Feedback: September 2017

by Shawn Linam | Edgar R. Olivo

Question: As the owner of an identified woman- or minority-owned business, what does “diversity and inclusion” mean for you and for your business?

Shawn Linam

CEO and Co-Founder
Qwaltec, Inc.
Sector: Aerospace

As a female business owner and as a woman in a male-dominated field, I initially believed we should be gender blind and hire the most qualified individual for the job. While I still believe that, eventually it became apparent we were employing very few women. Perhaps it was coincidence or perhaps it was a result of subconscious bias and stereotypes. Regardless, when we became conscious of the disparity and made it a goal to hire more women, qualified candidates started presenting themselves. We didn’t change our hiring criteria or give preference to women; it was simply an organic result of setting the intention. Now, our company consists of 22 percent women, which is a higher percentage than the percentage of women in aerospace — 16 percent.

We also made a conscious decision to create a mission statement and values that would appeal to both women and men; values that emphasize the whole person and not just the technical or business objectives. The result is an amazing group of women and men who make coming to work every day a pleasure.

Shawn Linam is the co-founder and the CEO of Qwaltec, Inc., a Tempe, Ariz.-based small business that provides high-quality aerospace systems engineering, mission readiness and technical training services. She is responsible for the development, direction, management and operations of the company. Prior to founding Qwaltec in 2001, Linam worked as an engineer at Scitor Corporation, NASA and Barrios Technology.

 

Edgar R. Olivo

Founder and CEO
Compass Career & Business Solutions
Sector: Business Development

For Compass CBS, the term “diversity and inclusion” means that, as a business, we must represent and serve all the best parts that make up our community. This means respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education and religion. Our sole mission is to ensure anyone who comes to us with a goal has access to business training and resources, regardless of where they are from. We pride ourselves in delivering high-quality business training for both English- and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs and organizations.

We have the distinct pleasure of seeing how programming that is inclusive for diverse communities can elevate the personal economy of our business students and create sustainable systems for communities to thrive in the 21st century economy.

As a minority-owned business, being a positive example for other businesses to embrace their own diversity and ensure their service offerings are inclusive is more than just our company mission, it is our life’s work.

Edgar R. Olivo is a Hispanic author, award-winning entrepreneur, business development strategist and corporate trainer. In 2011, he founded Compass Career & Business Solutions, a bilingual business training firm focused on providing the skills communities need to thrive. His firm has been nationally recognized by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as the only Hispanic-owned bilingual business development and training center in Arizona, which has served more than 10,000 predominantly Spanish-speaking business owners.

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