Jaifawn Hood and the Empowering Legacy of Women at Waxman Strategies

In a world that’s ever-evolving, the celebration of Women’s Equality Day isn’t confined to a single date on the calendar. At Waxman Strategies, we believe in recognizing and honoring the remarkable contributions of women every day. 

Meet JaiFawn Hood, our Director of Operations, who’s not just a colleague, but a kindred spirit. In her journey of nearly two years with Waxman Strategies, JaiFawn’s passion for innovation and collaboration has reshaped the way we approach challenges. Discover how she ignites her drive to contribute her best personally and professionally, making Waxman more than just a workplace—it’s a family of trailblazers. 

What inspired you to pursue a career at Waxman, and what do you enjoy most about working here?  

From the moment I stumbled upon Waxman, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by its magnetic blend of innovation and camaraderie. It was like finding the missing puzzle piece to my career aspirations. What truly captivates me is the firm’s unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries – it’s not just about embracing change; it’s about shaping it. 

At Waxman, I feel like I’ve embarked on a journey with a team that’s not just colleagues, but kindred spirits. The synergy here isn’t just evident in the projects we tackle but also in the genuine support we offer one another. Every day is an opportunity to learn and grow, surrounded by a community that believes in the strength of collaboration as much as I do. 

So, what do I enjoy most? It’s the thrill of waking up each day, knowing that I’m not simply a contributor to a workforce, but rather, a valued member of a family of trailblazers. There’s a certain energy that exist in the Waxman culture, and it fuels my drive to contribute my best, both personally and professionally. In essence, Waxman isn’t just a firm I work for – it’s an idea I’m part of, a mission I’m proud to champion. And that’s what ignites my passion every single day. 

What are your primary responsibilities at the firm, and how do they align with your professional goals? 

Every day, I strive to ensure that our firm thrives, adapts, and harmonizes. If anyone has worked in Operations for a small firm, you understand the unique calling to wear many hats, ability to pivot on a dime and capacity to diversify your reach. I think of my role as Director of Operations as the conductor of a harmonious ecosystem. I like to think of myself as the conductor of our small firm’s intricate world, guiding the various elements that keep a system functioning. From onboarding to IT, to benefits administration to tenant and vendor management, my ultimate goal is to ensure that every element of the business operation works synergistically. 

 My approach is one that strives for equilibrium and efficiency. Just as a curator manages the interactions amid plants, animals, and microbes in a biodome, I am driven to create an environment in which our firm can not only grow but flourish. This involves maintaining conditions conducive to success.

As a curator adapts to changing weather and ecosystems, I must remain flexible and ready to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. When storms of challenges occur, I work to adapt strategies and allocate resources to ensure our dynamic team of issue experts can do what they do best – creating outcomes that matter for our clients and ultimately for the world.  One person rarely achieves success alone. Collaboration with People and Culture, Finance, and Senior Leadership is an integral part of my role in fostering collaboration and organizational growth. Whether it’s curating a team-based, intentional onboarding process for our newly hired teammates or monitoring, analyzing, and improving our internal work processes and systems, my role revolves around continuous improvements.  

The culture development work I do alongside our DEIJ and Social committees is particularly appealing to me because, at the core, I believe purpose is more important than process, and we convey our purpose by demonstrating the interconnectedness that has become more than just a set of values on paper, but rather a part of Waxman Strategies’ DNA.  

It’s no secret that I aspire to be a Chief Operating Officer (COO). My professional interests are deeply rooted in thought leadership, organizational development, and change management. With every experience at Waxman Strategies, my career path is enriched, nurturing my growth and evolution within the realm of impactful change. 

What has been your biggest achievement or proudest moment while working at Waxman, and how did you contribute to its success? 

