COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives. It’s made us reevaluate our priorities and rethink everything. This has especially been the case for businesses. We reached out to local experts to learn not only how their industry has been affected by COVID, but also how they have adapted in a year filled with a global pandemic, political and social upheaval, and more.

By Joanna Kresge, Maria Leuzinger, Madison Miller, Kara Patajo, Blake Peterson, and John Stearns 

Illustrations by Alex Schloer


REAL ESTATE

Despite recent events, the real estate market across the state, and especially here in the South Sound, continues to be on a nonstop hot streak. With a diverse inventory of available homes and all-time-low interest rates, homes are selling faster — with more offers and for more money — than ever, according to Alisha Harrison, a John L. Scott‒Belfair broker and first vice president of Washington REALTORS. Harrisonʼs role at Washington REALTORS will put her in succession to be president of the statewide organization, which counts more than 22,000 Realtors among its ranks, by 2023. We caught up with Harrison for some advice. — JK

For Homebuyers

Buyer preparation is an absolute necessity, now more than ever. It isn’t enough to be preapproved; you need to be fully underwritten before you begin your home search in earnest. … Have detailed conversations upfront with whoever is a decision-maker in your homebuying experience, so you can agree on what you want, what you need, where you’ll compromise, and what is a deal-breaker. This helps you make more efficient decisions. In a time when we are seeing 40-plus showings on a new listing, being prepared to make a quick decision can mean the difference between getting an offer in or missing out entirely.

For Sellers

Even in this “hot” market, it is important to have your home ready to show before it hits the market. Have a plan in place regarding how you’ll handle showings so you aren’t overwhelmed when the calls start rolling in. The same goes for offers — know how you’d like to review offers, and ensure that is communicated to the buyers’ brokers.

For Aspiring Realtors

Be ready to work hard, like, really work hard. Real estate looks glamorous and might even seem easy from the outside looking in, but nothing could be further from the truth. Be ready to go six months (or longer) without any income, but understand you’ll still have expenses. Expect to fail, but know you will learn from those failures. Get a mentor, and listen to what they say. Treat it as a career, not a hobby. And get involved in your local and state Realtor associations.

For Companies Looking to Address Equity

Washington REALTORS offers many resources for Realtors looking to do more to support racial equity, and my initial advice is to go to the website and explore what is available. Get your At Home with Diversity certification. Watch the implicit bias training videos, and participate in Fairhaven, the interactive Fair Housing Training program recently launched by the National Association of REALTORS. Research your community demographics and learn which segments are underserved, and then reach out to help.

For Realtors Struggling with Work-Life Balance

Understanding what you need, and setting boundaries, is paramount, as is communication. Find a quiet corner, and get organized. Time block. And, perhaps above everything else, show grace — to yourself, your partners, your clients, and pretty much anyone you meet along the way.


FINANCE

Since the start of the pandemic, local banks have been working with their patrons to help apply for PPP loans, grants, and with any other financial assistance. We reached out to Carrie Whisler, senior vice president and chief credit officer at Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed), and Steve Politakis, chief executive officer of Kitsap Bank and the president and CEO of the bankʼs holding company, Olympic Bancorp, to gain insights. — BP

Carrie Whisler. Courtesy of Olympia Federal Savings.

Lessons Learned From COVID

Whisler: It’s funny, because I’ve always been the banker that wanted my customers to think about the what-if scenarios. Look at your business model, and ask yourself, “What if I lose that supplier, or key contract, or a change in business model?” However, I do always believe in looking at the strengths and weaknesses of a situation and being nimble to take advantage of new markets, delivery channels, or needs that didn’t exist before.

How the Industry Has Changed

Whisler: FinTechs (financial technology companies) are delivering different lending products and services that attract a certain amount of business customers because they’re nimble and typically provide immediate results. However, on the flip side, what hasn’t changed is that business owners like to do business with people they know and trust, and that will provide them with thoughtful advice that will help their business in the long run. That is the strength of community banking. Additionally, (OlyFed) has been able to implement and utilize many new advances in technology, which has helped us reach, serve, and deliver more products, services, and support to an even broader audience of customers in a more efficient and effective manner.

On Sustainability

Steve Politakis. Courtesy of Kitsap Bank.

