Founder and CEO, ConnectFor
I've always believed in pursuing my interests and working in fields I'm passionate about. This mindset guides me through all of my major life decisions, and has led to creating my company, ConnectFor.
My journey to launching ConnectFor began during my first job out of college. I was fortunate to have senior leadership who valued my professional interests and encouraged me to work on projects that aligned with those interests. However, when it came time to grow within my role and the organization, I found myself spending hours searching internal databases of employees, trying to network with people who had intriguing responsibilities and titles. Despite having a supportive team and organization, I consistently had to speak up and vouch for what I wanted. The same experience was mirrored at my next opportunity. It occurred to me that many people, especially women and people of color, do not speak up for themselves as much as I do. This is such a ubiquitous problem that there are hundreds of millions of “how-to” articles to help employees speak up for themselves at work. I spoke with countless employees whose stories mimicked mine, and countless managers who articulated how they try to encourage their team members to share their professional interests because that is mainly how they staff projects and keep their teams engaged. One thing became perfectly clear: despite employees having professional interests and managers wanting to know them, there was no process that seamlessly enabled employees to share what they want and for managers to see these interests when staffing new projects.
The closer I got to the core problem, the clearer a problem with diversity and inclusion became to me. At most organizations, managers are now required to complete unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion training. However, after that training, managers have no method for keeping themselves accountable. This oversight/problem/gap coupled with the statistical fact that women and minorities are less likely to speak up than their male counterparts, and are less likely to be heard when they do speak up, creates the perfect environment for diversity and inclusion initiatives to flounder.
By creating a platform that empowers employees to share their professional interests, raise their hands for opportunities, and enable managers to create engaged, creative, and innovative project teams based on their team members’ interests, ConnectFor could effectively eliminate the main factors contributing to the diversity and inclusion crisis, all in real-time. No more relying on employees’ to speak up for themselves. No more guessing who to staff on what projects. No more waiting until an employee is on their way out the door to find out they were unhappy with the work they were being given. No more overworking and under-engaging.
Our mission is simple: ConnectFor ensures every employee is given an equal opportunity to love their work.
When employees love their work, engagement, creativity, and innovation spike, leading to successful teams and organizations. Employees and managers are on the same team, let’s start acting like it!