1846 – A New Approach to Business Success with Juan Taveras

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Co-Founder and CEO of DEI Pro Finder, Juan Taveras.

Taveras Wide

Juan Tavares is a pioneer who recognized the untapped potential of creating a platform that bridges the gap between companies and DEI professionals. DEI Pro Finder is his brainchild, a specialized service connecting organizations with experts who foster inclusive work environments. Juan's journey to the helm of DEI Pro Finder is a testament to his commitment to making the corporate world more reflective of the society it serves.

Juan shed light on the myriad challenges companies face when implementing effective DEI strategies. From unconscious bias to a lack of representation at the decision-making table, the road to inclusivity is fraught with obstacles. However, Juan also highlighted the immense opportunities to overcome these challenges. He shared success stories and the positive impact that a robust DEI framework can have on a company's culture and bottom line.

Juan emphasized that it's not just about checking boxes or meeting quotas. It's also about creating a space where diverse voices are heard, valued, and leveraged for the betterment of the organization. He explained how DEI Pro Finder helps companies navigate this complex terrain by providing access to top-tier DEI talent.

Juan also talked about the importance of leadership buy-in, the power of listening to employees, and the need for ongoing education and training. His experience has shown that when companies commit to DEI, they unlock innovation, drive employee engagement, and enhance their competitive edge.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • CEO of DEI Pro Finder, Juan Tavares
  • Discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  • Strategies for implementing DEI initiatives
  • Importance of DEI in business
  • Challenges and opportunities in DEI efforts
  • Impact of DEI on company culture and performance
  • Practical tips for fostering diversity and inclusion

About Juan Taveras:

Juan Taveras is a seasoned Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) professional with over 17 years of expertise. His career focuses on developing and promoting inclusive workplace initiatives to enhance psychological safety, organizational alignment, and engagement.

Juan is a passionate advocate for diversity advancement, guiding leaders in creating equitable work environments through his nuanced understanding of cultural transformation dynamics. Known for his intuitive and collaborative leadership style, Juan excels in building strong relationships, providing advice, and convening stakeholders to co-create vision and strategy.

Beyond his professional role, Juan is a devoted husband and father, residing in Phoenix, AZ. He is also the co-founder and CEO of DEI Pro Finder, a public online directory for DEI consultants. In his leisure time, Juan enjoys family activities, house projects, cooking with a touch of dance, and indulging in romantic comedies with his wife.

About DEI Pro Finder:

DEI Pro Finder is a vital public directory for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultants, aiming to streamline the connection between HR and business leaders and the essential resources required to optimize DEI strategies. Recognizing the complexity of the DEI industry, the platform is on a mission to alleviate the challenges overwhelmed leaders face. By acting as an online hub, DEI Pro Finder facilitates connections with DEI practitioners, offering a centralized source of information and resources.

The platform's goal is to empower organizations to maximize the impact and effectiveness of their DEI initiatives, ultimately contributing to enhancing workplace culture. With a commitment to fostering inclusivity, DEI Pro Finder is crucial in navigating and simplifying the intricate landscape of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out DEI Pro Finder website at

Check out DEI Pro Finder on LinkedIn at

Check out Juan Taveras on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. One. Tavares. One. You are the CEO of d e I Pro Finder. And what you do is you connect HR business leaders with right fit Dei consultants. And then you also help Dei consultants increase their visibility. Your website is d e I pro one.

Josh (00:01:19) - Thank you so much for joining us.

Juan (00:01:20) - Thank you so much for having me. Josh I'm super excited to be here.

Josh (00:01:23) - What a great space to be in and what a great opportunity to help a lot of great companies. And again, those amazing solutions providers that are out there wanting to do the good work. I'll let you kind of maybe describe how Dei Pro Finder works, but I love it.

Juan (00:01:43) - Thank you. Josh. Yeah, yeah. So I mean you hit the nail on the head. We really serve as a bridge and a connector between the two sides of this marketplace. So we've got the Dei consultants or professionals on one side, and we have over 120 of them now on our directory, on our website. And then on the other side we've got HR, Dei and other business senior business leaders that are doing this work internally and that are looking for support, and that can be anything from there just getting started and have a lot of questions and, you know, don't know how to get started or what to do.

Juan (00:02:15) - Or they're well on their journey and have either come across a challenge or are ready to level up their strategy. And they need sort of a very specific kind of expert or or someone with a specific kind of expertise to come in. And that's where Dei Pro Finder comes into play. So we make those connections and help create win win situations, is what I like to call it. Yeah. On either side.