Politakis: Our employees act with integrity, are focused on the long-term, and serve as responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to us by our customers, our communities, and the environment. Our commitment to a sustainable environment is demonstrated through consistent efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and to improve our corporate real estate holdings, making our facilities more energy-efficient. At the same time, we have a role in helping other business owners retrofit and build eco-friendly facilities, and we also work with local nonprofits to help secure energy cost savings through investment in solar projects. … Kitsap Bank created a small business competition seven years ago called edg3 FUND to recognize entrepreneurs dedicated to growing our community economically, socially, and environmentally.

Best Industry Advice

Whisler: If you can’t underwrite a loan on the back of a cocktail napkin, you aren’t a good business lender. In essence, a great community banker is someone who will meet their customer where they’re comfortable, is flexible and trustworthy, will provide common-sense advice and support, and is a visionary with a good judge of character.

Politakis: Pay yourself first. Invest as much as you can in your retirement plan at the earliest possible age, and, if your employer matches at any level, be sure to contribute at least as much as they match.


MANUFACTURING

Todd Dunnington. Courtesy of Skills, Inc.

The manufacturing industry is filled with outdated stereotypes, according to CEO Todd Dunnington of Auburn-based Skills Inc. We sat down with Dunnington to gather his insight on the industry and what he wants people to know. — MM

Q: From your vantage point, what has been the pandemicʼs effect on your industry?

A: Skills Inc. is a contract manufacturer supporting the commercial aerospace industry. Therefore, the impact has been both sudden and significant. Recovery is estimated to take two to four years.

Q: What steps did you take to make things safer?

A: Our response was quick and multifaceted. … We provided PPE to all employees and developed a matrix of COVID-19 response steps for handling a potential or confirmed case of the virus inside our factory. Overlapping shifts were stopped, and workstations were modified to ensure there was physical distancing between employees. Our human resources policies were reviewed to make sure we were consistent in our application of policies around COVID-19 absences and made sure we were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other government regulations.

Q: How has Skills Inc., and the industry as a whole, addressed diversity and inclusion?

A: Skills is celebrating its 55th year of operation and has been a leader in diversity and inclusion since day one. It’s important to know that 1 out of 5 Americans has a disability. Most disabilities are nonapparent. For example, someone experiencing PTSD, depression, cancer, a learning disability, anxiety disorder, or hearing impairment is living with an invisible disability. And persons with disabilities are simply another form of diversity. Skills is a leader in providing workplace accommodations and is an advocate of accessibility. Sixty percent of employees at Skills Inc. have one or more disabilities. We also have award-winning programs for young people with disabilities who want to know more about a career in manufacturing.

Q: What are some things you wish people understood about this industry?

A: Today’s workforce is highly diverse. The gender gap is quickly diminishing. Those being recognized internally and promoted are people who are comfortable with the digital transformation and are good problem-solvers and do well participating on teams.


TRANSIT

Danette Brannin. Courtesy of the subject.

Public transportation is a facet of our lives that many of us might take for granted. But what about those whose day-to-day lives revolve around ensuring the public can easily get from Point A to Point B? Recently, we got in touch with Danette Brannin, who, when we spoke with her in early February, was the general manager of the Mason Transit Authority (a few weeks later, she pivoted to a position with Pierce Transit as its finance manager), as well as Ann Freeman-Manzanares, Intercity Transit general manager and CEO, to learn more about the industry. — BP

One Piece of Advice

Freeman-Manzanares: Don’t be afraid to change how you do business to accomplish your goals.

Brannin: Transit is unique in that it is about the community it serves. So, my advice to those entering the transit field is to get out in the community to understand the needs of those being served. Each community is different, with different needs. Be ready to adjust your thinking about the services provided, and be open to changing as the needs and demographics change.

Ann Freeman-Manzanares. Courtesy of the subject.

Skills Required

Brannin: Compassion comes to mind first. Placing myself in the shoes of those who are transit-dependent, either by choice or need, helps when new service ideas come forth or when looking at making service adjustments. I have to think of the impact of the changes to the riders and whether the change will impact them negatively. So translating that to other parts of my life, I try to be compassionate toward others whose life may differ from mine and place myself in their circumstance.

Diversity and Inclusion

Freeman-Manzanares: We strive to be reflective of the community we serve. That applies to pursuing practices that best support diversity and inclusion within our own workforce, partnering with community organizations, encouraging participation through contracting opportunities, as well as making a commitment to learn and understand the needs of those we directly serve or hope to serve. We strive to ensure people feel valued, respected, and comfortable sharing their truth. That makes us a stronger and more successful agency.


