Why Workplace Culture and Engagement are My North Stars

Growing up with an interracial and interfaith background made me feel that no one truly wanted to listen to what I had to say and like I was often an outsider. It was a journey for me of learning how to take ownership in my identity, finding my voice in it, and allowing myself to be seen. 

So I developed a strong desire to make sure that others around me felt heard and valued. Whether it was through listening to their stories, respecting their backgrounds and beliefs, or simply being there for them - I wanted everyone to feel like they belonged and were respected. I sought out opportunities to connect with those in my community and learn from their experiences.

I was working with a company some years ago, right in the middle of a merger where the infrastructure and operations were being completely restructured. It was a tumultuous time filled with uncertainty as the organization struggled to listen to customers and employees. As part of this process, I found myself in the center of it all.

I have always kind of been that person who would go out of my way to listen and be present for those around me. I was the one who made sure to really hear people's stories, show respect for their backgrounds and beliefs, and strive to make them feel seen and accepted. When no one else was listening to them or trying to help.

I knew that something needed to be done to bridge the divide between customers and employees, so I worked hard to create an employee engagement council. This council acted as a platform to bring people together and encourage open communication between different backgrounds and opinions. I thought this was the key to success, but I soon found that no one was truly understanding the importance of uniting these perspectives. It needed to be done on a larger scale than just my employee engagement council - it required systemic changes and an effort from everyone in the organization. Despite my best efforts, the merger was unsuccessful. There was a big, big layoff and of course, that's what put me in the role I am today. This realization was a turning point for me - I knew I needed to act and create something new. And so, with passion and determination, I founded my own company with a mission to empower and amplify the voices of those who have been overlooked. How do we bring more people along? How do we include more voices? How do we listen to more people at work and make them feel like they are part of it?


Obstacles may seem to abound, but people like me remain determined and ambitious to reach their goals. I'm what some might call a unicorn - always pushing forward with dedication and thoughtfulness for how my actions affect others. My passion never allows me to rest easy as I strive towards creating meaningful change in this world. There was a time when I held a role in the C-suite, a place of immense pressure, but I was proud to have held such an esteemed role- even if it only lasted until the layoff. As my gaze roamed around the room in discussions, however, I couldn't help feeling that no one else had a vision similar to mine - particularly about what our customers and employees wanted and needed from us. No one was paying attention or discussing this. Even when working with various organizations, I often found myself in meetings focused on topics irrelevant to the customer experience. It was a challenging task having to remind others that customers and employees are pivotal and their voice is key to any successful outcome.

After facing an uphill battle, I discovered how to reach people – beyond just relying upon instinct. It was data that ended up making all the difference! Taking this revelation and running with it, Customer Fanatix, which is now Employee Fanatix emerged on a foundation of meaningful metrics-fueled insight. Our decisions weren't based on gut feelings alone. We were able to back them up with powerful insights gained from data and evidence, both quantitative and qualitative! By focusing on the employee first, Employee Fanatix's impact has been made possible. As Founder, I'm dedicated to ensuring we continue this mission of communicating in a way that employees and customers can understand and appreciate.


From a young age, I've been keenly attuned to the people around me who have left an indelible impression on my life. The positive and negative of it all have stuck with me- their habits, failures, and successes - it's shaped how I both live and lead. Despite never having a formal mentor in tow throughout this journey so far, there's no denying that each person, from parents to grandparents, had an integral role in guiding where I am today!


It's been a fantastic two years for me - recognized twice in a row with the Inspiring Workplaces Engagement 101 award! I'm proud to have earned my place as someone who truly enhances employees' experiences, and am excited to continue making workplaces more magnetic. I’ve spent my life journey to get to this point. Through the highs and lows, I remain humble yet confident that my hard work can be seen. With a strong support system at my back pushing me forward on this journey of mine, being true to myself is what has allowed me to achieve success along the way.

A big, from the bottom-of-my-heart, thank you to the Inspiring Workplaces team and their judges for selecting me as a 2023 Engagement 101 winner!

2 thoughts on “Why Workplace Culture and Engagement are My North Stars”

  1. Hi Heather, truly inspiring stuff what you say and reflect upon in this Newsletter. It takes being authentic and not pretentious to exude positive energy all around. That is what you have done and that is what you continue to do today by sharing such gems. What you say resonates with me on so many levels. I have often found that when you are really people find you approachable and tend to gravitate towards you and easily share their most intimate stories including their greatest fears and concerns and almost everyone becomes self-deprecating towards you. It makes listening such a join and when you provide guidance, not instruction, it’s amazing how valuable that becomes to you and to them. You deserve to be recognized as an Engagement Influencer. Congratulations and keep going, Sister!


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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert


CEO of Employee Fanatix

A leading workplace culture and employee engagement consulting & training firm.

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Bringing the best insights from over 25,000 employee stories to the stage.

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