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The Core Value Company helps businesses refine their brands and define their core values

Saphia Suarez
The Core Value Company helps businesses refine their brands and define their core values
Monica Cost COURTESY PHOTO

When Monica Cost started The Core Value Company, she simply began charging for a service she had previously been providing co-workers with for free: personal and professional branding.

“I started in finance in my early 20s and became the office psychologist,” Cost says. “People would come by my desk and ask, ‘What do you think about the fact that I didn’t get a promotion?’ Or ‘My girlfriend’s going to break up with me, what should I do?’” At one point a friend asked me, ‘When are you going to start charging for the advice you give that’s changing people’s personal and professional lives?’”

And that’s exactly what Cost did. She began The Core Value Company part-time in 1997 and continued a day job in finance and then in real estate.

“Over time, it grew past helping people understand how they show up to the world,” she says. “People would ask me, ‘What is a good next step for me?’ Which is why I changed it to a pathfinding company.”

It wasn’t until her mentor became an angel investor in The Core Value Company and helped Cost launch it in 2010 that she transitioned to running the company full time.

“I hadn’t expected to launch it, and I couldn’t turn away from the opportunity, so there was very little planning,” Cost says. “I tried to drive the bus and change the tires at the same time.”

Ten years later, The Core Value Company’s bus is at full speed, with Fortune 500 clients like Prudential, The TJX Companies, Inc. and Reebok.

“My business is mostly word-of-mouth,” the entrepreneur says. “I booked a few speaking engagements through LinkedIn, but most of my work comes from business managers and human resource departments at companies talking to each other.”

Business has only increased with COVID-19 and the racial bias work companies are now exploring after the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I have more work than I ever thought,” said Cost. “We’re not a diversity training company, but in the climate we’re in, my work on core values is being highlighted, and now companies who didn’t get it before are kind of getting it.”

It all starts with core values, she emphasizes.

“Everything I do is about core values, whether that’s a company trying to live by or define their core values, or, even if we start with their leadership, we start with those leaders’ core values,” she says. “Too often people are just trying to become what the market wants, and that prevents them from living authentically and affects their job.”

In the future, Cost wants to create a course through the International Coaches Federation for her trademarked Value Identification Process.

“Instead of building a team, I would rather create something for people to take off the shelves and implement,” Cost says.

She likes the fluidity of her current work and is not interested in creating a training company.

“I consult on my own,” Cost says. “At times I will join others if there’s a workshop or body of work an organization wants, but I haven’t brought anyone on.”

The Core Value Company does have a small team, including a business manager, social media manager, website and marketing manager, and assistant.

Looking forward, Cost says she is not sure if her work will ever go back to 100% in-person training.

“I’m creating series of online training modules with topics from leadership to building an authentic personal brand, personal mastery and unconscious bias,” Cost says. “I’m hoping those will be ready in January.”

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