Josh (00:02:39) - Yeah. We'll we'll talk about the platform itself again just to our Dei solutions providers. It's free to join. You know, it's free to get listed in the directory. I mean obviously there's some opportunities for increased connections and increased visibility. We'll get into that., but what I'm wondering, you know, here we are in 2024, I'm wondering if you could give us just a bit of a state of the Union when it comes to die, because I know this is a subject that you care quite a bit about. And, and certainly I think we're seeing, you know, if we think about the totality of the past 5 to 10 years, we've seen a lot of movement in this space.

Josh (00:03:16) - But could you maybe bring us up to date with where we are in 2024? Yeah.

Juan (00:03:20) - Great question. Josh, I'm glad you asked that because I get this question a lot. So like folks are because of the headlines and what's out in the news and social media right now, a lot of negative attention around Dei. And the assumption is that this there's some kind of trend here around Dei going away or not being as important anymore. And that is just simply not the case. Right., it's unfortunate that it's getting so much attention and that Dei has been negative attention, I should say, and the Dia has been politicized. But the reality is, and like you just said, Dei has been around for decades. And and I would argue that it's more important today than ever before because of the amount of generations that we have in the workplace we're now navigating. Leaders have to navigate in business. Owners have to navigate a post-pandemic workplace with hybrid workforce or fully remote or back to office situations. We have a mental health crisis in our society, like any number of things that make the workplace today even more diverse, more nuanced, and the need for Dei strategies and initiatives is more important than ever.

Juan (00:04:27) - So that's why we are doubling down on our efforts to grow our platform., and, and I also want to we might get a chance to talk about this later, but we're also launching a podcast so that we can just bring more visibility to the positive aspects and outcomes of Dei work when it's done. Well. Okay. Because I also want to just take a second to acknowledge that some of the headlines out there, I'm not suggesting that they're not true, they're just not 100% the case. Right. So there are times, unfortunately, where Dei has caused division or, harm in some cases, but it's not., that doesn't mean that all Dei is bad, right? It just means that in some situations it wasn't done well. And that is why I think our platform can really serve those HR and business leaders looking to do this work well, because there's a lot of, like I said earlier, nuance and how this happens. And we are there to make those connections intentional connection.

Josh (00:05:23) - Yeah, absolutely.

Josh (00:05:24) - So, you know, again, if we think about the terms diversity, equity, inclusion like these shouldn't be political, right? So, give us, let's leave the politics behind and just give us a, you know, maybe an appeal to why leaders need to, I guess, maybe best practices on, you know, what they should be focused on, you know, when it comes to all things on that side. So if we want to just be a great leader, that helps facilitate a. A great culture where people do feel like they're welcomed and they belong,, you know, regardless of their background or how they identify. Right. Why is this more critical than ever?

Juan (00:06:07) - Yeah. Great question. So if my suggestion to to business owners and leaders out there right now is if they're interested in creating a culture where, like you said, everyone feels welcome, valued and where they can be authentically themselves, right. And contribute to the business mission and goals in a way that is aligned with their whole being.

Juan (00:06:27) - Right., then it starts with engaging your community, your workforce. Right. I always,, any, any clients that I engage with. The first question I ask is, what data have you collected? What questions have you asked your team? Because again, this Dei, there's no one size fits all here. Like it's really dependent on the makeup of your current organization or your current team. And what is the information that you're trying to gather. Right. And how is that going to inform your business strategy? Because it has to be connected to everything that we do because that's how business is. People. People make the business run. So the more you know about your your people, the better you are able to provide the right kinds of supports and create the right kind of environment where they will thrive as individuals, but also as as a collective. Right. That's my take on it. It's like we start with where you're at, like, don't. A mistake that I see often leaders make is they think Dei strategy is this big project that they have to take on.

Juan (00:07:27) - And it's right there, right. Start with where you're at.

Josh (00:07:29) - Well, on that note to let's talk about application for SMEs. Right. So you could be a solopreneur. And, again I think we want what we want to think about, right. Is, you know, obviously as a solopreneur, we're coming into it with our own lens, right? Like our background, our experiences, but our experiences and background don't necessarily reflect those of all of the clients or customers or audience that we want to serve. And certainly as we expand the types of talent and diversity of opinions and viewpoints and backgrounds that are valuable to match that diverse population in the world. I know. So, you know, maybe just talk about, you know, I didn't mean to steal any of your thunder there. Great. Yeah. Again, application for SMS. Like, where does it begin? And how do we start when we're starting small?

Juan (00:08:20) - Great question. Yeah. Because again, this is another sort of misunderstanding out there that D is for big companies or requires a lot of resources.

