True Inclusion Includes Disabilities

with Inclusively's Co-Founder, Charlotte Dales

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Are you a business owner looking to hire as inclusively and diversely as possible? Are you wondering what tools are available to help you find the perfect candidate for your job openings?

Today we’re talking with Charlotte Dales from Inclusively. Charlotte is passionate about a lot of things, two of which we highlight in this episode: her entrepreneurial spirit, and helping those with disabilities find careers with businesses who are looking to hire inclusively.She shares her unique perspective on what’s wrong with the system and the steps we can take in order to fix it. Everyone deserves the chance to be financially independent.

Charlotte Dales is the co-founder and CEO of Inclusively. Inspiration struck Charlotte when she was getting her first facial from her cousin, who was first licensed facial specialist in the state of Florida with Down syndrome. Charlotte came up with the initial idea for Inclusively right then and there. Inclusively goes beyond a candidate’s background, matching their experience, skills, and accommodations needed to succeed in the role. Prior to Inclusively, Charlotte co-founded a company called Bottleshot and also worked as VP of Benefit Innovation at American Express.

  • How Inclusively started
  • The story of Cake and American Express
  • How Inclusively helps businesses
  • Setting people up for success
  • Setting up a good process for inclusivity and diversity
  • How Inclusively helps candidates and people with disabilities
  • The current status of the workforce and The Great Resignation
  • Upgrading and untangling the processes
  • Industries that lend themselves to inclusivity, more than others
  • How to avoid marginalizing people with disabilities
  • Charlotte Dales’ day-to-day; being a female entrepreneur
  • Giving up the ‘gram’

[Tom Finn]    00:00:02    Hello, and welcome to the Talent Empowerment podcast, where we lift up people leaders so they can lift up their organizations. I'm your host, Tom Finn, co-founder and CEO of LeggUP. Together. We'll learn how to drive people innovation, how to transform HR into people ops, and how to secure buy-in to disrupt the status quo. And as I like to say, it's finally time to stop smoking on airplanes and update your people strategy. Let's transform your organization and move from a culture of talent management to talent empowerment. 

This week's episode of the talent empowerment podcast is brought to you by LeggUP’s Talent insurance, an inclusive people development platform designed to help HR leaders empower their people through one-on-one professional coaching with results like a 66% improvement in avoiding burnout, a 54% jump in leadership skills and a 73% increase in job satisfaction. LeggUP guarantees improved employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention. In fact, they ensure it, your people stay or they pay! Visit LeggUP, that's L E G G up.com, to learn more. And without further ado, this is Talent Empowerment

Welcome to the talent empowerment podcast where we lift up people leaders. So you can lift up your organization. I am your host, Tom Finn. My guest today is Charlotte Dales. As you get to know, Charlotte, you'll learn that she has an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit, her current mission, which I am very excited to jump into today is helping people with disabilities connect to employers that are looking to hire inclusively and with a diverse focus, ensuring that people with disabilities have an equal chance to life, including, and not to be under mentioned here, employment opportunities. Prior to founding Inclusively, Charlotte founded a bill-splitting app purchased later by American Express. And she is also the current co-founder and board member of bottle shots, a cold brew company. So you are going to love this conversation. I'm very excited to introduce Charlotte to you, Charlotte, welcome to the show.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:02:13    Thank you. I'm really excited to be here.  

[Tom Finn]    00:02:16    Well, we are excited to have you, and let's jump right into your current project, uh, which I am very excited to talk about. You have decided to go down this path of building a modern recruitment platform that connects job seekers with disabilities and mental health conditions and chronic illnesses to employers, which is absolutely fabulous. How did that start? Where did that come from?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:02:41    So when I, uh, was selling my company cake, uh, back at the end of 2017, right at that time, my cousin became the first licensed facialist in the state of Florida with down syndrome. So she gives facials at a local salon and, um, pretty much after getting my first facial from her. I knew this would be my next company. It was just incredibly clear to me, um, the value of accommodation in the workplace and, and in education. Um, and you know, how little effort it could be to completely change someone's career trajectory. Um, so wanted to sort of figure out how can we use technology to bridge that gap.  

