This firm wants to change the makeup of tech offices
The technology industry long has been known as the realm of young white men. Even before the Black Lives Matter movement that rocked this summer, the industry has been examining itself, but that kind of introspection can take an outside perspective to help any company chart a new course.
A new Worthington-based firm, Level D&I Solutions, has a plan for that. Launched in 2019 by two tech recruiting veterans, Chelsea Akers and Kristine Snow, the company aims to help clients jump-start their recruiting, retention and culture training.
Snow and Akers worked together for years at Revel IT, a Columbus-based tech recruiting firm.
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“We’d hear constantly, ‘We want to hire more women or other minorities, but they’re not out there,’ ” says Snow. “That was so frustrating to hear. They’re not only there, but looking for opportunities. Chelsea and I started exploring how can we bridge that and why.”
Level D&I got a push up the startup hill from Revel IT. Both women still worked full-time at Revel through this spring. While Snow and Akers are majority owners of their company, Revel’s CEO Randy Dean invested incrementally to help get it started.
Level D&I aims squarely at filling the gaps in tech diversity and inclusion through both recruiting help and focused diversity and inclusion planning. Akers says there aren’t many competitors with a focus on both in the space.
“I think D&I as a concept is very abstract to lot of companies,” she says. “They know they want diverse employees, they want them to be happy here, but knowing where to start is a challenge.”
So Level D&I built a platform offering varying levels of service, from full-time consultancy through a new off-the-shelf kit to help companies with smaller budgets figure out where their greatest needs are.
The demand is high. Even before Akers and Snow were able to work full-time on the business, Level D&I established partnerships with 15 to 20 companies, mostly in 2020.
They say diversity is a priority for the Columbus tech scene, and they’re getting inquiries from far beyond the region, too. Level D&I has been working with Revel IT and Tech Elevator to offer scholarships to women and minority candidates through the Tech Elevator training program. The goal is to develop talent from the bottom levels up, and also to help recruit more diverse upper-level candidates.
The partners plan to make some 12 hires within the year. But, they say, the real goal for the company is to contribute to real change in the world.
“Our end goal is for a company like us to not have to exist,” says Snow.
Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.
Level D&I Solutions
659 High St., Worthington 43085
Business: HR consultants to the tech industry
Co-founders: Kristine Snow, CEO, and Chelsea Akers, COO
Launch date: October 2019