Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham

by Amanda Kahan

MKI Affiliation:



Founder of Promoting Good


Promoting Good


Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham, the founder of Promoting Good, is a proud Mexican entrepreneur with an impressive 17-year background as an attorney. After a successful career in law, building a community of inclusion and successfully recruiting and retaining attorneys and staff of color, Valerie felt she had achieved all she could in that field. In 2017, she utilized her background in law and consulting to establish her own company, Promoting Good, focusing on fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within communities and organizations. 

Valerie believes her legal education has taught her essential skills such as listening and critical thinking. in her words, "We have to be able to listen to what people are experiencing and think critically about the causes and solutions." While still using skills learned as a lawyer, Valerie continues fighting for equity in the workplace. She recognizes that the legal system alone cannot address racism and other forms of oppression in society; much work still needs to be done within organizations to create cultures where nuanced exclusions are addressed.

Her inspiration to work with communities came from the realization that factors such as geography, access to housing, and built environments contribute significantly to keeping communities of color, people with disabilities, and others in poverty. Valerie emphasizes the importance of everyone having access not only to housing but also to community support systems that provide them with respect and opportunity. As community development programs and services are crucial for a vibrant community, it's essential for those working in the field to be aware of their potential to perpetuate existing issues unintentionally. By proactively addressing these concerns, they ensure everyone benefiting from community development services feels respected. Feeling seen and heard within the community is fundamental for achieving lasting change.
When discussing her impactful work with Promoting Good, she talked about the changes that occur when their client partners adjust their processes to carefully consider whether their offerings and systems are inclusive for everyone. She considers success to be when leaders take the time to ensure fairness and respect before implementing new initiatives. "I think we need to learn how to change our approach to problems. Otherwise, we'll continue perpetuating the same inequities that have always existed," she added. With this issue in mind, she created the Equity Pause®, a powerful tool that encourages courage in addressing challenging situations. Recognizing that many people have been taught to ignore harmful incidents or comments, the Equity Pause is a simple four-step process designed to develop the habit of confronting these issues. "It's how we're encouraging people to stand true to what they say they want to do," Valerie explained.

Describing Mr. Mel King's legacy and work, Valerie used words such as persistence, being relational, and loving. "Those are qualities that he has that are really powerful and important," she said. She also emphasized that this work is a practice that takes time and requires dedication, lessons she has learned from and admires in his legacy.
Proud to lead a team of women of color, she emphasized the value of showcasing diversity in leadership positions. She discussed the importance of their work approach, striving to teach people that excellence exists in every community and demonstrating these values through their team. While acknowledging the challenges of community development work, she also highlighted the need to balance hard work with moments of joy.