[Tom Finn]    00:03:22    Oh, that's amazing. So you mentioned that you, uh, founded cake. So tell us a little bit about that you, you, it was something in the finance realm that you sold to American Express at some point.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:03:31    Yes. So, um, back in 2012, uh, my best friend and I, uh, were living in London, uh, working at, you know, big corporate companies, and both decided to quit our jobs and start, um, a mobile payment app for restaurants and bars. Having never worked in technology, or I don't think either of us had ever worked at a restaurant or a bar either. Um, so jumped in head first. This was sort of like around the same time Uber and, you know, all of these things were coming up and many people were like, no one would ever pay from their phone. Um, and so like no  

[Tom Finn]    00:04:09    One would ever pay from their phone. What a, what a crazy concept. 

 

[Charlotte Dales]    00:04:12    Uh, I know. And especially now when, you know, after the pandemic where people don't really pay using anything else, um, with toast and everything else out, um, it's, it's funny to look back on, but yeah, we, um, grew the company to about 200 restaurants in London and ended up selling it to American Express. And, um, you know, after that company, I said, I'd never do this again, unless it was, um, to provide like something more meaningful, cuz it's just so hard to do. It's just really hard to be in a startup and to pick something up off the ground and take it outta your head and make something. And so I really feel lucky. I was inspired, um, by my cousin cuz I do love doing it. <laugh>  

[Tom Finn]    00:04:55    That's, that's amazing. So you have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. You've done this, uh, a couple of times and now we're really focused on your new business inclusively. So tell us a little bit about what you do and how you do it. And if I'm an HR leader out there, um, I'm a head of people or talent acquisition, you know, how could inclusively help me?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:05:17    Yeah. So, um, you know, at its core, our platform enables companies to provide accommodations at scale. Um, personalization is really everything. I mean we personalize everything that we do in our lives and what we're doing is bringing that to the workplace, um, through helping companies allow candidates to personalize or customize their interview, their work environment, um, to request accommodations, to disclose up front what they might need, uh, to set them up for the highest chances of success, um, and job satisfaction and ultimately productivity for the organization. Um, so what we believe is that these rigid and ingrained processes and red tape at a lot of large companies mean that no matter how much diverse pipeline is sent your way, there's gonna be a low conversion. If processes aren't upgraded efficiently to a more inclusive culture. Um, so within our platform, we're providing an amazing pipeline of candidates with disabilities across the spectrum. So anywhere from down syndrome and autism to stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and chronic illnesses, everyone is self-disclosing and requesting accommodations for both the interview and on the job to put this process into action and ultimately drive real diversity and real inclusion and real results.  

[Tom Finn]    00:06:34    That's amazing. So if I'm a candidate, uh, do I go through a screening process? Do I go through an onboarding process with your organization before I get, uh, to work with, uh, large and small enterprises?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:06:48    Yes. So as a candidate, um, you can, you know, onboard yourself in the way you could on any job, um, site, so, you know, resume background, et cetera. Um, but then what we also offer is the ability for you to pick, um, accommodations, both for things that you would need on the interview, um, and accommodations that you might need on the job. Um, and so that means that when any employer, uh, interacts with your profile or starts looking, they actually can see, you know, not just your background experience, but what things would make you more successful or have a more successful interview, um, or be more successful on the job. Uh, so it's giving, uh, candidates a really comfortable place to self-disclose. They know that you know, all the employers on our platform, uh, are actually signing up because they want to access this pipeline of talent and they wanna be able to do it in the way that's going to be the most successful for both sides.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:07:43    Um, and so essentially you're just signing up and, and being, and self-closing what accommodations you would need. Um, what we are also about to launch is our advocacy portal. So this means all of the non-profit government agencies, training programs that are out there, upskilling candidates with disabilities, they'll actually be able to interact with our platform, recommend jobs to the candidates, and help them identify accommodations. Um, because a lot of what we've seen is that a lot of candidates don't even know what they could be asking for. So we're trying to become a lot smarter on, you know, recommending accommodations and helping educate both sides of the market as well. Um, so that they can use accommodations as sort of their currency to be more successful, um, in and attracting sort of more meaningful careers.  