HOSPITALITY

Shaun Brobak. Photo by Amanda Howse.

Shaun Brobak, owner of Crockettʼs Restaurant Group, and Anthony Anton, President and CEO of Washington Hospitality Association, share their insights into how the hospitality industry has changed over the past year and what it might look like going forward. — KP

On COVID

Brobak: When the economy was strong and there were many restaurant options, the employment market was hot, and employee wages were rising for several years. It could be a challenge to find employees. Currently, we have more applications coming in than we can possibly consider, and in the best cases, wages are pretty stagnant. Consumer behavior is also changing. More people are comfortable with takeout and delivery options than ever before. Customers are much more accepting and understanding of this type of experience. Some of this shift will be permanent.

Anton: I think my biggest takeaway was the reinforcement of many of my beliefs about our industry. How this industry views its team members as family more than employees. Owners who were losing everything were spending hours and sometimes days away from their business trying to get their employees connected to the unemployment insurance system. There were so many small-business people emptying their savings to give small loans or gifts to their staff who needed to meet rent. And many kitchens that were closed to the public offered meals to their teams.

Anthony Anton. Courtesy of the Washington Hospitality Association.

For Entrepreneurs

Brobak: I would build and create new concepts with as much simplicity, which makes sense, to keep operations streamlined and facilities smaller. I would be very cautious about opening large facilities. I’m just not sure how the mix of outside the restaurant (takeout and delivery) versus inside restaurant dining will play out in the long run and would be conservative with this.

Diversity and Inclusion

Anton: Hospitality is amazingly diverse — and is the industry where so many people from all kinds of backgrounds and nations get their start. More than 37 percent of restaurant owners in our state are people of color, more than 60 percent are owned or co-owned by women, and 40 percent of employees are people of color. The same diversity exists in motel and hotel ownership. In communities across the state, restaurants provide a way to experience and gain appreciation for different cultures — and in a global pandemic, experiencing different cultures through food is as close as we can get to travel.


EDUCATION

With advances in technology, changes in curriculum, and growing educational programs, education has expanded beyond the four walls of a classroom, a process which has been sped up due to mandated school closures around the COVID-19 pandemic. Olga Torres Inglebritson, dean of continuing education at Tacoma Community Collegeʼs Gig Harbor campus, shares her insights on how education has changed. — MM

Olga Iglebritson. Courtesy of the subject.

On COVID

Tacoma Community College was very supportive in allowing the continuing education program to develop new and innovative ways to offer our programs. For example, we have an annual writers’ conference (Write in the Harbor); it has always been conducted as a two-day, live conference. When we realized that the conference would have to be canceled, we began to explore different ways to present (it) to our community. Using a conferencing platform, and with the assistance of our IT department, we were able to offer the conference to aspiring writers across the Northwest, from Seattle to Oregon. We were able to offer access to the whole conference in a way that we never had before.

Another great example is our senior community. Many of them look forward to the weekly gatherings through our continuing education programming. The loss of gathering with friends when we went to remote operations severely impacted that connection to the community. We know that has been hard to replace, but our instructors were very creative in converting classes that were not meant to be online. This has not only given them an activity to participate in during this stay-at-home period, but also enhanced their computer skills.

On Technology

When I began my career, online options were limited. Continuing education was primarily done face to face, which was so important to building our community. Many of the programs were focused on personal enrichment: art, health, and wellness. Over the years, we have seen more certificate programming and professional development opportunities. Technology has played a significant role with providing continuing education classes for the community during the pandemic. Tacoma Community College utilizes different software that is user-friendly for students and flexible for our instructors.

On Common Misconceptions of Continuing Education

I believe when people hear “continuing education,” their minds may go immediately to arts and crafts. Some of it is that, but there are so many other topics we offer. People can take a certificate program and expand their employment skills, and others take courses to meet clock hour requirements. Then there are the individuals who try out a class and realize that “school” isn’t so scary and enroll in college.


HEALTH CARE

Health care is among the fastest-growing and -changing industries, especially since COVID-19. We emailed with Dr. Peter Lightbody, the district medical director for the Greater Tacoma Area of Kaiser Permanente Washington — a role heʼs held for two of his almost 18 years at Kaiser Permanente — to learn more about the health care industry in the region. Lightbody also is a family physician for Kaiser Permanente in Tacoma. — JS

Is a specific kind of degree more likely to get you in the door at Kaiser Permanente, or is it more based on experience?

