fostering inclusive workplaces has earned her widespread recognition and respect within the industry.

Dr. Kelly decided to dive into HR and organizational development because she has a passion for helping people. In her journey, the influential HR leader has witnessed too many instances where leaders and organizations unintentionally impede individuals’ growth, hindering their career paths. This fueled her determination to guide individuals in uncovering their passions and achieving their utmost potential.

Hence, her focus is on aiding companies in enhancing workplace practices, addressing barriers, and systemic challenges that obstruct progress and affect overall well-being, profitability, and employee contentment. Furthermore, it provides Dr. Kelly with the opportunity to assist fellow HR professionals in spearheading human capital initiatives, fostering environments where every employee can flourish within a culturally inclusive workplace.

From Office Administration to HR

Over the years, Dr. Kelly noticed a common trend among HR leaders: many come from diverse backgrounds before finding their way into the human resources field. Her journey reflects this pattern, as she initially embarked on a career in office administration, accumulating around a decade of experience before transitioning into HR. Along the way, the influential HR leader had the privilege of working with various consulting firms, including those specializing in Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as within the pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, aerospace, avionics, and medical devices sectors.

Her professional journey has taken Dr. Kelly through leadership roles in numerous Fortune 500 companies, as well as smaller organizations. Throughout these experiences, she has been involved in shaping HR strategy, administration, business partnerships, organizational development, effectiveness, employee engagement, and crafting enriching employee experiences.

Cultivating Respectful and Inclusive Workplaces

As the CEO and Founder of The Catalyst for Discovery Group, Dr. Kelly subscribes to a philosophy of being a transformational servant leader who executes with integrity and has a strong spiritual moral compass. She strongly believes in empowering those in her circle to excel and strives to support them in realizing their maximum potential.

The passionate leader aims for excellence and prioritizes accountability, emphasizing the importance of delivering high-quality results and fostering fairness and equity in the workplace. Her focus is on empowering others to reach their full potential and advance in their careers through the transformative journey of discovery.

Dr. Kelly also empowers organizations to cultivate respectful and secure workplaces that exemplify restorative justice practices, nurture diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), pursue continuous improvement, and embrace growth mindsets that provide valuable learning opportunities to build superior work environments.

Moreover, she guides HR professionals seeking to refine their workplace policies, practices, and initiatives. This approach aims to bolster productivity, elevate the work environment, and promote employee engagement and experience. By enabling authenticity and quality, the influential HR leader helps create conditions for employees to excel.

Transforming Challenges into Advocacy

Being a minoritized leader, Dr. Kelly has encountered marginalization, micro-aggressions, stereotyping, and discrimination based on her age, race, gender, and disability. Yet, these experiences have fueled her determination to advocate for a more equitable approach, urging leaders and organizations to embrace the golden rule, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”.

Visionary. I have always been a creative thinker, futurist and dreamer, focused on “better” – better people, better workplaces, and making our world better

Embracing a mindset of continuous learning and growth, she has intentionally sought out workplaces where she has been able to develop, forge meaningful business connections, and leave a positive impact on every organization in which she has worked.  Despite adversity and her frequently being the only ethnic (and sometimes gender) underrepresented individual in leadership in a room full of executives, she is proud of her ability to have always been a positive influence in various settings.

Defining Diversity, Equality, Equity, and Inclusion

When Dr. Kelly was asked to explain what diversity, equality, and inclusion mean, she said, “Diversity is recognizing our differences. Equality is fair treatment for all.  Equity provides a just and level playing field.  Inclusion is welcoming all, allowing authenticity to flourish and giving employees a voice to be included in the conversation.

She further adds, “Having culturally competent leaders in an organization is essential to enabling diversity, equity, and inclusion to thrive.

Driving Organizational Change

It is never easy leading change in organizations, yet it is very necessary for not only stabilization and sustainability, but also for transformation,” says Dr. Kelly. She has had the honor to lead some impactful initiatives:

  • Transforming compensation strategies – Creating new sales compensation plans aligned with an organizational business transformation.
  • Transforming performance management – Changing from a twice a year performance check-in to an ongoing, rating-less quality assessment with peer feedback and ongoing feedback throughout the year.
  • Leadership assessment and engagement/pulse surveys – Implementing leader assessment to support their effectiveness and creating an all-employee engagement survey along with a pulse survey strategy.
  • Executive and professional coaching – Implementing leadership coaching for executives and high potential employees to enhance organizational effectiveness and career development.

These programs made significant changes in the organizations. Even though some people didn’t like them at first, Dr. Kelly and her team found out why and fixed their worries. Having organizational leaders on their side, making allies along the way, and getting support from employees were really important for making it work.

Significance of Employee Engagement for Organizational Success

Employee engagement is vital for any organization’s success. It’s more than just ensuring that employees are content; it’s about fostering a work environment where they feel valued, motivated, and committed to their roles and the company’s objectives. According to Dr. Kelly, employee engagement depends on how effectively leaders behave at work. It’s often said that people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers.

Therefore, it’s crucial to assist leaders in becoming better at leading. During her career, the passionate leader has led projects that boosted employee satisfaction and overall engagement by implementing leadership development, coaching, and mentoring programs. It’s essential to help leaders understand the link between their leadership style and employee engagement to improve not only engagement but also the overall employee experience.

Guiding Women to Fulfill Their Potential

Since the launch of The Catalyst for Discovery Group, Dr. Kelly has had the privilege of guiding many incredible women (mostly) to find their true potential. She has assisted them in clarifying their goals during career changes or when aiming for higher positions, creating pathways for growth. Moreover, the influential HR leader has found immense fulfillment in training leaders across different sectors and crafting educational programs for various institutions, including nonprofits, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and other academic institutions.

Current Industry Scenario

According to Dr. Kelly, DEIB should remain a priority in organizations, regardless of legislative changes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution but, should be customized to meet each organization’s specific needs. Leadership training and development will remain crucial to support all strategic goals. She also suggests preparing for the future of work and understanding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) are vital to enabling the best workplace practices to be implemented to support all the aforementioned focus areas.

Future Goals

 When asked to share her future goals, Dr. Kelly said that she will continue to focus on helping individuals, HR professionals, and organizations to transform through discovery. Her mission is to utilize her company to positively impact individuals and organizations, one at a time, to create influential and productive workspaces. She is leveraging her ties to academia to assist leaders in improving their effectiveness in line with this mission. “Coaching executives is not just satisfying, but also enriches their lives and the organizations and people they impact,” says Dr. Kelly.

Words of Wisdom

As a woman entrepreneur and an influential HR leader, Dr. Kelly gives advice, “Be intentional in your convictions and how you support organizations to lead in whatever arena you are in. Organizations look to HR for advice, counsel, and support. Be courageous in your leadership and authentic in your actions. It matters! Intentionality, integrity, and inspiration are important keys to your success, as well as the spaces in which you operate.

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