[Tom Finn]    00:08:30    Wow. What, what an incredible mission- the work that you're doing, I think is really special and important. Uh, I wonder if I'm in HR or if I'm in people ops or town acquisition, what's in it for them, right? What what's in it for them to, to go through the process of onboarding with Inclusively to, to really go deeper than maybe they've ever gone before?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:08:54    Um, so I think that, you know, what's really in it for them is there's a huge focus on not just diversity, but the war on talent, the great resignation, and every company is talking about how do they, you know, attract and retain talent, especially in this new age. And I think, you know, from the past few years, I feel like people have been really focused on just get the pipeline, get access to the diverse pipeline, get access to more pipeline, but really you have to kind of look back as an HR person and wonder why is it not converting and, and what do we need to upgrade to be sort of future-proofed for this evolving workplace? And I think, um, what's related in it, in it for them is actually getting access to the pipeline is not that hard. It's converting and attracting that pipeline. And I think that, you know, the pandemic really accelerated something that actually happened, uh, a few years before the pandemic, which is back in 2016, millennials, um, became the largest generation in the workforce and they have different criteria than historic workforce generations, um, when looking for a job.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:10:01    So they're looking for, you know, balance flexibility, they're looking for jobs that have a mission tied to it, or can show that they value diversity and equality. Um, and they rank these things almost on the same level or if not higher than financial incentives and title. And so if you think about this, ultimately this new generation is looking for accommodations, whether they're self-disclosing as a disability or not. This generation is self-disclosing 25% more year on year and requesting accommodations a lot more frequently. And, you know, COVID kind of accelerated, uh, this, uh, into where we are today. And so what's really in it for HR and for the companies is current processes can't scale to, to, um, you know, to service this demand and to service this shift. And so what's in it for you is a, you know, efficient and scalable way to upgrade your current processes to become more inclusive and to future proof, your company, to be able to attract and retain the best talent, um, with sort of the new workforce generation, both with millennials and, um, you know, gen Z,  

[Tom Finn]    00:11:14    I, I couldn't agree more. And this is really about going beyond checking the box, right? I mean, there's certainly some leaders that are gonna say, ah, I just need to check the box. I don't agree with it. You probably don't agree with it either, but if you can actually step back and say, how do I implement a strategy that is inclusive for, for all humans, for all people? How do I do that? Um, then inclusively is the answer and you start there and you say, that goes along with my, uh, diversity and equity discussions, right. And we need to be inclusive, uh, for everybody. So I think it's a great place to start for leaders that are really trying to take this seriously and, uh, and do something about it. That's meaningful.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:12:00    Exactly. I mean, you know, a lot of people at the beginning kept asking me why it wasn't a nonprofit and, you know, having worked at, you know, a big company two different times and started my own, um, I'm not naive that there's no way we can actually scalably help people with disabilities, get better access into the workforce if we don't actually make it about the company and the value to them. Um, and so when you kind of look under the hood, what we're, what we're creating and using to solve, um, you know, for a bit more accommodating workforce for people with disabilities is actually just making a better, more accommodating culture at that company for everyone. Um, and ultimately that's what employers are looking for. They're looking for ways to attract and be competitive in the market and retain their talent. Um, so I think that you know, it is, there is a lot of checking the box that's been historically going on, but I think that people realize now it's not just about accessing untapped talent or checking the box.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:13:05    This is an overall strategy that is just better for your business. You have more perspectives to drive innovation. That's right. You have more scalability around how you can offer the ideal employment for each and every person as a human being and not just as a, you know, candidate for your role. Um, and so, yeah, I think that people are moving beyond, take the box. Maybe it's not all genuine and for the, you know, for the good of, uh, being inclusive, but that's almost better if you can find a more sustainable reason for people to do the right thing.  

[Tom Finn]    00:13:40    Well, I, I hope I hope it's not just a “tick the bo”x, as you said. I, I, I tend to think people are trying to do the right thing. And, and at times they just don't know where to turn, but you're a hundred percent, right? This is, this is innovation in its purest form to help a marginalized group, uh, with employment positions and conversely help an organization really have character and soul and empathy and bring in different perspectives that are so critically important in business today.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:14:10    Right.  