We hire exceptionally talented people to work at Kaiser Permanente who have the right training, experience, and expertise for the job. The qualifications for those jobs vary by position, but we always value hiring people who have very strong interpersonal skills, are collegial, great communicators, and value a team approach to delivering care. In everything we do, we need staff who meet our “know me, see me, guide me” standards to patient care.

We often hear of nursing shortages across the nation. What positions are most in-demand at your company?

Along with R.N.-level nursing positions, Kaiser Permanente is consistently hiring for medical assistant positions, and we are proud to work with our labor partners to create job pipelines within our community to meet these needs. And, certain medical specialties continue to be in high demand — such as behavioral health, including mental health therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists — as well as other subspecialties to meet our communities’ needs.

Diversity and inclusion are a focus these days in companies. Whatʼs your companyʼs view and implementation of that?

Kaiser Permanente has a deep and abiding commitment to health equity and eliminating health disparities in the communities we serve, and a focus on equity is a shared Kaiser Permanente and Washington Permanente Medical Group (WPMG) value.

We have an equity, inclusion, and diversity team that works to ensure that we are developing an inclusive leadership team and workforce that reflects the communities we serve. I am very proud that Kaiser Permanente Washington has equity, inclusion, and diversity at top of mind when we make our hiring decisions. We are aligned on that from the top of Kaiser Permanente at a national level, through to our regional president, and on down to the front line. Our organization is committed to zero-tolerance for inequity and racism, knowing that compassionate care is inclusive and intentional. And, like all organizations, we know that although we’ve made great strides, there’s still work to do.

We are also proud of our national commitment of $8.15 million for racial equity through grants to grassroots and nonprofit organizations that will help address structural racism and practices that prevent communities of color from achieving good health and well-being.

Whatʼs the most interesting benefit your company offers?

Kaiser Permanente has an industry-leading robust benefits package, retirement matching, medical and dental, and an employee wellness program to help our staff through difficult times. Washington Permanente Medical Group staff have an opportunity to invest in becoming a partner and shareholder, giving them the opportunity to have a say in the decisions that are made. We also have a fantastic Practice and Leadership Development department that helps our providers improve their practice and clinical skills, as well as an excellent series of courses in leadership development.

If someone works at a health care company in the South Sound, whatʼs one thing they absolutely should be doing to grow, build their skills, and remain relevant?

Be adaptable to change, and be able to lead it effectively — because change is more constant in this industry than most.

How has COVID-19 changed your company and industry?

COVID-19 catapulted us forward in terms of our plans for virtual care. We now provide virtual care through many channels that are convenient for our members — such as real-time Care Chat with providers, e-visits, phone and video visits with primary care and specialty providers, Telederm consultations with our dermatologists (which eliminate wait and co-pays for our members), among others. We’ve focused on reinforcement and refining of infection-control procedures. And, like other industries, we’re continually assessing and navigating the balance between in-person and services provided remotely.

Whatʼs your personal secret to success?

To me, successful leaders are servant leaders — trying to find ways to remove barriers their teams are encountering in pursuing the goal of delivering the best, evidence-based care to our members, at the lowest cost. We use these principles as touchstones to refer to in the midst of turmoil and change — which it seems that the health care industry is always undergoing.

Lightbody’s Top 3 Best Industry Practices in Health Care

  1. Customer service that puts the member/patient at the center of your decisions.
  2. Remove barriers to communication, and be intentional about coordination between departments in your organization.
  3. Be transparent with your staff about the what, how, and — most especially — the why of what you are doing.

CONSTRUCTION

Tim Attebery. Courtesy of the subject.

As the southern district manager for Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC), Tim Attebery has his finger on the pulse of the construction business in the South Sound and beyond. Atteberyʼs role includes governmental affairs work at the local level, the recruitment of new members to the association, and providing networking and educational events for its members. — JK

On Starting a Construction Business Mid-Pandemic

Develop relationships, and keep feeding those relationships constantly over time. Hire good people, and then let those people flourish by allowing their personality and skills to develop in a way that builds success at your company.

On Equity

AGC provides training and leadership courses in this area on an ongoing basis. In construction, we want to recruit people of all backgrounds. Established companies will bring newer women- and minority-owned companies under their wing and teach them how to take their company to the next level. Relationships developed over time matter a lot in construction, and AGC is at the forefront of giving women- and minority-owned companies the exposure they need to succeed and hire more workers.