I am most proud of my contributions to transforming and expanding our onboarding process for new hires. As part of my first 90 days with the firm, one of my major projects was to examine ways to improve the onboarding process to match the culture development program already underway. During our conversation, our VP of People and Culture and I discussed our best and worst onboarding experiences, as well as the possibility of creating something meaningful at Waxman. As a result of considering her vision and gathering feedback from DEIJ Committee members, senior leadership, new hires, and hiring managers, we have created an experience that is meaningful and authentic. 

We’re witnessing the fruits of a well-crafted onboarding journey through the seamless integration of new team members into our firm’s unique culture. This endeavor goes beyond simply assimilating new hires; it extends to weaving them into the vibrant tapestry of our work environment. 

Harnessing the power of technology, we’ve streamlined administrative tasks, maximizing efficiency, and fostering open lines of communication. Deep diving into our firm’s values, we’ve accelerated the assimilation of freshly onboarded talents, instilling a sense of belonging from the very beginning. An impactful onboarding experience isn’t just an administrative checkbox—it’s a cornerstone in fostering a collaborative and thriving work environment, enabling everyone to flourish.  

In your opinion, what are two things that Waxman excels at and sets it apart from other firms? 

Waxman’s secret sauce is its culture and people. Two of Waxman’s key distinguishing characteristics are a solid team driven to create positive change for the greater good and unwavering core values. Our values were developed and confirmed by our staff. What I find unique is that we decided to go a step further by providing key performance indicators for each value. This is to represent how we objectively define each value here at Waxman. The idea was to eliminate ambiguity and provide a clear picture for self-accountability and decision-making. From integrity to respect to justice and impact, these values are more than just words on paper. Instead, they guide our actions, decisions, and interactions with each other and our partners, fostering a culture of trust, connection, and shared purpose. 

Our second strength is hiring the right people. Our hiring process doesn’t simply look for professionals who fit a job description; we also consider culture fit. We strive to identify ideal team players who align with our values and bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Each of our new team members undergoes a meticulous recruitment process that ensures they possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities. However, most importantly, they value a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.  

The interaction between our values, culture, and people truly sets us apart. With this synergy, we can solve challenges creatively, adapt to industry shifts quickly, and consistently exceed client expectations. At Waxman, we understand that solid values shape a strong culture, which, when fueled by exceptional individuals, propels our firm toward a future defined by growth, impact, and unwavering excellence.  

In light of Women’s Equality Day, how do you view the progress that has been made in terms of gender and racial equality, particularly in the workplace? 

As Women’s Equality Day recently passed, I find myself reflecting on the incredible resilience of the bold and courageous women who have come before me, as well as those who continue to blaze new trails today. These women have shattered barriers and rewritten history, opening doors to equity and opportunities for individuals like me, my daughters, and those who have been voiceless in the past. The impact of this movement is not confined to a moment; it’s a force that will reverberate globally and shape generations to come. 

Yet, as a society, there is still much work to be done. Gender and, candidly, racial limitations have led to persisting wage gaps, glass ceilings, and underrepresentation of women, particularly at decision-making tables. While progress has been made, workplace parity remains an ongoing journey. Nevertheless, the present moment empowers us to celebrate the achievements attained thus far. 

This day holds profound significance for me as an African-American woman who has navigated the complex labyrinth of the workforce for over two decades. Looking back, the sting of disparity has been met with my unwavering determination to overcome obstacles. Rather than stumbling blocks, adversities and challenges have acted as catalysts for growth, broadening my perspectives and nurturing the resilience and strategic acumen I bring to my daily endeavors. 

As we mark this occasion, it serves as a poignant reminder of how our struggles have forged us into the leaders we are today. The wisdom gained from these experiences shapes us not only in our professional roles but also as mothers, mentors, influencers, and advocates within our communities. We transcend beyond our professional realms, leaving behind enduring legacies of strength for the generations that follow. 

Through this ongoing journey toward equality, we sow the seeds of empowerment and inspiration that will empower future generations of women to rise above limitations and create a world where their potential knows no bounds. 


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