Kristine Snow and Chelsea Akers amplify true diversity and inclusion through Level D&I Solutions. From WITI (Women in Technology International) to a partnership with Revel IT, these two social entrepreneurs are molding a new experience for “women in tech”. Kristine and Chelsea imagine Level reaching more narratives to widen their involvement with diversity and inclusion.
The duo identified a “disconnect” between the corporate environment and advocacy groups. Hosting networking or up-skilling events became a response to “disconnect”. Kristine and Chelsea spoke about seeing a great turnout of women for these events, including minorities. Strong attendance is all that’s needed to prove “no women are interested” is only a tech myth.
“… at the end of the day, we try to look at diversity and inclusion as a strategic business initiative, not just something to ‘check a box’ or to ‘look good’ in the community.”–Kristine Snow
For Level, ensuring impact meant narrowing how Level provides impact, and hone their methods. Level operates within three tiers of business: recruiting, consulting and training, and community outreach. Within recruiting, Level is heavily involved in executive search, pipelining, and diversity recruitment. The major focus falls on full-time placements and top-down change.
Within consulting and training, a process of evaluating and improving a company’s diversity and inclusion is scored by Level. The major goals are creating tangible change and combating an unconscious bias. Level’s approach includes education, such as presentations to help establish awareness for what diversity and inclusion really mean.
Kristine and Chelsea described their consulting and training process as “productive discomfort”. The women gave strong talking points about what dialogue and reflections are needed to see real results. Through productive discomfort, companies can experience favorable outcomes, like making more money or higher retention rates.
Within community outreach, Level actively engages through events, podcasts, social media, and more. Level considers working on the ground and at the top level the way to “highlight both sides” in their quest for all-around diversity and inclusion.
Our conversation took an interesting turn at this point. We discussed viewing privilege not as what you have, but what you lack. The women shared stories of what lack of experience and lacking awareness of that experience looks like. Effortlessly, we found ourselves soon discussing how representation is a huge factor alongside diversity, equity, and inclusion. Without representation, you’re alienating a ton of valuable narratives.
The duo uncovers a topic of diversity not always visible. Diversity lives in our experiences and our thought patterns.
“There’s importance in everyone participating and sharing. If you only have like-minded people working on one project and people who think differently work on another project, the interaction is still missing.”–Chelsea Akers
Our conversation then dives into Level’s first step for any company, describing disadvantages in context, and future plans. I can say Kristine and Chelsea earnestly insist on pushing diversity and inclusion forward.
Can’t Stop Columbus
We recorded this just days before COVID-19 shut everything down. I’ve seen Chelsea as an active participant on Can’t Stop Columbus, a virtual hack-a-thon bringing together people to create solutions to help those (i.e. all of us) effected by COVID-19. It’s been inspiring to see leaders in Columbus along with 700 technologists, creatives and all others come together to do something about our situation, from the isolation of our home.