Juan (00:08:29) - It does require time and energy because it has to be intentional. But you can start. And actually the earlier you start in your business journey,, the better, because then it'll just be embedded in everything that you do as you grow and scale. So I say to your point, how are you connecting with your audience? Right. If you're targeting a diverse audience that looks different than you and that has had a different lived experience, then how are you making those genuine connections like you can again, going back to gathering data, right. So surveying folks and understanding what in relation to your product or service like what is it about, what would get them to to engage more deeply? What might be missing that you don't know about? This is another aspect of my work that I spend a lot of time on is our own lack of awareness, right? So because we all have bias and our blind right to what we are, just don't know and have an experience. So entering any situation with the assumption that there's something here that I don't know, there's something here that I can learn.

Juan (00:09:26) - And engaging with your audience, whether it's internal or external in that way, entering it from a place of curiosity and wanting to gain value,, so that you can serve your people better. Because at the end of the day, that's the goal, right? We're trying to this is where I don't separate business from Dei. It's all connected, right? Because we're not just doing implementing these strategies for the sake of implementing them. We're implementing them so that we can make our grow our businesses, engage with our customers more deeply and more authentically and just be better, you know, all around.

Josh (00:09:59) - Well, your website is Dei Let's talk about again one what you do, what your how your platform works, who you serve and who should be jumping on this immediately from from either side of the coin.

Juan (00:10:14) - Yeah, yeah. So we operate a two sided marketplace, which is both sort of a blessing, but also a double edged sword because we have two audiences that we cater to. So on one side, we've got Dei professionals and consultants and small firms that are looking to grow their visibility, reach more potential clients, showcase their talents and skills.

Juan (00:10:35) - And that's what our directory does. So like you mentioned earlier, anyone can join our directory if they are a practicing Dei professional or consultant for free. And they get listed on our directory, they get a full company profile and our searchable etc.. And there's also a lot of our platform allows you to leverage any content you are already putting out, like on social media or blog posts and videos, etc. you can repurpose them onto our directory just to make your profile more robust and more findable in the directory. And then we do offer. We just launched this a couple months ago, a. A paid membership. If you want even more support from us in our and my team. So we do a matching service with potential clients. Like I said earlier, we're going to have a podcast that will be highlighting our consultants on the podcast. We have a newsletter feature and LinkedIn spotlights those kinds of things. So just continuing to help elevate the work and the and the services and the offers of awesome consultants doing this Dei work.

Juan (00:11:35) - And then on the other side, we've got HR, Dei and other senior business leaders that are already doing this work or have an interest in getting started and then need some support, whether that is a quick coaching session with me, just like help them understand how to develop a strategy which I have had the the pleasure of doing many times, and organizations both for profit and non profit in my HR career. But I also offer a, like I said earlier, matching service. So if they know exactly what they're looking for or what they need, but they don't know where to find it, then I can help them find the professional to to support their goals and their work.

Josh (00:12:14) - Well, this is exciting because you've recently launched your podcast and it's called Inclusive Leader Spotlight Demystifying Dei. One conversation at a time., tell me a bit about the podcast. Obviously to our friends that's listening to us right now. Go search for the term Inclusive Leader spotlight. Hit subscribe. But one tell us about the podcast who who you bring together.

Juan (00:12:36) - Yeah. So I'm really excited about this because the podcast is and you know, this being on on your podcast is such a pleasure because we have the ability to go deeper, right, with these conversations and to have an actual an exchange of ideas and answer questions and things like that, where as the directory, while it's been wonderful, it is very one sided. It's pretty transactional up until now. Right. So I've got and my team and I sort of manage the transactions on either side., we do make once we make those matches, we do make those warm introductions between a potential client and a Dei professional. But then, you know, it's up to them to manage that relationship moving forward. What I like about the podcast is that it's an opportunity for us to just highlight the positive work that is being done in the Dei space. So we interview,, inclusive leaders that are currently doing this work in their organizations. We talk about what's working, what's not working, because I want to hear about the challenges, too, and how they overcame those challenges.

Juan (00:13:32) - Right. Because this is hard work. And it's like I said earlier, it's very nuanced. So,, we want to hear about that. And then sort of what makes them tick, why are they so passionate about inclusivity and creating workspaces where everyone can feel like they belong? Because we want to just continue to highlight as much as possible, the positive and the highlight the benefits of implementing Dei so that other people out there,, potential or not potential, but listeners that are also passionate about this but may be struggling or or have been thinking about implementing a Dei strategy and just haven't haven't done it yet. They get that inspiration, that hope and and and also can walk away with some tangible strategies,, that they can implement in their own workplace. So it's also an opportunity to learn more about Dei. And then we'll also be highlighting consultants. Right. So because the other part of demystifying the Dei space is about highlighting the difference even within how the work is done. There are no two consultants, especially in our directory, that are alike.