On Employee Mental Health

Our internal AGC Safety Department provides resources in this area and is not afraid to talk about the topic. Webinars, training, and keeping the conversations going are the only ways to attack this problem. The industry realizes that the pandemic created some unique problems, and we want to be a safety net for people who are in trouble.

On Work-Life Balance

If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be a very good worker. If your family situation is unsettled, you won’t be a very good worker. So, during this odd time, focus on family and your health first, and then from there, good things will happen at work.


CONSERVATION

Sarah Moorehead. Courtesy of the subject.

Sarah Moorehead has been serving as executive director for the Thurston Conservation District for two of the 10 years sheʼs dedicated to the organization. Her passion for outdoor conservation started when she was a child running barefoot through her grandpaʼs backyard and attending outdoor camps.

Soon after graduating from The Evergreen State College, Moorehead interned with the district, performing community outreach for conservation programs and supporting educational events. “I fell in love with the hands-on, on-the-ground model of stewardship that conservation districts deliver,” she said. “This, coupled with my personal and familial interests in agriculture, aligned (with) my passion for caring for kids with tangible work to improve the landscape. I found my niche, where I could use my skill set in communications to make the biggest impact conserving our precious resources for generations to come.”

Over the course of her tenure with the Thurston Conservation District, Moorehead said sheʼs observed several changes in the conservation industry and has learned some valuable lessons, which she shared with us. — ML

What skills are necessary for success in the outdoor conservation and education industry?

For me, it’s all about communication and building relationships. With hard work and dedication, you can learn the technical knowledge needed to be successful in outdoor conservation and education. What I have found to be most valuable is the ability to listen and communicate effectively — especially with people or populations of differing perspectives. Embracing this ethic in all aspects of life — both personally and professionally — builds trust and lasting relationships. Once you’ve established trust between individuals or communities, real, vulnerable conversations can happen, and that is where real change is made. This is certainly true in industries as diverse as natural resources conservation, where communicating across differences can be a real challenge. However, when relationships are built, people start looking out for each other and creating solutions collaboratively.

How have you developed over the course of your career?

In the last 10-plus years that I have been working in this field, some of the most important traits that have developed are my comfort in taking calculated risks, confidence in my professional judgment, and recognition in the value of fighting for what you believe in.

What is the best piece of business advice youʼve ever received?

When things are hard, just taking it one day at a time. I know that phrase is used oſt en — but it can be really helpful when you’re in the middle of a challenge that persists over a period of time. Keep telling yourself, “Just one more day,” and before you know, it’s been one week, one month, or one year, and you’ve persevered. Don’t give up if it’s something worth fighting for.

What changes have you observed in the conservation industry?

Everything changes. The landscape is dynamic, and so are the communities that steward them. There are always new pressures and differing perspectives. The objective is to find synergy and remain adaptable. Thurston Conservation District functions as the melting pot of ideas among stakeholders, striving for balance and win-win solutions. Taking each situation as it comes and craſt ing innovative solutions and customized approaches allow for the flexibility to benefit everyone. This is inherent in the work we do with partners and private citizens. We listen, keep the pipeline of communication and perspectives flowing between the parties, and think creatively about how we can achieve everyone’s goals. How can we keep farming operations economically viable, while enhancing critical habitat? How can we restore salmon habitat, while producing food for our local communities?

Some of the biggest changes have been our climate and the impact our changes have had on the landscape and the way that conservation work is funded.

Climate change impacts all sectors of our lives, from industry to transportation to public health. One of the most visible signs of a changing climate is on our shared resources. We’ve noticed new agricultural pest and disease pressures move into our region, an increase in invasive plants and animals — which outcompete native ones — more floods, more drought, more wildfire; the list goes on. Our role is twofold: Help our area prepare, (and) help slow the rate of change. For example, wildfire is oſt en thought of as an issue that impacts the drier eastern side of our state — not anymore. We’re seeing more and more fires on the west side, and as we experience the die-off of some native tree species due to changing conditions and new pests, the fuel load increases. We strive to first, help educate our community and, second, develop strategies to manage their landscape in a changing climate.

Funding for conservation work has also changed. As there are more competing needs in education, health care, and infrastructure, natural resources dollars become rather precious at both the state and federal levels. Conservation districts, in partnership with private citizens, can make a huge difference in addressing conservation issues, especially since more than 50 percent of the land in Washington state is privately owned. It’s time for more industry funding support, and more prioritization of managing our local landscapes if we want to preserve what makes our area so wonderful to live, work, and play in.

