Our Philosophy

Everyone seeks connection; the ability to connect with family or friends, with the fans of your fellow sports teams, with your co-workers and so on. As first-generation Americans, children of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, we connected while being business students at Babson College, and our shared vision catapulted us into becoming a team.

Our journey started with a simple question: How do we create and sustain authentic connections within an organization?

The world thrives on human connection. It is in connection that we fuel innovation. Since the beginning, we have been obsessed with how connection transforms the workplace. In the search for an answer to our question, we traveled the world and across the United States, and connected with both young people and business leaders on their needs and wants in the workplace. These lessons become the foundation of Forefront. Here’s what we learned:

01 /

Culture change is fueled by human connection and empathy.

02 /

People want to be seen, heard, and valued above monetary reward.

03 /

It is critical to look into the future as we reconcile with the past.

Our Team

Yulkendy Valdez

Co-Founder / Managing Partner

I was born in the Dominican Republic. I moved to St. Louis at the age of 10 and grew up in a city surrounded by racial tension. I often found myself being the only one in the room as a Latina, as an immigrant, and as a black woman. That is why I have dedicated most of my life to building communities where no one feels left behind or alone. I have been fortunate to travel the world and work with high-potential future leaders (ages 14-35) from different walks of life. Along the way, I learned a lot about how to facilitate transformative dialogues about race, gender, and identity, and most importantly how to move them to action. With Forefront, my goal is to take the best practices that I learned from my own lived experience as well as my expertise as an educator to the corporate world. The private sector is filled with amazing opportunities and leaders who are committed to diversity and inclusion, and my goal is to help them create a thriving workplace that is ready for this next generation - so no one ever feels like they do not belong.

Josuel Plasencia

Co-Founder / Managing Partner

I was raised in a small attic room by my mom who was a single mother, but I grew up thinking big. I grew up walking distance from where the Mets played in Queens, New York and as a kid I dreamed I can be a major league baseball player. After all, I was tall, Dominican and a lefty. I grew up and those dreams changed, as I began to dream I can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That said, in that world (unlike the baseball world) I realized that there were less leaders like myself. In my work in corporate, I was inspired by the incredible leaders committed to workplace inclusion. So inspired, I decided to start a series of national conferences connecting people committed to inclusion, and our work was featured at the UN's Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka. The power of connection and storytelling bridge people across difference and create incredible outcomes. There is something special about learning from the unique experiences that make up who we are, and with Forefront, I am inspired to lead a company that brings diverse voices forward.

Ivellisse Morales

Marketing Leader

Wendy Hernandez

Operations Leader

Anisha Borthakur

Research Fellow

Joanna Schafer

Operations Fellow

Marecyneth Chona

Marketing and Finance Fellow

Meet our Forefront Coaches

Part storyteller, part futurist, part transformative educator, Forefront Coaches guide you and your employees in your journey towards a more thriving and inclusive culture. Forefront Coaches are fun and energetic and can turn challenging dialogues into fruitful exchanges. They have a pulse on the future of work and understand the needs and wants of the next generation of the workforce.

Lina Maria Cañon

The Energizer

Alexander Becerra

The Orator

Juontel White

The Globetrotter

Amy Mon

The Changemaker

Madison Thompson

The Mediator

Chrismaldi Vasquez

The Community Builder

Our Values

We value people. It is that simple.

We put people first

We connect people better

We enable people to embrace difference

We take people to the forefront of culture change

Join our Team!

We are always looking for amazing talent.
Fill out our interest form.
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