What’s your story? Here at ATR, ours is one closely tied to the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) community. It’s been a long journey over the course of three decades to get to the level of success we enjoy today, but we’ve never forgotten where we came from. As a woman and minority executive in Silicon Valley, I believe it’s essential to reflect on our evolution as an MBE and look to the future with diversity in mind.
ATR’s Early Adversity
Diversity was synonymous with ATR from our inception, with founders Jerry and Maria coming to America from different parts of the world. Jerry was an engineer, while Maria worked as a career counselor serving the Hispanic community and other ethnic groups. They put their skills together to form a company that would serve not just minorities like themselves, but anyone looking for a job.
It would be easy to make ATR’s success sound simple from there, but like most minority businesses, ATR encountered early roadblocks. One notable day in those early years, a competitor unethically transferred a large number of ATR contractors to their own payroll, meaning ATR lost 50% of its business overnight. Jerry and Maria could have folded the company and gone back to their previous jobs, but that’s not what they stand for. They persevered, working hard to recover what they lost and become more successful than ever. That setback galvanized ATR to not let adversity stop us, something we share with many MBEs that have experienced similar challenges.
Today, business for ATR doesn’t just mean focusing on profits. After beating adversity and becoming a leader in our space, we feel a strong duty to give back to the MBE community and help smaller MBEs whose shoes we were once in. With that mentality, we are actively engaged with the National Minority Supplier Development Council. We’ve earned their prestigious Supplier of the Year award while mentoring others and sharing our insight and experiences.
However, it goes beyond that for us. A new study shows that minorities are more likely to take on caregiver roles in their personal lives and make decisions based on how those around them will be affected. This proves why the MBE community is so strong; helping others is in us as people, not just professionals. We were founded on that very principle, as ATR’s purpose is to make the world a better place, one job at a time. By becoming a true mentor to other MBEs, abiding by our Supplier Diversity Support Policy, and engaging with minority owned businesses when we need an outside service, we are able to achieve our purpose while lifting up the greater minority community.
Encouraging Diversity Within Diversity
Greater understanding of minority owned businesses is essential, but at ATR we are always thinking one step further. We urge every organization to do the same and consider diversity within diversity. Just as diversifying clientele is a fiscally healthy business practice, diversifying workforces can bring many benefits. Placing more people from different walks of life under one roof invites more ideas, different perspectives, improved collaboration, and can help better connect with customers who may be minorities themselves. It also helps combat distinct skills shortages plaguing a number of industries by not overlooking qualified talent.
I applaud efforts such as the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion organization, home to over 550 CEOs committed to improving diversity in the workplace. We need more of this today in order to continue the dialogue and bring about real change. It’s also important to remember that it’s not just CEOs like me who can make a difference. Each and every one of us, whether we are executives, managers, or entry level employees, can support this great effort by seeking out those who are different from ourselves and genuinely connecting with them.
ATR’s MBE Story
It’s important to always remember our roots, but we don’t want to live in the past. The future is a diverse one, and ATR is thrilled to be at the forefront of it. On a final note, the earlier study of minorities found that Latinos are especially focused on helping the next generation and leaving things better than they found them. This particularly resonated with me as a Hispanic woman executive in 2019.
As I lead the next generation of ATR, and by extension, MBEs in the staffing world, I take it upon myself to continue to promote diversity and make the future an even better place for everyone. Together, we can enact real change and leave a positive legacy behind. That’s the ATR story; what do you want yours to be?
If you’re interested in connecting with ATR for staffing and consulting services, or just want to chat further about diversity, reach out to us here.