Abenaa (Abby) Hayes

Cues and Views

DEI and health equity strategist Abenaa Hayes, in brief.

Abenaa (Abby) Hayes

Home: Brooklyn, NY.  Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Profession: DEI, health communications executive.  Organization: Elysee Consulting, LLC.  Title: Founder/CEO.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: McGill University; University of Southern California.

Current project: Supporting companies and brands in their DEI and health equity journeys. Latest accomplishment: Launching my own consultancy in honor of one of my late mother’s side hustles.  Latest contribution to others: Mentoring new and upcoming talent in the communications and health industry.  What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? Betting on myself with my own company.  Hobbies: Cooking (I’m a huge foodie), arts and culture (I'm a true culture vulture), yoga and meditation (anything that can balance things out in the world that we’re living in).

Personality profile: Vivacious, witty, dynamic, perceptive.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Badass.  Moral compass: I always trust my gut.  What natural talent have you neglected Playing the piano.  I was immersed in it for fifteen years!  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Screenwriters and film directors.  I’m in love with storytelling.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? A lovely beach.  I’m a true island girl at heart, having been raised in Trinidad and Tobago.

What book have you repeatedly read? The Alchemist, by Pauo Coelho.  What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? Photos of my mother and my paternal grandmother. Two women who were the living  embodiment of representation, having accomplished firsts in their respective lives.  My mother was the first female judge appointed to the Labor Relations court in Trinidad and Tobago; my grandmother was the first female senator in the country.  What is the best advice you received in your career? Navigating your career is more like a jungle gym than a straight line.  What is your favorite app? Instagram.  I’m a wannabe photographer and social commentator.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

To transform the experience and health outcomes of BIPOC and those of historically marginalized groups.  What change would you like to see in the world? True racial equity.

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name, bell hooks.  Her work has been both a refuge and an inspiration to me.  What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s always better than you think it’s going to be.

Personal mission: To be the change I want to see in the world.  Favorite quote: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” (Alice Walker).

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