What aspect of this job do you find most personally rewarding?

Caring for people is the most personally rewarding part of my job. Knowing that I am supporting a brilliant staff team to follow their passions, serving a truly committed volunteer board, and ultimately helping our community thrive and become great land stewards. This job is a unique opportunity to bring a lot of strategic vision down to the local landscape level — where you can see real change being made every day. The work we do makes a visible impact quickly, and we have the ability to take these needs directly from the community and transform them into projects and programs that make real change in a relative short amount of time.

What advice can you offer to someone interested in pursuing this career path?

The best advice I can offer is to relentlessly follow your passion, and get out there and connect with others who share it. Get involved, meet people, and engage in what’s happening in your local community. Whether that means volunteering for an organization, attending local meetings, joining a governing board, doing an internship, or taking a class — just get out there, and immerse yourself in the conservation community. Be a good listener, and engage positively with people who don’t share your viewpoint oſt en. It’s important to understand an issue from all sides so that you can create a solution that is more likely to be welcomed and beneficial for everyone. Conservation, by nature, is the wise use of natural resources, and with that comes a lot of different ideas about how communities should manage them. Be creative, be innovative, and never be afraid to look for a new way to do things. We need to be confident, adaptable, and humble. Embrace change, and always strive to make the world a better place for generations to come.


TECHNOLOGY

Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the tech market is continually growing and evolving. A good example is Avue Technologies Corp., located in Puyallup. Avue provides an enterprise human capital management platform for public sector entities. We reached out to its co-CEO, Linda Brooks Rix, to learn more about how the tech industry has changed and what people entering the industry need to know. — JS

Linda Rix. Courtesy of the subject.

Who does your company typically hire?

There are two categories of employees. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is about 50 percent of the house, and the other 50 percent belongs to people with deep expertise in human capital management, human resources, and civil rights.

Whatʼs the No. 1 attribute you look for in prospective employees besides skills needed for the position?

Agility and resilience, along with a desire to continuously learn.

Will Tacoma/South Sound ever become a tech hub similar to Seattle or the Eastside?

The South Sound would need to attract substantially more interest in sources of capital/investors to create the environment in which tech companies can grow and scale. While UWT (University of Washington Tacoma) is an important asset for fueling a tech hub climate, there needs to be more educational institutions providing skilled talent into the local labor market. The pandemic has made the South Sound housing market attractive in terms of lifestyle and affordability, so it would seem this is a very good time for local leaders to create the right growth environment for a big play as a tech hub for the Puget Sound region.

If someone works at a tech company in South Sound, whatʼs one thing they absolutely should be doing to grow, build their skills, and remain relevant?

Work on understanding the fundamentals of science and mathematics, as well as be open and receptive to a lifetime of learning and (developing new skills). Computer languages and code-development skills have a very brief shelf-life, and skill erosion is a serious problem because technology evolves at such a rapid rate. To future-proof careers, employees should develop and engage in daily use of core competencies, like analytical thinking and innovation; active learning; critical thinking and analysis; creativity, originality, and initiative; and technology use, monitoring, and control.

Diversity and inclusion are a focus these days in companies. Whatʼs your companyʼs view and implementation of that?

Avue’s core values arise from extensive consulting work supporting the civil rights efforts of a wide variety of public sector organizations. Avue’s AI is trained to ensure our customers are in tight compliance with all statutes, regulations, requirements, case law, and policies in all aspects of employment, including hiring, candidate assessment, organizational culture, and climate.

AI deployed in many human resource applications rests on facial recognition, automated scoring of candidates for organizational “fit,” and other inherently and structurally biased algorithms. In contrast, Avue’s AI focuses on organizational alignment with the values of diversity and inclusion, in addition to legal compliance. As a result, Avue assists its clients by continuously examining for adverse impact, disparate treatment, pay comparability, and a variety of other measures that provide feedback and data-driven analysis of the organization’s diversity and inclusion climate, and recruitment and outreach programs. Continuous climate and risk assessment allow for immediate and constructive correction of adversely impactful operations and policies.

Linda Brooks Rix’s Top 3 Best Industry Practices in Technology

  1. Applying consumer-based user experience models that focus on personalization at scale, into all technology applications.
  2. Creating, through data science, machine learning, and business analytics tools, an embedded framework that offers seamlessly integrated data into leader decision-making processes.
  3. Rigorous cybersecurity that is baked into development and operations.