As an Executive Leadership Trainer and DEI Consultant, Tania Desa draws from intercultural experiences of traveling to over 80 countries and living, studying, and working in Australia, Japan, Hungary, Spain, China, and Switzerland. She is a professionally trained coach and holds an International MBA from ESADE Business School in Spain and Peking University in China.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Tania Desa: I’m the CEO of Desa Global Leadership – an international leadership training & inclusion consulting firm whose mission is to inspire professionals to find voice and visibility in corporate workplaces. Desa Global Leadership empowers global clients like Intel, Samsung, American Express, Cigna, Atlassian, Facebook, and Munich Re with leadership training and DEI consulting across all continents.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Tania Desa: Be quick to pivot to meet clients where they are at. We learned to embrace virtual collaboration tools even more & continue to leverage them to connect with teams all around the world. Having an experimental mindset & being willing to co-create with clients was key, and it’s a principle we’re taking into 2022 & beyond.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Tania Desa: Keep setting ambitious business goals, some of the best ideas & new products come out of challenging times. Over the last 2 years we have expanded the scope of our diversity & inclusion consulting offerings due to market demand & the need for companies to rapidly build more diverse talent pipelines. We have also continued to invest in developing our team & scaling to broaden our scope & reach.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Tania Desa: Demand for face to face training disappeared overnight. No one could have anticipated how long the impact of the pandemic would last so the most impactful thing we did was to stay close to our customers, hear about the challenges that were keeping them up at night and work in ways to support them throughout. That personal connection was key, we were all facing hard & uncertain times so we moved through it together.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Tania Desa: I don’t think anyone had a crystal ball to anticipate how long the pandemic would last or the rippling effects. I’m grateful we invested time and energy into relationship capital. Maintaining strong connection with our clients, partners and communities globally. I’m also grateful we pivoted quickly from Face to Face training and consulting delivery to Virtual and we will continue to learn and leverage awesome online collaboration tools to make our online programs even more interactive and experiential as I think it’s essential in the hybrid work environments of 2022 and beyond.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Tania Desa: To continue building out our virtual training and consulting services as online is here and will continue to stay to come extent. We expect for some face to face leadership training programs (especially our Leadership Development Bootcamps & Women’s Advancement Programming) to return however we are excited to reach even more time zones and participants hungry for learning and growth across ALL continents. Our global reach continues to extend because with our global team and virtual capabilities, we have the capacity to partner with clients in any time zone.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Tania Desa: Probably much more since the pandemic started as I love networking, conferences and the social aspects of business so I found ways to connect with new communities, partners and potential clients online. I invested in a standing desk and ramped up on audiobooks during walks so at least there’s more physical activity in addition to screen time.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Tania Desa: Storytelling is core to everything we do – it helps us build connection with our clients, stay relevant with our global online communities and it keeps us aligned and close as a global team. We’re big believers in harnessing the power of stories and sharing best practices, especially in our leadership and DEI trainings. We champion our clients by sharing their successes and case studies so that others can learn from them and so that no one needs to re-invent the wheel, rather they feel empowered building upon a spark of an idea and making it work in their own team microculture.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Tania Desa: Attention management. There are so many competing priorities when it comes to our attention and time that it’s challenging us all to focus on what is most important and say no to distractions. Saying no in business may mean no to a new contract or client or creating a new program if it doesn’t align with our purpose or if its out of scope to our core services. It takes courage to do this…and it always pays off.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Tania Desa: I’m interested in learning more about Crypto, love learning about new ways to create multiple revenue streams.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Tania Desa: Yes, we see this a lot in the DEI work that we do. Many women and underrepresented minorities don’t feel a sense of belonging in their team or at their workplace. Not feeling heard or seen on a daily basis leads to disengagement and top talent fleeing from organizations. Leaders have an important role as an Ally to play within their teams- this means creating psychological safe team environments where team members can share vulnerably, ask for help and offer bold ideas without fear of repercussions.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Tania Desa: Business superpower would have to be helping clients stay accountable via telepathy. There is such high energy, empowerment and a sense of willingness after our training sessions that I’d love to whisper in their ear 2 months later to remind them to continue owning their awesomeness and to do what they said they were going to do. I think we all need that sometimes and it would truly be a gift.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Tania Desa: Success means feeling energized by what I’m doing everyday and striving to make an impact in the lives of the people around me- my team, clients, my family, community, the world. It’s brainstorming new ideas and dreams then feeling that energy and accountability to create and deliver. Success is investing in growing the people around you and lifting others up, knowing that we all rise that way. It’s going to sleep feeling fulfilled.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Tania Desa for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Tania Desa or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.