Headshot of Alexia Vernon, a white woman with a green shirt, the Chief Executive Officer of Step Into Your Moxie.

Alexia Vernon

Chief Executive Officer of Step into Your Moxie

Step into Your Moxie
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Kathleen Castore, Disability:IN Supplier Diversity Mentoring & Development Consultant spoke with Alexia Vernon, Chief Executive Officer at Step into Your Moxie to discuss the progress and lessons learned during the Disability:IN 2023-2024 Mentoring Program.

KC: Hello Alexia and thank you very much for being a part of the Mentoring Program and stepping into the Spotlight to share your journey so far. So glad you are here with us.

KC: Alexia, please tell our readers about Step into Your Moxie and your services.

AV:  Step into Your Moxie is a communication and leadership development coaching and training company that supports executives, senior leaders, as well as women and underrepresented rising leaders to find their voice and master using it in presentations, high-stakes conversations, and everyday interpersonal communication. Through our inspirational keynotes, executive coaching, training, and team building programs, we are passionate about helping our clients create cultures where all employees can speak up for the ideas and issues that matter to them, their companies, and call people to take action.

Step into Your Moxie’s secret sauce is looking holistically at vocal empowerment. We use improv and role-play in our individual and group programs to ensure our clients can navigate through the discomfort that often comes up when doing and saying hard things. Over 75% of our clients rehire us because our program participants don’t only understand what they should say, but through applied, real-world, and ridiculously fun and effective activities, they develop the mindset, behaviors, messaging, and habits to consistently speak up and influence.

KC:  How has your passion as a communication specialist and a person with a disability driven you on a personal level and helped your business grow?

AV: As somebody who has navigated my own on-again, off-again relationship with my voice as well as chronic hoarseness from thyroid cancer and vocal cord nodules, everyday I’m reminded about how tricky it can be to speak up and use your voice. Yet, there is no skill more important for success than being able to communicate with confidence, competence, and clarity—so I love helping Step into Your Moxie clients develop the mindset, skillset, and psychological safety to move through the myriad challenges that exist to self-expression and develop lasting vocal empowerment.

KC: How has being a certified DOBE with Disability:IN affected your business and not just from getting a contract signed, but also the programming, peer support, educational programs and networking opportunities offered?

AV: We got certified through Disability:IN as a DOBE in 2021, and it’s led to numerous relationships with supplier diversity leaders, multiple speaking and training opportunities, and several fellow DOBEs have become Step into Your Moxie executive coaching clients. One Disability:IN corporate partner even asked us to keynote their conference for diverse suppliers directly after a matchmaker session! Disability:IN does a great job of facilitating networking opportunities as well as professional development through its mentorship program, matchmaking opportunities, pitch events, and conferences.

KC:  Can you tell us about your mentoring time with your mentor?

AV:   My mentor has been a dream mentor, and I’m eternally grateful to Disability:IN for facilitating the connection. Through our time together, I’ve had a true thought partner who has enabled me to create a new healthcare-industry specific emerging leaders’ program, clarify our talent development journey for clients, develop new marketing assets, and create a new healthcare speaking reel. At the start of our mentorship journey, I also had the opportunity to participate in an Executive Learning Series Summit at their company where I fostered relationships with supplier diversity and procurement leaders and several dozen fellow DOBEs.

KC:  What objectives have you worked on during the past months that you have achieved (or ongoing) that have helped you have a clear path to the next step?

AV:   I’m goal-driven and self-directed, so setting goals with my mentor in key areas such as developing healthcare industry specific marketing assets, pitching myself for healthcare industry speaking engagements, and initiating and deepening executive talent development relationships was relatively easy. I was pushed to make all my goals more measurable and to create metrics for success that were in my control.

For example, rather than focus on how many new meetings I scheduled or speaking opportunities I booked within a certain time, I clarified how many introductory emails or pitches I would send each month. Staying focused on what’s in my control and focusing on mutually beneficial relationship cultivation has led to multiple speaking engagements, several exciting new healthcare leadership development opportunities, and increased my self-confidence and sense of achievement.

KC:  Has anything surprised you that you have learned about yourself from participating in the mentoring program?

AV:  Step into Your Moxie has worked with many Fortune 500 companies over close to two decades in business, but after my cancer journey in 2020-2021, watching my mother navigate her own health challenges the last few years, and losing my father at the start of 2024, I’m particularly passionate about deepening our work in the healthcare sector. Talking to my mentor about why I want to make healthcare work better for all people, and how Step into Your Moxie’s approach is helping healthcare companies decrease sentinel events, negative patient reviews, and burnout while radically and positively improving employee engagement, workplace communication and culture, and patient/client outcomes has helped me to slay some initial healthcare imposter syndrome. I know that my health story is a valuable differentiator that should be centered in my marketing and relationship cultivation.  Also, I know I would not be regularly closing healthcare coaching, training, and executive development opportunities were it not for my mentor’s support and feedback.

KC:  Do you have any advice or encouragement for future mentees that are considering joining and why they should take advantage of the DOBE Mentoring Program?

AV: Apply! The mentorship program is an incredible benefit of being a DOBE, and remember that you will get out what you put in. Take the lead in scheduling meetings with your mentor, be clear about the kind of support you are looking for, and set clear meeting agendas so that you make the most of your mentor’s time as well as your own.

KC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about Disability:IN?

AV:  I have found fellow DOBEs to be the most generous entrepreneurs, always looking to help a fellow DOBE out by facilitating an introduction, sharing helpful feedback, and so forth. While you might hold multiple certifications, make the most of being a DOBE. Show up to the many virtual and in-person events that are held. Make it a priority not only to connect with corporate decision-makers but also with fellow DOBEs. And if you see me at an upcoming event (like the 2024 Conference in my hometown of Las Vegas), be sure to introduce yourself and connect with me on LinkedIn or via email.

KC:  Thank you, Alexia and I am so happy to have you as a mentee in the program. I wish you continued success throughout the rest of the program.