Inclusively’s Co-Founder and CEO Charlotte Dales shares how companies can easily make changes to provide a more customized work experience.

“We personalize everything we do in our lives and what we’re doing is bringing that to the workplace, helping companies allow candidates to personalize or customize their interview, their work environment, to request accommodations…to set them up for the highest chances of success.”

On the latest episode of the Talent Empowerment Podcast, Co-Founder and CEO Charlotte Dales shared her ideas on how easy it can actually be to make accommodations for disabled job seekers and all employees.

For candidates, Inclusively offers a comfortable place to self-disclose and pick accommodations for both interviews and on the job. Inclusively is also launching an Advocate Portal where nonprofits, government agencies, and training programs can interact with the platform to recommend jobs, identify accommodations, and help educate both candidates and employers.

For HR and companies, Inclusively offers an efficient and scalable way to upgrade current processes to become more inclusive and future-proof for attracting and retaining the best talent. It’s not just about accessing untapped talent or checking the box; it’s an overall strategy that’s better for business. Inclusively helps bring in more perspectives to drive innovation and scalability around offering the ideal employment for each and every person as a human being, not just a candidate for a role.

Watch the interview and read the transcript below.


Tom Finn 0:02
Hello and welcome to the Talent Empowerment Podcast, where we lift up people leaders so they could lift up their organizations. I’m your host, Tom Finn, co founder and CEO of leg up. Together we’ll learn how to drive people innovation, how to transform HR into People Ops, and how to secure buy in to disrupt the status quo. And as I like to say, it’s finally time to stop smoking on airplanes and update your people strategy. Let’s transform your organization and move from a culture of talent management, to talent empowerment. This week’s episode of the talent empowerment podcast is brought to you by leg ups, talent, insurance, and inclusive people development platform designed to help HR leaders empower their people through one on one professional coaching with results like a 66% improvement in avoiding burnout, a 54% jump in leadership skills and a 73% increase in job satisfaction, leg up guarantees improved employee well being productivity and retention. In fact, they ensure it your people stay or they pay, visit leg up. That’s L e g g To learn more. And without further ado, this is talent empowerment.

Tom Finn 1:23
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the talent Empowerment Podcast. My guest today is Charlotte Dales, as you get to know Charlotte, you’ll learn that she has an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit. Her current mission, which I’m very excited to jump into today is helping people with disabilities connect to employers that are looking to hire inclusively, and with a diverse focus, ensuring that people with disabilities have an equal chance to life including, and not to be under mentioned here, employment opportunities.

Tom Finn 1:58
Prior to founding Inclusively, Sharlee found Charlotte founded take a bill winning app purchase later by American Express. And she is also the current co founder and board member of Bottleshop, a cold brew company. So you are going to love this conversation. I’m very excited to introduce Charlotte to us, Charlotte, welcome to the show.

Charlotte Dales 2:18
Thank you. I’m really excited to be here.

Tom Finn 2:21
Well, we are excited to have you. And let’s jump right into your current project, which I am very excited to talk about, you have decided to go down this path of building a modern recruitment platform that connects connects job seekers with disabilities and mental health conditions and chronic illnesses to employers, which is absolutely fabulous. How did that start? Where did that come from?

Charlotte Dales 2:47
Um, so when I was selling my company Cake back at the end of 2017, right at that time, my cousin became the first licensed facialist in the state of Florida with Down syndrome. So she gets facials at a local salon. And pretty much after getting my first facial from her I knew this would be my next company, it was just incredibly clear to me the value of an accommodation in the workplace and in education. And you know how little effort it could be to completely change someone’s career trajectory. So wanted to sort of figure out how can we use technology to bridge that gap?

Tom Finn 3:29
Oh, that’s amazing. So you mentioned that you founded Cake. So tell us a little bit about that. You You was something in the finance realm that you sold to American Express at some point?

Charlotte Dales 3:38
Yes. So back in 2012, my best friend and I were living in London, working in, you know, big corporate companies and both decided to quit our jobs and start a mobile payment app for restaurants and bars having never worked in technology, or I don’t think either of us had ever worked at a restaurant or bar either.

