Our holistic and integrated approach to DEI leads to increased profitability, effectiveness and sustainable change.
Work with the firm that invests in your industry, that knows your industry, that serves your industry.
Advancing Organizational Excellence (AOE) – a fully-owned subsidiary of the American Concrete Institute – has a long history of offering services to meet the dynamic challenges seen by our clients. Already known for our expertise in public relations, crisis communications, strategic and organizational planning, event services, marketing and communications, as well as all things digital, AOE has added a DEI division specifically to address the needs of the markets we serve.
With more than 20 years of experience helping members of technical societies as well as the design and construction industry deliver their unique messages to their target audiences, DEI is a natural outgrowth of our HR, strategic planning, communications and training expertise. Our DEI offering has been built with long-time leaders in the development, analysis and implementation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs. The AOE division will offer an online benchmarking tool, plan development, marketing and branding audits related to DEI, employee programs, training and much more.
AOE’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) specialty group will work with organizations in a number of capacities to build and advance clients’ DEI strategies for internal and external audiences, including:
Creating awareness/understanding around the business case for diversity;
Mitigating risk, and navigating culture change and transformation;
Communicating around complex social issues;
Developing campaigns to effectively engage increasingly diverse audiences and stakeholders; and
Demonstrating an organization’s commitment to advancing DEI.
AOE applies DEI principles to transform employee communications into an engine that fuels high performance, builds culture, supports organizational change and fosters belonging by more deeply connecting employees to their work, the company’s mission and vision—and to each other.
When building a DEI strategy, AOE leverages the following five strategic areas of focus to drive transformational change and powerful, bottom-line impact results:
Diverse Workforce—Who is your workforce?
Inclusive Workplace—How do your employees view where they work?
Expanded Marketplace—Is your business reaching all its potential customers?
Enhanced Community Reputation—Is your organization valued in the community in which you exist?
Equitable Supplier Base—Is it beneficial to work with a diverse supplier base?
AOE’s concept is to start where you are and build. It’s not about finding fault or penalizing for the past. Instead, it’s about looking at the current situation.
While many DEI consultants have emerged during the last year, and for good reason, AOE is different in that we focus on bringing a catered DEI solution specifically to the industries we serve. With the addition of team members with a long history of DEI consulting, and drawing on our expertise in organizational planning, crisis communications and strategy, we are well positioned to meet
KIMBERLY KAYLER, CPSM
DEI Practice Leader, AOE President
Certificate in DEI by the University of Michigan
Building on almost 25 years serving technical industries in an organizational, strategy and marketing role, Kimberly leads the AOE DEI practice. Trained in DEI by the University of Michigan, she brings a wealth of experience in organizational development, HR, training, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement to her role. Another key area of her expertise that aligns with DEI is crisis communications.
Kimberly is certified by the National Transportation Safety Board in crisis and media relations, and is known throughout the industry as one of the top professionals in this arena. As the lead of the AOE DEI portfolio, she will ensure best practices are applied to the delivery of all services as well as the establishment and monitoring of return on investment.
Recently selected as one of the most influential people in the concrete construction industry by Concrete Construction magazine, Kimberly is co-founder of the Women in Concrete Alliance (WICA) and leads efforts to create networking programs for women in the concrete industry. In this capacity, she represented WICA on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s Women in Transportation Roundtable.
She received her BA in journalism/English from The University of Arizona, and currently serves as a mentor at the University. Kimberly also administers a scholarship program. She earned her master’s degree in organization and management with an emphasis in leadership from Capella University. Further, she was the first person in Ohio and one of the first 10 in the nation to earn the Certified Professional Services Marketer Designation through the Society for Marketing Professional Services, a designation she still holds today.
DEI Strategic Planning Consultant
Certificate in DEI by the University of South Florida
Kathy Spanier has more than 40 years of business-to-business marketing experience, both in the consulting and client side of the business, working with a variety of organizations across several industries. She currently serves AOE as a lead DEI and strategic planning consultant. Skilled in the development of strategies using various organizational and marketing tools and processes to assist in the positioning and differentiation of an organization in a competitive environment, Kathy has extensive experience in developing and executing strategies to meet objectives in a variety of B2B industries.
Kathy has served in many volunteer leadership roles for various industry programs. She was the industry Chair of Sustainability and instrumental in supporting the development and adoption of a voluntary, third party-verified certification for industry producers to improve the sustainability profile of its production processes. Through Kathy’s leadership, this certification has gained acceptance by the USGBC (US Green Building Council) within LEEDv4 and ILFI (International Living Future Institute) within the Living Building Challenge. In addition, she has served on several industry boards and held various executive board positions. Further, she was a founding member of a women’s program with the vision to recruit, retain and advance females in the industry and she established and led its first mentorship program.
Her DEI experience includes training by the University of South Florida, Muma Business College (May 2021). In addition, she serves as a discussion leader for the Anderson Center, a non-profit organization that provides management and leadership development services. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a Marketing major from St. Cloud State University.
KIM CARTER, Ph.D.
Lead Trainer and Implementation Coach
DEI Planning & Implementation Coach for more than a decade
Known as a passionate and personable leader, educator, speaker, trainer and author, Kim brings unique expertise to the AOE DEI team. She is not new to the DEI space, having provided transformational HR leadership for major corporations (i.e., scientific, construction, marketing, etc.), non-profits and other entities for almost two decades. Her expertise has helped organizations shape all facets of their HR functions including DEI planning, talent acquisition and management, executive leader coaching, talent assessments, benefits and compensation, training and development, as well as negotiations.
In addition to her consulting focus, Dr. Kim served as the first female African American Multifamily HUB Director with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Known as Dr. Kim, The Igniter, she is revered for creating and executing diversity and inclusion corporate strategies, leaders, teams and key performance indicators to support the development of workplace cultures, programs and processes that enhance teammates’ understanding of inclusion issues. She also has extensive experience training and coaching leaders and hiring managers on selecting, managing, and retaining diverse talent.
Perhaps Kim’s role on the team is best summed up by the following quote from a satisfied client. “With the recent events of 2020, many consultants are flocking to the diversity, equity, and inclusion arena, yet lack the special expertise required to successfully help organizations embrace a culture of DE&I that results in meaningful change. Dr. Kim Carter has a proven track record of experience across the entire arc of DE&I…”
Kim earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management (Leadership) from Capella University. She also has a Master of Business Administration in Digital Entrepreneurship from Strayer University as well as a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. She started her educational pursuits with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The Ohio
DREW BURNS, CAE
ASAE Certified Association Executive
As a Certified Association Executive, Drew Burns brings a wealth of experience and training in DEI to the AOE Practice Group. A frequent speaker in the concrete industry on the topic of DEI, he also has authored many articles on the topic.
Drew joined the Slag Cement Association in 2017 and is currently the Executive Director of the organization. Recently, he also assumed leadership of the Great Lakes Cement Promotion Council as their Executive Director. He has more than 10 years’ experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations, focusing on development and implementation of market strategy, business development, marketing and stakeholder relations. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Resources with an emphasis in Commercial Recreation and Business from Michigan State University in 2009.