[Tom Finn]    00:14:12    I, I think what you're doing is, is absolutely fabulous. So let's, let's talk about that war on talent. You, you mentioned the, um, turnover, tsunami, the great resignation, uh, uh, you know, all of these terms that we're throwing out in today's market. Um, is that just pandemic related or is there something else to it?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:14:33    No, I mean, as I said, I think that this really started, you know, five or more years ago. Um, people just have different criteria for how they want to assess their, you know, not just their career, but their life, and ultimately a career is a huge part of your life. And so the more you can find balance and happiness in that, the more your overall sort of, um, you know, the outlook is. And so I think, you know, people are focused more on a company's culture than, you know, the actual financial or work that they're doing. They wanna be part of something. Um, and so I think that the great resignation, it, it was accelerated, it maybe would've happened much slower without the pandemic. Um, but it's not a result of the pandemic. I think the shift is slowly been happening as though the generation in the workforce is overtaken by, you know, individuals that have a different perspective.  

[Tom Finn]    00:15:32    I, I couldn't agree more. I, I think values and culture have become one of the top priorities for employees and employees vote with their feet. Uh, they walk or they stay, and that is up to the organization to provide them the tools and culture around them, uh, to lift them up. Uh, we call it talent empowerment around here. Uh, and, and I think that's the idea is that organizations have gotta figure out a way to have a bit of a heart, some soul and, and bringing the right people that create, uh, a culture of inclusivity. So, yeah.

[Charlotte Dales]    00:16:07    I think culture is also something that, um, some at sometimes can feel very like an airy fairy and, and something that maybe just happens, but cultures actually can be very intentional and you need to think about, um, you know, what are the, what are people looking for and what can I bring into my organization to help that happen? It doesn't just happen out of nowhere. Um, and so, you know, what we believe is by being more accommodating, um, to your existing workforce and by making it, um, allowing people to have a choice in how they interview at your company and how they set themselves up for success, you are bringing that culture in their culture, into your organization.  

[Tom Finn]    00:16:53    Yeah. I, I think you're a hundred percent right. And, and I have my own personal story here. I started a company named leg up, uh, which is a professional development and preventative mental health company for employees at all levels, which really is designed to drop in an executive or professional coach to help you with your career and help you with your cultural phenomenon within your organization. And, uh, so I'm, I'm very, this is very near and dear to my heart. I'm very close to this topic personally and professionally. Um, so I, I follow you completely. I think one of the challenges as a startup, um, you know, whether it's, uh, you know, organization, uh, that I run or the organization that you run is really getting the attention of fortune 500 leaders, um, and really saying this is differentiated. This is new, but it's innovative. It's gonna help. Do you tend to gain access quickly to these leaders or does it take some work?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:17:50    So I would say that we do get the attention from the leaders and I get a lot of good responses from a cold email, to some very senior people. I think where, um, where things are difficult is that you know, they're immediately thinking like who in my organization needs to take ownership of this and do this, which is great. However, you know, in the world that we're in and in the world that you're in. Um, as I said, this, isn't just about hooking up to my, your ATS and throwing it in the pipeline. This requires change management. And, you know, you can't, uh, just send that down and, and expect, you know, everyone on the ground to be comfortable with making decisions around some changes in interview processes, et cetera. So it does, I, I think that we get to access and the attention, but I think that the, um, the understanding that it, that it does require a bit more buy in and support from the top level, um, is a bit trickier because, you know, inherently our product immediately screens like go talk to diversity, inclusion, go talk to talent acquisition, but talent acquisition has a lot of processes already in place and disrupting those can set off an ecosystem and unless they feel like they're being supported from the top, um, to implement change, it's gonna be a very sticky engagement for us.  