Charlotte Dales 4:04
So jumped in headfirst. This was sort of like around the same time, Uber and you know, all of these things were coming up and many people were like no one would ever pay from their phone. And so

Tom Finn 4:16
Yeah, no one would ever pay from their phone. What a crazy concept.

Charlotte Dales 4:20
I know, and especially now and you know, after the pandemic, where people don’t really pay using anything else, with Toast and everything else out. It’s funny to look back on but yeah, we grew the company to about 200 restaurants in London and ended up selling it to American Express. And you know, after that company, I said I’d never do this again, unless it was to provide like something more meaningful because it’s just so hard to do. It’s just really hard to be in a startup and to pick something up off the ground and take it out of your head and make something and so I’m really feel lucky I was inspired by my cousin because I do love doing it.

Tom Finn 5:04
That’s, that’s amazing. So you have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. You’ve done this a couple of times. And now we’re really focused on your new business inclusively. So tell us a little bit about what you do and how you do it. And if I’m an HR leader out there, I’m a head of people or talent acquisition, you know, how could Inclusively helped me?

Charlotte Dales 5:25
Yeah, so, um, you know, at its core, our platform enables companies to provide accommodations at scale. Personalization is really everything. I mean, we personalize everything that we do in our lives. And what we’re doing is bringing that to the workplace, through helping companies allow candidates to personalize or customize their interview their work environment, to request accommodations, to disclose up front what they might need to set them up for the highest chances of success in job satisfaction, and ultimately, productivity for the organization. So what we believe is that these rigid and ingrained processes and red tape at a lot of large companies means that no matter how much diverse pipeline is sent your way, there’s going to be a low conversion if processes are upgraded, efficiently to a more inclusive culture. So within our platform, we’re providing an amazing pipeline of candidates with disabilities across the spectrum. So anywhere from Down syndrome and autism to stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic illnesses, everyone is self disclosing and requesting accommodations for both the interview and on the job to put this process into action and ultimately drive real diversity and real inclusion and real results.

Tom Finn 6:43
That’s amazing. So if I’m a candidate, do I go through a screening process? Do I go through an onboarding process with your organization, before I get to work with large and small enterprises?

Charlotte Dales 6:56
Yes, so as a candidate, you can, you know, onboard yourself in the way you could on any job site, so you know, resume background, etc. But then what we also offer is the ability for you to pick accommodations, both for things that you would need on an interview, and accommodations that you might need on the job. And so that means that when any employer interacts with your profile, or starts looking, they actually can see, you know, not just your background experience, but what things would make you more successful or have a more successful interview, or be more successful on the job. So it’s giving candidates a really comfortable place to self disclose, they know that, you know, all the employers on our platform are actually signing up because they want to access this pipeline of talent, and they want to be able to do it in a way that’s going to be the most successful for both sides. And so, essentially, you’re just signing up and be and self disclosing what accommodations you would need. What we’re also about to launch is our advocacy portal. So this means all of the nonprofits, government agencies, training programs that are out there upskilling candidates with disabilities, they’ll actually be able to interact with our platform, recommend jobs to the candidates help them identify accommodations, because a lot of what we’ve seen is that a lot of candidates don’t even know what they could be asking for. So we’re trying to become a lot smarter on, you know, recommending accommodations, and helping educate both sides of the market as well. So that they can use accommodations as sort of their currency to be more successful in and attracting sort of more meaningful careers. Wow, what an incredible mission. And the work that you’re doing, I think, is really special and important.

Tom Finn 8:47
I wonder if I’m an HR or if I’m in people ops or talent acquisition, what’s in it for them? Right, what? What’s in it for them to go through the process of onboarding with inclusively to to really go deeper than maybe they’ve ever gone before?

