In the News

NAWBO Member Q&A: Claudia Schabel

Claudia Schabel is the founder, owner and president of Schabel Solutions, a company focused on helping organizations build a more inclusive workplace. She’s a native of Brazil and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, English and some Japanese. A graduate of Drake University, Schabel has made Des Moines her home and continues to give back to the community through professional and volunteer service.

She’s a recipient of the 2008 Business Record Forty Under 40 award, the 2010 Robert D. Ray Iowa Latino Ambassador Award and the 2014 Iowa International Center Passport to Prosperity Award.

What is your business all about? What is your mission?

At Schabel Solutions, we help organizations diffuse the dangers of unconscious bias — from overlooked potential to outright train wrecks.

Schabel Solutions focuses on providing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and effective practices to solve workplace, workforce and marketplace challenges for our clients.

Schabel Solutions helps organizations continue to build a more inclusive workplace and workforce so that all employees from all backgrounds can thrive. We help businesses and organizations understand the types of programming and strategies that can be implemented to increase inclusivity among their current and future employees.

How did you get into entrepreneurship?

I started my business accidently. A dear former colleague of mine reached out to me for help with one of his clients who had requested training to mitigate unconscious bias. I thought that it would be fun and agreed to do a one-time engagement. I developed the content and delivered the trainings. And the rest is history. I have not stopped since 2016 because I continued to have organizations seeking my trainings.

I love what I do. I love the impact that my work has on people and their professional and personal lives.

I simply want to help employers and communities understand that when we overlook people and the talent that currently exists in the marketplace, we’re contributing to a very large problem. The problem is the labor shortage of millions of people that are not in the job market today. When we begin to change the organizational cultures and mindsets, we can not only improve our workplaces, but also provide people in our communities with opportunities.

With our current labor shortage, it is extremely competitive for small businesses to attract and retain employees and it will be even more challenging by 2025. The important questions remain: What is your organization doing to compete for talent? What is your workforce planning strategy? How is your organization preparing for the demographic trends? Start to address these questions by making your organizational culture more inclusive of all people.

What makes your heart race? 

Besides the smiley faces of my nephews and niece, what really makes my heart race with excitement and joy is when I get to travel with my spouse and learn about new places and cultures. Having new experiences broadens my perspectives and helps me gain insights into other people’s lives and beliefs.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

You are powerful. Know that you are powerful and leverage it. Dream big and continue to update and upgrade your dreams. Life is a blank canvas and you should not limit your vision of your future for any reason or anyone else. Think long term about your goals and learn to anticipate challenges, but don’t give up. Instead, strategize and ask for help. Yes, ask for help. You are not the only one experiencing your circumstances in life. Trust that you can find your way through life, because you will. And, girl, please wax those eyebrows.

What’s a unique story you can tell us?

I have a twin sister who also lives in town. She and I play pranks on our friends once in a while. When I met my in-laws, we switched identities by changing clothes and playing each other. This was supposed to be funny but it did not go well. We confused them so much that it took a week for them to get things straight again.