[Tom Finn]    00:19:16    Well, you're a hundred percent right. In larger organizations, you've got DEI leaders, you've got talent leaders, you've got HR leaders, you've got benefits leaders, and sometimes they don't always agree. I know it's shocking, but they don't always agree on what the right path is, uh, to take the organization. And, and you do need somebody in that. C-suite whether it is the C H R O who, who is over that part of the organization or the CFO, uh, or quite frankly, um, the CEO who is leading an initiative, uh, you know, with their, um, character and sort of force behind it. Uh, I think it does take, take some of that effort so that we don't get caught up in the corporate red tape, so to speak.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:19:58    And it's not necessarily a lot of time or execution part on these, you know, C C-suite individuals. It's really understanding this is the change my company needs to adopt, and this is the change I need to make sure everyone knows that I am supporting that they do adopt. And that's really what it is.  

[Tom Finn]    00:20:18    So how do, how does an employer take this tool, take this solution and attach it without a heavy lift without tons of integration without replacing systems? Is that possible or, or, or is it a little bit more work than that?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:20:35    Um, so if you think about how most companies are running this process, now they'll have a very centralized accommodation team, which is very compliance base. It's reactive, it's on a case-by-case basis. If, if someone requests accommodatiosn for the interview, it's usually going to a, you know, generic email inbox, the recruiter, or the hiring manager may not even be looped in with that. Oftentimes they don't want the recruiter or hiring manager to know the candidates, and ask for accommodation, which is a whole other issue in itself. But, um, it's very uncoordinated, um, from what we've seen and not because these teams aren't doing, um, a good job, it's just the reactiveness instead of proactiveness, in terms of identifying what accommodations can be made for all different types of jobs and all different types of interviews. And just setting that framework, there just means that the way it's run is reactive.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:21:31    And so, you know, while mentally, it might feel like a big lift to come on, you know, and out and say, you know, we can take all of our jobs and use your platform and start to run our accommodations process more proactively, be transparent. Um, the actual heavy lifting from like an execution standpoint, we're actually streamlining a lot of processes, uh, that is currently happening very manually. Um, so there is, you know, there is the sort of idea that it's, it's a big lift in the, in terms of the mentality and the adoption, but, um, in terms of the actual work, it's, it's much simpler. Um, you know, every single person on the ground should know, you know, how to conduct an inclusive interview, how to sort of providing accommodations. A lot of them wouldn't even require you to go to HR or to buy some system. It's little things like having marginal function removed from someone's job, having a flexible schedule, um, all of these things that are, you know, not necessarily required to have, you know, several meetings about before you decide.

[Tom Finn]    00:22:41    Well, I think that's critically important, uh, that we make it easy for employers to, uh, bring this philosophy inside their organization. Um, because everybody's busy, everybody's got workloads that, uh, they feel stretched or, or perhaps overwhelmed at times. And so we have to, we have to provide tools and resources that, um, are easy to use and, and proven out, because I think the challenge I tend to find is that there's, there's this fear in large organizations that if they make a bad decision, or if something doesn't go perfectly well, that that it's gonna impact their own job. And it's easier to just stifle innovation and say, no, right. That's an easy decision. No, we're not gonna innovate Charlotte. We're gonna do something else, right? Because this is scary. But I think what I'm hearing from you is you don't really have to be afraid anymore. This is something that we can work together on. We can build an inclusive environment, the tools are there, and the resources are there.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:23:41    Exactly. And the adoption is there from the, from the top. So, you know, one of the earliest things that we saw when starting to work with companies as we needed to help, you know, our points of contact, get higher level support for this, so that they can actually, you know, push people to engage with our platform, to understand why it's important, um, and to prioritize it, given everything else they're, they're doing in a day. I mean, recruitment is a very, um, it's a very scientific, it's very like we need to be able to click through this many resumes and assess this many people. And it's, you know, these large organizations who are hiring thousands and thousands of people a year, they can't be, it has to be efficient. And so, you know, a lot of thought the, um, a lot of the processes and technologies that companies have adopted to be more efficient have, unfortunately, uh, screened out and made it, uh, adversely harder for diverse candidates to get in. Um, and so it's kind of untangling a lot of that creating efficient process and keeping it efficient, but maybe different than before. So that it's actually inclusive of, um, being able to, to, you know, allow in the full demographics of your pipeline.  