Charlotte Dales 9:04
Um, so I think that, you know, what’s really in it for them is there’s a huge focus on not just diversity, but the war on talent, the great resignation, and every company is talking about, how do they, you know, attract and retain talent, especially in this new age. And I think, you know, from the past few years, I feel like people have been really focused on just get the pipeline, get access to diverse pipeline, get access to more pipeline, but really, you have to kind of look back as an HR person and wonder, why is it not converting? And what do we need to upgrade to be sort of future proofed for this evolving workplace? And I think what’s really in it for them is actually getting access to pipeline is not that hard. It’s converting and attracting that pipeline. And I think that, you know, the pandemic really accelerated something that actually happened a few years before the pandemic, which is, back in 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce. And they have different criteria than historic workforce generations, when looking for a job. So they’re looking for, you know, balance flexibility, they’re looking for jobs that have a mission tied to it, or can show that they value diversity and equality. And they rank these things almost on the same level, or if not higher, than financial incentives and title. Yep. And so if you think about this, ultimately, this new generation is looking for accommodations, whether they’re self disclosing as a disability or not, this generation is self disclosing 25% More year on your and requesting accommodations a lot more frequently. And, you know, COVID, kind of accelerated this into where we are today. And so what’s really in it for HR and for the companies is, current processes can’t scale the work to, you know, to service this demand and to service the shift. And so what’s in it for you is a, you know, efficient and scalable way to upgrade your current processes to become more inclusive, and to future proof your company to be able to attract and retain the best talent with sort of the new workforce generation, both with millennials and Gen Z.

Tom Finn 11:25
I couldn’t agree more. And this is really about going beyond checking the box, right? I mean, there’s certainly some leaders that are gonna say, I just need to check the box. And I don’t agree with it, you probably don’t agree with it either. But if you can actually step back and say, How do I implement a strategy that is inclusive? For for all humans? For all people? How do I do that, then inclusively is the answer. And you start there, and you say, that goes along with my diversity and equity discussions. Right. And we need to be inclusive for everybody. So I think it’s a great place to start for leaders that are really trying to take this seriously. And, and do something about it. That’s meaningful.

Charlotte Dales 12:12
Exactly. I mean, you know, a lot of people at the beginning kept asking me why it wasn’t a nonprofit, and, you know, having worked at, you know, a big company two different times and started my own. I’m not naive, that there’s no way we can actually scalable, we help people with disabilities get better access into the workforce, if we don’t actually make it about the company and the value to them. And so when you kind of look under the hood, what we’re what we’re creating and using to solve, you know, for a bit more accommodating workforce for people with disabilities, is actually just making a better, more accommodating culture at that company for everyone. And ultimately, that’s what employers are looking for. They’re looking for ways to attract and be competitive in the market and retain their talent.

Charlotte Dales 13:05
So I think that, you know, it is, there is a lot of checking the box that’s been historically going on, but I think that people realize now, it’s not just about accessing untapped talent, or checking the box, this is an overall strategy that is just better for your business, you have more perspectives to drive innovation, you have more scalability around how you can offer the ideal employment for each and every person as a human being, and not just as a, you know, candidate for your role. And so yeah, I think that people are moving beyond tick the box, maybe it’s not all genuine and for the, you know, for the good of being inclusive, but that’s almost better if you can find a more sustainable reason for people to do do the right thing.

Tom Finn 13:53
Well, I hope, I hope it’s not take the boxes, you said, I tend to think people are trying to do the right thing. And, and at times, they just don’t know where to turn. But you’re 100% right, this is this is innovation, in its purest form, to help a marginalized group with employment position, and conversely, help an organization really have character and soul and empathy and bring in different perspectives that are so critically important in business today.

Charlotte Dales 14:24

Tom Finn 14:27
I think what you’re doing is is absolutely fabulous. So let’s, let’s talk about that war on talent. You mentioned the turnover, tsunami, the great resignation. You know, all of these terms that we’re throwing out in today’s market. Is that just pandemic related or is there something else to it?

Charlotte Dales 14:48
No, I mean, as I said, I think that this really started, you know, five or more years ago, people just have different criteria for how they want to assess their you know, not just their career, but their life. And ultimately, a career is a huge part of your life. And so the more you can find balance and happiness in that, the more your overall sort of, you know, outlook is. And so I think that, you know, people are focused more on a company’s culture than, you know, the actual financial or work that they’re doing, they want to be part of something. And so I think that the great resignation, it was accelerated, it maybe would have happened much slower without the pandemic. But it’s not a result of the pandemic, I think this shift is slowly been happening as the generation in the workforce is overtaken by, you know, individuals that have a different perspective.

