How Monique Russell uses her multicultural heritage to coach leaders

A vibrant and confident, multicultural go-getter, Monique Russell is a US-based executive communications coach who owns Clear Communication Solutions (CCS) – a global training, coaching and consulting firm that helps leaders and teams become expert communicators. 

Her heritage? Well, Monique has coined a new word for that, and fittingly styles herself “Bagerican” – an interesting, not-so-common mix of both Bahamian and Nigerian.  

Monique is confident that her mixed heritage has directly impacted her personal growth, business decisions and the strategic guidance she gives her global and diverse client base. 

For example, she stresses the importance of acknowledging diversity, not just between races, but also within the African diaspora. “You might think it’s so similar, but there are so many nuances in our culture,” Monique explains.

“In the Caribbean, there are formalities when we’re addressing [older] people, while in the States, the formalities are not so required.” Simple cultural understanding like this, she says, gives her a starting point when preparing herself to deal with international clients, and also in training immigrant entrepreneurs in public speaking, presentation, and career coaching. 

Essentially, Monique has managed to spin her innate understanding of cultural diversity into one of her greatest personal and professional strengths. 

“It’s about learning what you’re good at, learning your strengths, and making sure you’re working in that zone 80 percent of the time.” She strongly believes in this 80/20 split. That split is defined by hyper-specialization, deepening your strength, and then spending that last 20 percent shoring up weaknesses, either through practice or by crafting a complementary team.

In keeping with the theme of connections to the past, Monique cites her mother as the primary influence on her work and life. A lifelong teacher, at every level, her mother is a repository of knowledge who bequeathed Monique with her most invaluable skill. 

“There were a lot of things my mom couldn’t teach me, but she did teach me a love for learning,” Monique gushes. The adaptability central to that love of learning served Monique as she left her island home of the Bahamas at 17, for university in the United States. It would also help her navigate the unique hardships of debt and teen pregnancy.

Now, as a mother herself, who has managed to put a child through college debt-free, Monique has accumulated a vault of techniques and philosophies that she shares in her 2021 book Intentional Motherhood: Who Said It Would Be Easy?

The book is an encompassing manual for navigating the trials of motherhood, and includes everything from redefining success as a working mother, to navigating relationships with your partner, and disarming ego in interactions with your children. 

“How we are raised, what we are exposed to, how we respond to conflict, whether you’re a dictator or a micromanager — all of these things stem from our childhood…what has been modeled to us,” Monique explains, giving a preview of her book.

Her podcast, Bridge To U, is in many ways the perfect synthesis of her skills and ideologies – a platform for learning from experts, not just book-smart academics, people who have actually lived through the topics presented. Those topics run the gamut – from diving into decolonizing curricula with former university principals, to navigating the thorny topic of self-loathing’s intersection with Blackness. Monique believes this personal, vulnerable storytelling opens up points that listeners can connect to their own life lessons.

Monique hopes to grow both Bridge To U and CCS into versatile juggernauts in their respective fields. 

“I want Bridge To U to be used as a safe resource for business schools and accelerators,” she says, outlining her aspirations. For CCS, she wants to expand into more countries and foster deeper global relationships with a focus on social welfare over increasing the client’s bottom line. “It’s not about fattening your wallet… It’s about improving the lives of your community.” 

In the meantime, she urges female entrepreneurs to find a coach, and to master public speaking and emotional intelligence. 

“Hello, I’m raising my hand,” she says, giving her final pitch to our audience of women around the globe. “Come join my community. Come join my masterminds.”

Visit Monique Russel online:

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