[Tom Finn]    00:25:00    Yeah. We always say don't blame the person blame the process. Right. And I think that's what I'm hearing you say is it may not be the HR leader, talent leader's preference, but there's a process in place that they're dealing with that exists. Um, and figuring out, as you said, how to untangle it right. And, and build a different process that allows for, uh, those with disabilities of any type, um, or those in marginalized groups to be supported through a process, I think is so critically important in today's day and age. I mean, it's just, um, it baffles the mind, right? If, if people aren't doing this type of work,  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:25:37    And I think it's just, you know, really shifting from focusing on learning management systems and annual training to learning experiences. So one of the things that we do is attached to every single resume. We have the accommodations so that anybody who picks up one of our resumes is being exposed to someone is asked for these accommodations and the micro training around those accommodations. So, you know, how do you provide it? What does it mean? Who often asks for it just quick information so that anybody can, you know, learn on the, go in a relevant and timely way to someone they're about to meet versus relying on a diversity training that maybe happens six months ago. Um, that's gonna be very hard to call upon <laugh> once you're sort of, uh, actually in the, at the moment.  

[Tom Finn]    00:26:28    So is that how you scale this across an organization is the tools are built-in, so if you're a manager in Seattle or you're a leader in New York or Dallas, it doesn't really matter where you are around the world. Uh, you've got access to see what the accommodations are and, and what you might need to be doing to support this employee.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:26:48    Exactly. And you can also see, um, we are able to read the job description and, and apply what accommodations we believe you should be able to make for that position. Um, so creating, you know, the ADA was written a long time ago and it's, it's all centered around this idea of reasonable accommodation. Reasonable is very subjective. And at this day and age, when they have data science roles at every single company, a data scientist at pretty much every single company should be able to have the same accommodation. So this is what I mean by us applying this like structure and uniformity so that there becomes a best, best practice around this. Um, and it can be proactive and it can be efficient and it can be scalable and it doesn't have to be, you know, reactive on a case-by-case basis and ultimately slow down your recruiting process.  

[Tom Finn]    00:27:37    Yeah. I, I, I think the work you're doing is, is fabulous. Um, I think it's needed and important in the world today. Um, but we are talking, uh, today in, in connecting while you're sitting in what looks like a bar. Um, and there's, there seems to be a bar behind you for those that are not, uh, watching this on video and are listening to our podcast. Um, it is a very elegant bar, uh, that Charlotte seems to be sitting in front of where, where are we talking today?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:28:06    Um, we're in my house and, you know, running a startup's pretty hard. So I need some easy access, um, to some pain reliever when I need it. Um, but actually this room is the only room that has normal lighting in my house. I think I need to invest in some type of lighting situation, um, because yes, the bar is probably appropriate for this conversation, but, uh, you know, not every sales call should, uh, have a bar in the background.  

[Tom Finn]    00:28:37    <laugh> well, I, I, I think it's brilliant. Uh, I, uh, the Irishman in me loves it. Um, and, uh, and it, and it breaks things up a little bit. So if I'm, if I'm in HR and, uh, I'm leading an organization, um, how do I become an employer of choice? You know, how do I really look at my strategy and say, I, I wanna be an employer of choice? I want every manager to have an advantage in the market at this organization. How would they do that?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:29:05    Um, they can get in touch with inclusively, uh, and, and we can sort of set them up with, you know, one, the ability to start to apply accommodations to their jobs, I think, um, and then helping their organization learn about what accommodations are relevant to the types of jobs that they're posting. So not everyone has to learn everything at once that would never be scalable. Um, but having hiring managers start to understand, you know, for these types of interviews and for these types of roles, what really needs to be there. Does there really need to be a panel interview, or can someone ask, ask requests to do it one on one, some people do great and love to be in front of a group, but that's, you know, not everyone's skill set. And so really starting to, um, help the employer, uh, apply some structure around how they can be flexible around things, um, that have traditionally been really rigid processes. Um, and really just opening up that transparency is how you can start to actually build this pipeline of talent that everyone seems to be seeking. <laugh>  

[Tom Finn]    00:30:12    Well, you brought up, you brought up a little soft spark for me. I mean, panel interviews. I can't tell you how much anxiety that used to cause me when I was,  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:30:20    I was not thinking that about you cuz you are hosting a podcast and are very well-spoken.  