Tom Finn 15:48
I couldn’t agree more, I think values and culture has become one of the top priorities for employees, and employees vote with their feet, they walk or they stay. And that is up to the organization to provide them the tools and culture around them, to lift them up. We call it talent empowerment around here. And I think that’s the idea is that organizations have got to figure out a way to have a bit of a heart, some soul, and bringing the right people that create a culture of inclusivity, so.

Charlotte Dales 16:24
I think culture is also something that some at some times can feel very, like airy fairy and, and something that maybe just happens, but culture is actually can be very intentional. And you need to think about, you know, what are the what are people looking for? And what can I bring into my organization to help that happen, it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. And so you know, what we believe is by being more accommodating to your existing workforce, and by making it allowing people to have a choice and how they interview at your company, and how they set themselves up for success. You’re bringing that culture in their culture into your organization.

Tom Finn 17:10
Yeah, I think you’re 100%. Right. And, and I have my own personal story here, I started a company named leg up, which is a professional development and preventative mental health company, for employees at all levels, which really is designed to drop in an executive or professional coach to help you with your career and help you with your cultural phenomenon within your organization. And so I’m very, this is very near and dear to my heart, I’m very close to this topic, personally and professionally. So I follow you completely. I think one of the challenges as a startup, you know, whether it’s, you know, organization that I run, or the organization that you run, is really getting the attention of fortune 500 leaders, and really saying this is differentiated, this is new, but it’s innovative, it’s going to help you do tend to gain access quickly to these leaders, or, or does it take some work. So I would say that we do get the attention from the leaders, and I get a lot of good responses from a cold email, and some very senior people, I think were were things are difficult is that, you know, they’re immediately thinking like who in my organization needs to take ownership of this and do this, which is great. However, you know, in the world that we’re in, and in the world that you’re in, as I said, this isn’t just about hooking up to your ATS and throwing in pipeline, this requires change management. And you know, you can’t just send that down and expect you know, everyone on the ground to be comfortable with making decisions around some changes in interview processes, etc. So it does, I think that we get access and the attention, but I think that the the understanding that it that it does require a bit more buy in and support from the top level is a bit trickier because, you know, inherently our product immediately screams like, go talk to diversity, inclusion, go talk to talent acquisition, but talent acquisition has a lot of processes already in place, and disrupting those can set off an ecosystem and unless they feel like they’re being supported from the top to implement change, it’s going to be a very sticky engagement for us.

Tom Finn 19:34
Well, you’re 100%, right. In larger organizations, you’ve got dei leaders, you’ve got talent leaders, you’ve got HR leaders, you’ve got benefits leaders, and sometimes they don’t always agree, but I know it’s shocking, but they don’t always agree on what the right path is to take the organization and you do need somebody in that C suite whether it is the CHRO who is over that part of the organization or the CFO or, quite frankly, the CEO who is leading an initiative, you know, with their character and sort of force behind it, I think it does take take some of that effort so that we don’t get caught up in the in the corporate red tape, so to speak.

Charlotte Dales 20:16
And it’s not necessarily a lot of time or execution part on these, you know, CEO, C suite individuals, it’s really understanding this is the change my company needs to adopt. And this is the change, I need to make sure everyone knows that I am supporting that they do adopt. And that’s really what it is.

Tom Finn 20:36
So how do how does an employer take this tool, take the solution and attach it without a heavy lift without tons of integration? without replacing systems? Is that possible? Or, or is it a little bit more work than that.

