It’s Time to Champion Underrepresented Talent

Diversity, or the lack thereof, has been the topic of conversation as the highly anticipated Silicon Slopes Tech Summit came to a close. Though tech companies in the Silicon Slopes area have provided an influx of new jobs in Utah, the amount of underrepresented talent employed by these companies is low. We could blame it on Utah’s general “lack of diverse population”, on the homogenous religious communities, or on the difficulty of finding qualified underrepresented talent. We could  blame it on numerous factors, but it doesn’t change the fact that underrepresented talent in Utah is just that—underrepresented.

While Utah’s startup community is on the road to becoming the next Silicon Valley, companies face significant recruiting challenges in the most competitive talent market since 1969. “Leaders can no longer afford to ignore any opportunity that could present qualified candidates. This includes creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels like they have a place”(Mentorli, 2020). The truth is, Utah is 78% white and predominantly Mormon. While many of the cultural responsibilities that come with Utah’s dominant religion prove beneficial for entrepreneurs, “the very thing that is transforming Utah into the next tech mecca could be the very thing that ends up holding it back” (Bluestein, 2020). 

It’s no question that the companies on the Slopes are in need of cultural pivots to better recruit, hire, and retain more underrepresented talent. The call for diversity has been issued, and a new company, called Mentorli, appears to have the solution. Through their mentorship platform, Mentorli increases a candidate’s chances of landing a job by 15x. “We’re leaning into that power to close the opportunity gap underrepresented candidates face,” says CEO Luke Mocke.

Creating equal opportunity for job seekers is simply the right thing to do, but it turns out there’s a significant business case too. For one, there’s a linear relationship between earnings and racial diversity on the senior leadership team—to the tune of .8% in earnings for every 10% lift. However, the most compelling reason for fast growing companies in the US, and Utah specifically, to hire diverse talent is to open their talent pool for future hires. Homogenous organizations unknowingly marginalize talent that looks different to them. To ensure they’re creating an inclusive environment for all qualified talent, they need to create a representative workforce. Failing to do so is already creating monumental challenges as minorities in the US become the majority. 

Mentorli supports this philosophy by empowering underrepresented employees to recruit candidates from similar backgrounds—showing candidates how to set themselves up for success in the interview process and thrive in a new environment—building diverse networks from the grassroots level. Read Mentorli’s full press release here. As a participant in the recent Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, Mentorli is offering a FREE first hire to companies that schedule a demo before February 7, 2020. Check it out today!

How to Build Effective and Collaborative Teams

Building effective and collaborative teams is crucial to the success of an organization. In any business, a successful team begins with successful leadership.

Bruce Hassler, CTO at RevRoad, shares his insight on how to ensure that you have the best team for your business. 

First, Hassler recommends hiring top-performing dedicated team members. This increases productivity and ensures that you are utilizing your time and resources strategically. 

Second, is to be involved with and care about what each team member is working on. This gives the employee a sense of confirmation and appreciation. 

Third, is to trust each member to make decisions. Avoid micromanaging employees. Instill trust and give them opportunities to learn and grow. 

Fourth, is to listen to the team and don’t be afraid to try new things. Leaders often think they have to do it all themselves, but there is beauty in collaborating with team members and trying to understand their point of view.

Everyone brings a unique prospective and it’s in collaborating together that the best representation of what our customers and clients need is delivered. 

Jason Caldwell, COO at RevRoad, emphasized the importance of validation. As leaders who are trying to build high functioning collaborative teams, validating our team’s achievements is crucial. Examples of common validations include:

  • Validating ideas
  • Validating initiative
  • Validating circumstances
  • Validating feelings

Allowing teams to feel validated helps them build confidence in and respect for their leaders. 

AJ Rounds, CMO at RevRoad suggests, “Ways to develop an effective leadership team very much align with the RevRoad ‘H’ philosophy which includes:

  • Hands – Individuals who aren’t afraid to roll up the sleeves and get stuff done.
  • Heart – Individuals who have passion and conviction for the vision.
  • Head – Individuals who are smart.
  • Humility – Individuals who are willing to take responsibility for actions and feedback. 
  • Humor –  Individuals who are fun to work with. 

Building a collaborative team can be challenging but there are great strategies to facilitate the process. Hiring top performing individuals, staying involved, instilling trust, validating, and implementing the 5 H’s is a good place to start.

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