Work and Money
This Platform Connects Underrepresented People to Job Opportunities
Creating an inclusive workforce is a twofold journey: companies must be trained to identify and elevate individuals from different communities, and individuals must have access to those job opportunities. To bridge the gap between employers and employees, Michele Lanza founded Work Wider — a hiring and job-search platform to diversify the workforce.
According to its website, Work Wider helps members of underrepresented groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, neuro differences, veterans, women, and 50+) find jobs at the companies that want to hire them. Users can search for jobs, filtering for their experience level, industry, job type, and function. In addition to being a network of support, Work Wider provides members access to professional resources, community building, and mentoring programs. The site also features curated content, ranging from business-advice articles to personal blogs on breaking into the job market.
“I wanted to create a place where people can show up as their full selves on a career platform and find companies committed to creating cultures where everyone feels they belong,” Lanza tells CircleAround. "Additionally, I wanted to make it easier for companies to find top talent from all underrepresented communities in one place."
"I wanted to make it easier for companies to find top talent from all underrepresented communities in one place."
Lanza emphasizes that building an inclusive, diverse professional community was “really a culmination of the many instances where I saw firsthand the disadvantages certain groups experienced (and are still experiencing) in being seen or heard or considered in the recruitment process.” This led her to enact strategies that would result in more equitable hiring practices for the clients she serves.
“I have spent a major part of my career in finding, recruiting, and developing talent," says Lanza. "Along the way, I learned how important it was to have more intentionality about our hiring practices. My overall focus lies in recruiting communications professionals globally, helping others build toward diversity, equity, and inclusivity in hiring, and providing underrepresented communities access to — and the means to — get their foot in the door of opportunities.”
Lanza is always continuing to learn about the needs of specific groups and communities, and she says that is the most rewarding aspect of her role. She notes that, "Along the way, it illuminates not just our differences, but our shared humanity."
"Along the way, it illuminates not just our differences but our shared humanity."
In her words, creating a fair, just, and equitable world will require everyone's effort. Companies must understand that they are not just doing the right thing by embracing this, but that they are doing right by their employees and their companies.
“I applaud organizations that move beyond words and are working and taking action to ensure they are as diverse as the communities they are in and the ones they serve,” she adds.
“Whenever we hear back from our Work Wider members who have successfully found a position that enables them to showcase their talent while celebrating their authentic selves — there's nothing more fulfilling than that.”
This post is part of a month-long January CircleAround series in which we asked writers to explore the topic "What Comes Next?" Now that we’ve (thankfully) turned the corner on 2020, what can we expect from 2021? Business-wise and family-wise, mentally and spiritually. To see all the posts in the series, visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to email@example.com or post on our "2021 Vibes Wall."