[Tom Finn]    00:30:25    Well, I appreciate that. I, uh, that doesn't mean that the inner fire isn't burning, um, you know, I used to be very much like a duck on top of a lake. My feet were paddling very, very quickly and I tried to make it look good. Uh, but sometimes it's as simple as people just being nervous, right? They wanna say the right thing. Uh, they want to do the right thing and they really are excited about the job panel. Interviews can be pretty intimidating. Um, I've done them as, as the leader, I've had panel interviews, I've been a part of them as, as the prospective candidate. Um, but I think making accommodations, whether it's the panel interview and your in your example or, or something else that really gives people, the opportunity to shine is, is what we're looking for. Right. We want people to be the best version of themselves on that day, but also that highlights the best version of themselves that they're gonna be as an employee.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:31:17    Exactly. I think another often accommodation that people ask for ahead of time is, um, or, or to ask for in the interview is to get the questions ahead of time, or at least some type of agenda, you know, often like critical strategic thinkers. Like they're not thinking on the, they, they don't like to think on the fly and their best answers don't come on the fly, but when they have a couple of minutes to themselves to look through, they actually probably have, you know, incredibly insightful ideas. Um, so I think there are just so many things that people don't realize they're doing. That's just gating their intake to specific people who are good at specific things.  

[Tom Finn]    00:31:54    Yeah. If you're really good at panel interviews, uh, then you're just gonna get people that are really good at panel interviews. Yeah. Right. And if that's part of your process  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:32:03    Politics  

[Tom Finn]    00:32:04    <laugh> that's right. Yeah. And that, that happens also, uh, in these, in these large organizations. Okay. So Charlotte, I've gotta ask you this, uh, you have created an organization that drives inclusion across industries and various employers you're measuring these actions. Is there a specific industry or segment of the business that, uh, really works for inclusively and some other part does not?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:32:31    Um, you know, there's definitely kind of the high volume, high turnover roles that are really good for us to get started with. So kind of operational customer support. It's a great way to get started because there's a lot of volume and we can actually solve a need very quickly, which is, you know, constantly looking for, um, talent and, and loyal talent and to retain that talent. But I would say one of the biggest, you know, misconceptions and, and early on people started, um, would ask us, this is, you know, well, what kind of roles can people with disabilities do? And, you know, someone with a disability can do any job at any company. Um, it's just about what do they wanna do? What are their skills, et cetera. And I think that, you know, historically people have wanted to marginalize people in these boxes at companies.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:33:23    So like, you know, candidates with autism are engineers and, you know, people with down syndrome are gonna be greeters and bad groceries. And what that really does is just marginalized people into these very few roles versus figuring out how you can use their talent elsewhere. Um, so, you know, I think that there's definitely, um, I, I think for us when, when I think about, you know, what makes us most successful or what kinds of jobs or what industry it's actually has nothing to do with that, it's the people we're in interfacing with at the organization, how much they care, how much they understand the strategic value, how much support they feel like they have, and that ultimately drives a successful partnership with us, which ultimately means placements of candidates with disabilities.  

