Sumiko Kimura, Founder & CEO, Pure EdgeSumiko Kimura, Founder & CEO
It comes as no surprise that most diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives are put in place to comply with corporate governance and self-regulation. Most often, these measures are poorly-funded and disconnected from broader and substantial training programs. Such programs are singularly focused on recruitment, reputation management, and ‘checking off the boxes’ of company norms, limiting its approach and hindering the growth potential of the company’s workforce. Even though D&I initiatives significantly help generate more cash flow per employee and improve their performance, several companies find it challenging to implement D&I among their teams. The biggest hurdle for them is bringing about a change within the company’s culture while also ensuring the D&I initiatives align well with their organizational goals and core values. In such a scenario, both HR departments and individual leaders need to have the knowledge, expertise, and training to enact these changes and sustain a D&I-centric culture.

In conversation with ManageHR magazine, Sumiko Kimura, the Founder and CEO of Pure Edge, shares how the company helps clients with organizational development with ongoing consultation and leadership development training to promote D&I. “We provide programs such as coaching, training, and facilitation-based leadership development programs to support leaders and individuals enhance their understanding of each other and their teams, and work on their own self-transformation safely,” states Sumiko.
Please give us an overview of Pure Edge and its genesis.

Before starting Pure Edge, I worked for McCann Erickson Japan in Tokyo for 21 years, as the first female executive leader and later as a board director. Throughout my term at McCann Erickson, I engaged in branding, marketing, and developing corporations and products for client companies. By implementing facilitation-based leadership within my team, we included people from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, and specialties to achieve common organizational goals. I also have substantial coaching experience, with over 5000 hours of coaching for more than 300 clients, which played a crucial role in making Pure Edge a reality.

With 18 years of experience as a professional coach and a Master Certified Coach, I help leaders promote D&I initiatives within their organizations. My clients also receive the required intelligence and understanding of human psychology and behavior, enabling them to act as apt facilitators of innovation while helping them resolve conflicts effectively. With our service offerings, we aim at promoting self-understanding and self-transformation of individuals from the top management right up to the marginal employees. We also engage with middle managers through our facilitation-based leadership development training, which helps them perform as efficient facilitators of the D&I culture throughout the organization.

We provide programs such as coaching, training, and facilitation-based leadership development programs to support leaders and individuals enhance their understanding of each other and their teams, and work on their own selftransformation safely

Could you elaborate on the D&I solutions and services you provide to clients?

We offer training for different organization hierarchy levels, especially supporting the construction and architecture companies. Male managers are coached and trained to develop their female team members by eliminating all preconceptions regarding gender differences and nurturing their ability to have a seamless one-on-one dialogue. We also help build female employees’ leadership skills and reinforce self-leadership based on their understanding of themselves and their team members. With a holistic approach toward organizational development and reform support along with our two to three-year ongoing engagement, we act as enablers of cultural change for clients. Additionally, our team delivers executive coaching, board meeting facilitation, planning, implementation, and engagement surveys analysis. We also conduct several workshops to redevelop a company’s mission statement and code of conduct with change leaders. Along with these capabilities, clients can also develop internal newsletters within their organizations and conduct town hall meetings for direct dialogue between the executive leaders and employees.

Furthermore, our three-month to six-month ongoing training for D&I leadership development helps identify and create high-performing employees. It allows them to communicate through self-disclosure with employees of different companies, driven by our facilitation-based leadership development training and diversity leadership development training, especially for female employees. Our company also indulges in personal sessions for business people, senior managers, and personal mentoring for newly appointed female managers to help them deliver more value to their organizations through their self-transformation.

Could you cite a customer success story that substantiates how you helped a particular client attain their desired goals?

We have successfully worked with a precision equipment manufacturer that has been in business for over 50 years and had a new President take up the responsibility of managing the company. Before he came in, the organization had followed a traditional top-down management style where employees were used to following instructions and lacked the independence to express their views or opinions, with a low level of engagement. Once our company stepped in, we started providing executive coaching sessions to the new president and formed a changeleader team which consists of about ten high performing employees. Clients were given online group coaching to encourage a transformation of others’ mindsets and behaviors by setting the code of conduct through their daily work. We also trained the managers and encouraged the development of internal newsletters every month. This gained a foothold to introduce employees to desired changes and communicate messages from the president.

Finally, we conducted town hall meetings and a workshop where the president visited each branch to discuss with the employees in person once a year. Within just two years, they have created an HR system that helps fulfill the company’s mission statement and receive evaluation marks. They have also chosen their first female manager, who is leading the HR department. Ultimately, they introduced new technologies and launched ground-breaking products for their end-consumers while renewing their image and brand reputation.

What does the future hold for Pure Edge?

Our company has always been focused on delivering organization development services to small and medium-sized companies. We hope to bring the talents from ‘Team Pure Edge’ to expand our services and support to larger organizations. We are also preparing to shift our current B2B business model and incorporate more B2C courses for any individual. We want to include all individuals who are driven and motivated to learn and grow. Our plan moving into the future is to form a pyramid of services to transform and enhance the quality of influence of business leaders while getting potential client companies into the organizational development process through their enthusiastic employees.