Advancing DE&I is in Gene Waddy’s DNA. For him, DE&I is “a tool by which all things are possible.”
As founder and CEO of two certified minority-owned business enterprises — he is the co-founder of Diversant, one of the largest IT staffing firms in the US, and Alpha Business Solutions, a payroll provider — Waddy leverages the new DE&I paradigm effectively to provide solutions to his clients. “You can open up the world to a whole new demographic through these initiatives and effectively source talent from underutilized buckets,” he says. Waddy believes it’s about access, because you don’t know what someone can be with the right opportunity.
To ensure that he does his bit in providing opportunities to all, he mentors numerous up-and-coming minority-owned businesses, most of which are in the staffing sector, and serves on several boards. Those include Wildcat, a business unit of The Fedcap Group, which provides job opportunities and resources for people who have barriers to finding work, such as those who have spent time in the criminal system.
“When I see companies that for generations were nowhere on the battlefield when it comes to DE&I now making real commitments in the space, it makes me feel really hopeful.”
One of his proudest accomplishments was when Merck & Co. wanted a program that would source, recruit, train and deploy military veterans for roles as IT project managers. At the end of the 18-month, Diversant-managed program that comprised veterans from all different military branches, ages and ethnicities, Merck hired them full time. “It was a smashing success,” Waddy says. “I’ll never forget the reaction of military families during graduation. They were so thankful.”
Waddy continues to work on helping people access rewarding career opportunities. He believes that “there’s a point on the curve where it all comes into balance: You’re doing good by customers, employees and your country. You just have to be willing to put in the work to get there.”
2021 DE&I Influencers List