Q&A with Sesha Yalamanchili – D&I Consultant

By Claire Petrie, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Learning Series is coming up!

As you saw in my recent blog post, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Learning Series event is coming up!

I decided to interview Sesha Yalamanchili, who will be hosting the third event of the series, to learn more about her work and what you can expect from the session she is facilitating! This session will be a panel discussion where we will hear from business leaders with a wide range of perspective and experience on how they are leading D&I efforts. This will take place on Wednesday, November 18th from 9-10 AM ET. For the full event description and registration, visit the eventbrite link here!


Q. How did you first get involved with D&I consulting work?

A. As you know, my consulting work spans across a variety of topics but all under the same umbrella— how to help professionals flourish in the workplace and how to create environments where they can be their very best and bring their best thinking and creativity to work. How does that happen with leaders, how does that happen with individuals and how do the established norms and habits for working together play a part?

So D&I is one category—an important category— within that theme. I never really thought of myself as a specialized D&I consultant until the Buffalo Niagara Partnership approached me to lead their inaugural D&I Exchange.  I learned from taking sixteen D&I leaders through that program, that this work very much falls in line with the work I was already doing. It has everything to do with the flourishment of individuals and the conditions that support this. It is about having every opportunity— every equal opportunity—to flourish and advance at work.

Q. Why do you enjoy this work and find it rewarding?

A. I enjoy the work honestly because it’s messy. We’re in a moment right now where emotions are charged about the pace of change that’s occurring with D&I. There is a call for fast, substantial and bold changes to be made. What I’ve noticed, particularly in Western New York is that there are so many organizations and people inside of organizations with a drive and intention to make a difference and do D&I work with more rigor, however they don’t know where to start and are fearful because things are so charged right now—they’re afraid of making a mistake. I come in and help facilitate conversations so that companies can figure out their way through this.  I help them match their intentions of wanting to do something with their ability to take skillful action. So, what’s really rewarding about my work? It is being able to help organizations make the difference they really want to by connecting them to what they are uniquely equipped to do to make real impact.

Q. What can attendees expect when attending the third session of the Virtual Learning Series?

A. We are still having thoughtful conversations to plan out the last session. We are designing it to have real impact. I can tell you that I will be facilitating a panel discussion with representatives from a diverse set of organizations across WNY. We will be hearing them share their experiences and plans for moving their D&I efforts forward. I know that we’re going to hear about some of their wins, so we can be encouraged and inspired.  But we are also going to hear about  some of the lessons our panelists have learned while navigating this work. We know it takes failing and getting it wrong sometimes to understand how to really make an impact. I’m excited to bring about this conversation, so come and learn and be inspired. See you there!

Thank you to Sesha for the interview! Remember that all 3 sessions of the Virtual Learning Series can be purchased together for a discount, or you can purchase individual days if you can’t attend all three. Learn more here and register today!

Reach out to me with any questions or just to let me know you’re attending. I hope to see you there and keep learning together.


Claire Petrie
Talent Acquisition Leader, Speaker, Trainer and Encourager!
I’ve used LinkedIn and Twitter to build my personal brand and uncover opportunities I could have never imagined. I’m passionate about helping others do the same! Whether you are part of an organization looking to boost your employer brand through employee advocacy, or an individual looking to grow your personal brand, attract opportunities to yourself and reach your goals, contact me and let’s chat! Learn more on my services page.


Disclaimer: The above commentary entails the views of the author and not necessarily the views of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

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