[Tom Finn]    00:34:13    Yeah. That's, that's amazing. And, and the work you're doing, um, should not be underestimated. It's, it's fabulous work, but I, I think I'm, I'm wondering, and I know that our listeners are wondering too, you, you are a very talented, uh, hardworking, uh, executive young female in the business world, sort of taking this by storm. What what's that like? What's it like to be you, uh, that's already sold a company that's now working on something, uh, so positive. What is it like day to day to be Charlotte Dale's?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:34:45   I mean, I feel like I get this question a good amount, not, not a crazy amount, but I do think that you know, my first inclination is starting a company, as you know, is so hard. It's just honestly, the hardest thing that I've ever done. It's also incredibly fulfilling, but it's hard to say having not been a male, how much easier it might be. I do think when it comes to fundraising, there's like inherent qualities in men that more men seem to have than women. And it makes it much easier for investors to identify with like the conviction and the, you know, whereas I feel like, you know, that's where I really feel like I struggle. I feel like I see, you know, companies that are at my same stage that are, you know, in similar spaces or, you know, kind of mirror what we're doing, doing not from a competitive, but just from a pure stage size scale, um, you know, can attract money much faster than I'm able to.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:35:45    And I think that's ultimately I've found a, you know, a quality, maybe that's just more prevalent in men. Um, but I do, I do have to say, you know, it's, once you just do it, it's not, you realize there are a lot more women around supporting you than, than maybe it appears sometimes on the outside when they talk about the statistics around, you know, female, um, companies that get funded and the percentages, because that makes it feel really daunting and feel like you have to be a needle in a haystack to, to make a change and to get capital. And it's just, it's just gonna be really hard no matter what. And once you actually jump in, it feels a lot more supportive in my opinion. Um, you know, there are definitely things I'd like to change. There are definitely things that have happened to me that I feel were unfair, but, you know, part of just being an entrepreneur, whether you're female or male is you just can't take things personally and you just keep moving forward.  

[Tom Finn]    00:36:44    Yeah. You just have to muscle through, I mean, for the record, I am not that great at fundraising either. Uh, and I've, you know, I've been a male my whole life, uh, and I gotta tell you, I mean, it is, it's, it's an art form. Uh, and, and there is a class of people that are just absolutely fabulous at it, and kudos to that. 

[Charlotte Dales]    00:37:02    Yeah. It's amazing to watch, like I'm like, yeah, I would invest in that.

[Tom Finn]    00:37:06    <laugh> and it is absolutely in an art form, but I think at, at its core, you don't have to be, um, you know, Superman or superwoman to, to raise capital. You have to have a really good idea and you have to have a really good business plan and you have to be able to show traction in a market. Uh, yeah. And, uh, once you're able to do that, I think, uh, fundraising gets, gets a little easier for anybody. 

[Charlotte Dales]    00:37:31    I think that, um, you know, the same shifts that we should, that we want to see, and it should start to happen in, in the working world in terms of hiring diverse talent and getting that different perspective and getting people in who have a, you know, different background than everyone else at your company is probably a good thing. Um, I think that, um, the sort of idea around investing as well, people are realizing like investing in founders that didn't have it easy to get there is, is important as well.  

[Tom Finn]    00:38:04    Well, it shows a certain level of grit and authenticity when you've had to go through the trials and tribulations to build it on your own. And, uh, I think that's, that's critically important. So if I'm out there, I'm listening to you, I'm a head of HR at, uh, a Fortune 500 company, or I'm a smaller, medium size business leader, how would, how would somebody get in hold of you and, and start to work with your organization?  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:38:29    Um, I would say LinkedIn, I've been, you know, I got off Instagram last year and I've been getting my scrolling fix on LinkedIn and I am really liking the love. I'm getting on my posts and I'm checking it all the time. And I love to see all the different companies that are looking at inclusively, looking at my profile. So I'd say LinkedIn is probably a good place to find me right now. I'm not wasting my time on, on any other platforms at the moment besides my, my email. <laugh>   

[Tom Finn]    00:38:55  I like to hear that you've given up the gram. I'm not sure how everybody feels about that, but LinkedIn has done a great job, uh, in supporting  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:39:02    Entrepreneur. I've been shopping way too much.  

[Tom Finn]    00:39:04    <laugh> is that right? It turned from fun into shopping. Uh, fair enough. I could see how that can happen.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:39:10    I'm learning a lot more.  

[Tom Finn]    00:39:13    Well, well look, I, I think you, um, should be rewarded and commended for the work that you're doing. You are building economic equality for people with disabilities, and everyone deserves to have financial independence and lift up self-esteem through their own meaningful career. I truly believe in that. And I think you are innovating your driving revenue and you are disrupting, uh, the status quo. And for that, I am very, very grateful for you, uh, and the work that you are doing so flawlessly.  

[Charlotte Dales]    00:39:47    Thank you. This was great to be included on here!

 

[Tom Finn]    00:39:51    Well, thanks for joining the show and we will see you next time and we will see you on LinkedIn.  

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