Welcome change-makers!

Maximize Your DEI Commitment

*DEI = Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Maximize Your DEI* Commitment

*DEI = Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rahel Y. Smith (she/her)

Founder, Values Forward Leadership

Hi. I’m Rahel.

What values will you center in your leadership? How will your organization move forward? What else do you need?

My background includes many years of social justice and anti-racism work, peer-to-peer counseling practice, and experience with strengths-based models. These all influence my coaching approach, rooted in a firm belief that each of us is brilliant and resourceful, with the internal wisdom and capacity to shape our own path.

With 20 years as a nonprofit and business professional, I’m familiar with human resources, finances, and operations. I’ve experienced firsthand the daily trade-offs and challenges faced by executives and leaders at all levels.


How We Can Work Together​

So often, HR staff are isolated. No one else has the knowledge/info/perspective held by HR leaders. They’re working hard on the organization’s behalf, but not in a way where peers can readily support them in their daily challenges. I can provide project-based or ongoing support in a number of arenas. Contact me to get started, or use the link below to learn more about any of my services.

Coaching for HR Professionals
Leadership Coaching
HR Consulting
DEI Implementation Support

From Clients

“You brought so much value to the projects we worked on together. I so appreciated your combination of very close attention to the quality of the work itself, but also big picture thinking around strategy, including how to incorporate equity values into our decision-making. I think it’s hard to pull off that balance as a consultant, but you’re one of the rare people who did; thank you!.”
Senior Director, Californians for Justice
“Rahel’s HR support, including assisting me with supervision challenges, was invaluable. Not all small nonprofits are lucky enough to have an HR resource with such deep knowledge.”
program director, educational nonprofit
“I’m grateful to Rahel for advocating that we prioritize DEI work during our 2019 strategic planning process. She helped form and co-lead a DEI committee, create the mission statement, and ensure strong participation from Board and staff. She helped foster a safe and highly collegial environment, as well as ensuring work continued moving forward.”
Executive director, Mental Health nonprofit

Featured Case Studies

Learn how I’ve assisted others by exploring the case studies below.

A Newly Promoted HR Manager

An HR Coordinator was promoted to Manager, reporting to an executive without HR background. Rahel served as an HR resource to them both, providing additional capacity, expertise, and perspective. Over time, as the Manager gained experience, Rahel’s role shifted away from tactical “how-to’s,” towards coaching and thought-partnership for this emerging leader.

Rahel’s supervision trainings reinforced HR’s priories, uplifing organizational values. Over several years working with the organization, Rahel’s institutional knowledge of their culture and practices helped foster continuity.

Rahel’s partnership adapts as your team grows.

Equity-Oriented People Ops Leader

The People Ops team at this BIPOC-led social justice nonprofit had solid HR practices in place, as they worked to foster an equity-centered, anti-racist workplace culture. Rahel was engaged as an ongoing thought partner for their People Ops leaders, providing an outside perspective, alongside deep HR knowledge and a shared commitment to equity.

When COVID hit, Rahel partnered with internal leaders, adapting template policies to align with organizational values and language. Generic COVID templates would have landed poorly for their activist staff.

“We couldn’t have gotten through COVID without you” they later reflected.

HR Assessment + Follow Up

Rahel conducted an audit of HR practices, made recommendations for improvement, then helped prioritize goals and organize the work into actionable segments.  She coached the Executive Director and Operations Manager through implementation with weekly check ins. The project established new policies, improved the annual review process, and implemented best practice compensation procedures.

Leaders reported that the process, as well as the changes it brought, created greater transparency and equity, and improved staff morale.

“Rahel’s gentle but firm guidance helped ensure our daily actions were aligned with our mission, values and non-profit best practices.”

Contact Me

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