At the Intersection of Opportunity

This is the third blog in a Diversity Matters series featuring Geno Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, of Shtudy. If you haven’t already, check out the prior blogs: Cultivating Diversity and The Problem Shtudy is Solving.

Your commitment to building more diversity in the state of New Hampshire is commendable. What is it about the state that made you want to lay down business roots here?

I went to school in New Hampshire, moved to California. Then to D.C. and now I’m back in New Hampshire. My goal now is to let other people know, who also come from a background similar or different than mine, that there is opportunity up here. From any angle, whether it be business, sports, finding a high paying job – anything is possible depending on that person’s passion. It can be accomplished in New Hampshire – it’s a burgeoning area for opportunity. Shtudy is my outlet to give back to the state in a way that helps everybody in a win-win situation.

I believe companies in NH have a positive outlook to try to improve things. And in the same breath, also know that they’re going to need help. We don’t feel like that should be a difficult thing to do when people genuinely want to do it. Shtudy is here to make that easy. This would be massive for the state of New Hampshire. This will help us skyrocket productivity in the state, not only from a revenue standpoint, but also from an equity standpoint. I think we can lead the charge for this.

In a prior blog, you had mentioned two things had brought you back to the New Hampshire – social injustice and COVID-19. How do these recent events introduce Shtudy as a tool for businesses that are looking to attract more young people of color? How is Shtudy hoping to lead this change?

COVID-19 and social equity and equality in our country are the primary drivers and influencers of not only Shtudy, but also our country right now. COVID has forced employers to figure out ways to hire more tech talent from home; they are not used to having to conduct what would be an in-person interview exclusively, virtually. It’s more difficult to get a feel for certain candidates – to find that mesh and to figure out who is a great culture fit. COVID has forced folks to pick up their computers more, which means more tech roles are opening. Companies who have certain societal goals that they’re looking to reach regarding how many people of color are employed – Black or Latinx or Native American – when compared to white people in the organization, it could be hard.

When there are 100 hundred positions open and you want 50 of them to be filled with people of color and you don’t know where to look…that’s where Shutdy comes in. We’re helping employers and candidates make that adjustment. And frankly, because of the social equality discussions going on in our country right now, a lot of folks feel uncomfortable with their current organizations and are leaving and looking for a new opportunity. Now is the time where we’re meeting at that intersection between the two points and helping out both parties.

People of color are used to being around people who don’t look like them. They’re used to being the only one in the room that can relate to problems or issues in the workplace. Their coworkers can’t do that. It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just the reality of the situation. It turns into trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and it doesn’t work out at some point – something has to change. Whether it’s the company and the way they’re operating internally, or whether it’s the candidate, maybe we can find a better opportunity for them.

We’ve seen Shtudy in the news more often these days – you must be incredibly busy! Recently as a panelist on the NH Tech Alliance’s Diversity In Hiring Series: Techniques to Improving Workplace Diversity (above). What else is on the horizon for Shtudy?

We recently released a product about a week ago, so we’re super excited about that. And now, we’re going into our fundraiser. We’re entering our pre-seed round of which we’re super excited about. We have the NH Tech Alliance’s Speed Venture Summit on November 5th. We’ll be connecting with investors and potential customers, who truly believe in our mission and want to join us on that path to providing equity and inclusion to folks who deserve an opportunity. On the company side, for folks who want to lead the charge for equity and diversity in tech – we’re that go-to reliable source that allows them to do that.

Everything that we believe in as a company is to help people get jobs and for companies to thrive. Whether it is an investor, a company to investors – you’re more than welcome to get on board. We’re looking for people who truly resonate with our mission and want to help us get there faster. I’m open to investors who want to help us celebrate that mission and with anyone else who wants to help. Maybe a family member, co-worker, or friend is possibly going to lose their job due to COVID, or maybe for another reason, there are a lot of people being furloughed right now. Send them to Shtudy. If we can’t help them, we can find somebody who can. I’m very genuine and sincere about that. Even if they don’t fit our target demographic, I’m happy to do what I can to connect them with the right people.

Describe your ultimate vision for Shtudy.

The ultimate vision is to double the current 9% of Black, Latinx and Native American people in the tech space. We want to do that by 2025 which is an extreme commitment to this project. We know it’s not going to be an easy task. We need to build trust with our community. We are very honest and transparent with our candidates. And we also make sure they are qualified for the roles that we’re placing them in. The platform is free for job seekers though we don’t just let anybody on to our platform. We thoroughly vet them before we present them to our employers for that reason.

We feel like companies are trying to find these talented folks and Shtudy is the long-term vision. To be the end-to-end diversity hiring solution. Consider how people think of their phones – you probably think of Apple. The long-term vision is when folks think of recruiting top tech talent of color – they think of Shtudy.

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