Juan (00:14:31) - Right. They they all are Dei professionals, but they bring their own sort of flavor to the work based on their own lived experience, based on their strengths and talents. So it's again nuanced, and I love making those highlighting that and making those intentional connections whenever I can.

Josh (00:14:49) - Yeah, so very cool. I mean, obviously, one, your background,, you've done a lot of consulting yourself, and now you've put together kind of the SaaS platform. Share with me just a bit about like your organization or your company or like what you do. And kind of aside from the conversations bringing everyone together, which is amazing., do you still provide consulting?

Juan (00:15:13) - Yeah. As of the time of this recording, I do I do have a couple of consulting clients.

Josh (00:15:20) - , quickly.

Juan (00:15:21) - Yeah. But I'm moving more towards,, I'm focusing more on this matching process, which is it is a consultative approach, but it's more focused. Right. So it's not some of the consulting that I've done traditionally are longer term projects, three, six, nine months.

Juan (00:15:36) - There's a lot of work involved. And I kind of become embedded into the team with the services that we're providing now through Dei provider. It's more about really getting very specific about you need a Dei professional to support your work moving forward, and let us help you find that person. So.

Josh (00:15:52) - Oh that's brilliant.

Juan (00:15:53) - Yeah.

Josh (00:15:53) - So yeah, that's brilliant because well, that was the other question I was going to ask you is like, how do we even decide. And you know, and already, you know, where I'm looking at your population already. I mean, there's there's a lot of really great talent here. So it can maybe feel a little overwhelming in terms of like, what do we need? And, and maybe one there's uncovered needs. Like maybe, you know, you're working with a potential client and they don't even know what they need. And so I would imagine then, you know, how valuable that would be to just have a conversation with you, kind of get clarity around that so that they make the right hire.

Josh (00:16:27) - Right. Because you also don't want to kind of match up, you know, the wrong solution provider. And you know, their strengths just don't match. You know, the real opportunity to impact positive change.

Juan (00:16:37) - Absolutely. And that's part of my guarantee, which is why part of that process is an in-depth intake with me. So I'm going to ask a lot of questions. I'm going to get into the weeds. Right. But and this is where again, I have I bring an HR lens to to this work. So I understand the people side of this as well,, which is incredibly beneficial. So whenever I talk to an HR leader, they're like, oh, you get it right. You understand what these challenges are? Because oftentimes there's I've seen this in organizations where there's a disconnect between a Dei strategy and a people strategy. And really those those two things need to be intertwined. So during that intake process, I learned a lot about what the goals are. What. The current challenges are.

Juan (00:17:14) - Tell me more about the workforce, the demographics, what are you trying to achieve? And oftentimes, to your point, I'll get a client that says, oh, we need a consultant to do XYZ. And they're very specific. And I said, okay, how did you get there? How did you get to that conclusion that that is what you need? So let's unpack that a little because I want to make sure to your point, that they're asking for the right thing and they're and that they're getting what they actually need as opposed to what might be trending in the moment. Like here's an example. So I'll get a client reaches out to me saying I want a somebody that can do unconscious bias training. And I was like, great. I have a lot of folks that can do that. But help me understand why you think you need unconscious bias training and what have you done. Yeah. Leading up to this. Right. Because there's you can't just start Dei strategy doesn't start with training. It has to start with an audit and an assessment and really getting to understand your your current population, because we need that buy in.

Juan (00:18:07) - In order for this to be successful, we need everyone to be involved and brought along in the process. So that's what I do. Yeah.

Josh (00:18:15) - Excellent. All right. Again d e I pro, also your podcast Inclusive Leader spotlight demystifying dei one conversation at a time., to a friend that's listening, just go ahead and search in your podcast app right now., and hit subscribe on that. And then one,, naturally, you are having conversations with voices in the Dei space, both, again, kind of leaders in HR. And then of course those amazing solutions providers. And again, you're accepting guests., so I just happened to see on your website here Dei Pro Finder. Com click on podcast and then you'll see a button that says apply to be a guest. And that will, yeah. Should you know someone that deserves to be celebrated. Send them your way. One.

Juan (00:19:02) - Please do. Yes. I love having these conversations and engaging with people because again, this is it's so important for us to demystify Dei and help to provide that clarity and highlight the positive whenever we can.

Josh (00:19:15) - Juan Tavares Dei Juan, thank you so much for joining us.

Juan (00:19:20) - Thank you. Josh.

Josh (00:19:26) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence. Comments. Guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stop by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day.

Josh (00:20:30) - Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

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