Charlotte Dales 20:54
Um, so if you think about how most companies are running this process, now, they’ll have a very centralized accommodation team, which is very compliance space, it’s reactive, it’s on a case by case basis, if someone requests an accommodation for the interview, it’s usually going to a, you know, generic email inbox, the recruiter or the hiring manager may not even be looped in with that, oftentimes, they don’t want the recruiter or hiring manager to know the candidates ask for an accommodation, which is a whole other issue in itself, but it’s very uncoordinated from what we’ve seen. And not because these teams aren’t doing a good job, it’s just the the reactiveness instead of proactiveness, in terms of identifying what accommodations can be made for all different types of jobs, and all different types of interviews, and just setting that framework there just means that the way it’s run is reactive. And so you know, while mentally it might feel like a big lift to come on, you know, and out and say, you know, we can take all of our jobs and use your platform and start to run our accommodations process more proactively be transparent.

Charlotte Dales 22:06
The actual heavy lifting from like an execution standpoint, we’re actually streamlining a lot of processes that are currently happening very manually. So there is, you know, there is the sort of idea that it’s, it’s a big lift in the in terms of the mentality and the adoption. But in terms of the actual work, it’s it’s much simpler, you know, every single person on the ground should know, you know, how to conduct an inclusive interview, how to sort of provide accommodations, a lot of them wouldn’t even require you to go to HR to buy some system, it’s little things like having marginal function removed from someone’s job, having a flexible schedule, all of these things that are, you know, not necessarily required to have, you know, several meetings about before you decide.

Tom Finn 23:01
Well, I think that’s critically important that we make it easy for employers to bring this philosophy inside their organization. Because everybody’s busy, everybody’s got workloads that they feel stretched or, or perhaps overwhelmed at times. And so we have to, we have to provide tools and resources that are easy to use and proven out. Because I think the challenge I tend to find is that there’s, there’s this fear in large organizations that if they make a bad decision, or if something doesn’t go perfectly well, that that it’s going to impact their own job. And it’s easier to just stifle innovation and say, No, right? That’s the easy decision. No, we’re not going to innovate Charlotte, we’re going to do something else, right? Because this is scary. But I think what I’m hearing from you is, you don’t really have to be afraid anymore. This is something that we can work together on, we can build an inclusive environment, the tools are there, the resources are there.

Charlotte Dales 24:01
Exactly. And the adoption is there from the, from the top. So you know, one of the earliest things that we saw when we’re starting to work with companies was we needed to help, you know, our points of contact, get higher level support for this so that they can actually, you know, push people to engage with our platform to understand why it’s important. And to prioritize it, given everything else they’re they’re doing in a day. I mean, recruitment is a very it’s very scientific, it’s very, like we need to be able to click through this many resumes and assess this many people and it’s, you have these large organizations who are hiring 1000s and 1000s of people a year they can’t be it has to be efficient. And so, you know, a lot of though the a lot of the processes and technologies that companies have adopted to be more efficient, have unfortunately, screened out and made it adverse harder for diverse candidates to get in. And so it’s kind of untangling a lot of that creating efficient process and keeping it efficient, but maybe different than before. So that it’s actually inclusive of being able to, to, you know, allowing the, the full demographics of your pipeline.

Tom Finn 25:21
We always say don’t blame the person blame the process. Right. And I think that’s what I’m hearing you say is, it may not be the HR leader, talent leaders preference, but there’s a process in place that they’re dealing with that exists, and figuring out as you said, How to untangle it, right, and, and build a different process that allows for those with disabilities of any type, or those in marginalized groups to be supported through a process. I think it’s so critically important in today’s day and age, I mean, it’s just, it baffles the mind, right? If people aren’t doing this type of work.

Charlotte Dales 25:58
And I think it’s just, you know, really shifting from focusing on learning management systems and annual trainings to learning experiences. So one of the things that we do is attach to every single resume, we have the accommodations, so that anybody who picks up one of our resumes is being exposed to someone has asked for these accommodations and the micro training around those accommodations. So, you know, how do you provide it? What does it mean, who often asked for it, just quick information so that anybody can, you know, learn on the go and a relevant and timely way to someone they’re about to meet, versus relying on a diversity training that maybe happened six months ago, that’s going to be very hard to call upon, once you’re sort of actually in the moment.

Tom Finn 26:50
So is that how you scale this across an organization is the tools are built in. So if you’re a manager in Seattle, or the Europe, a leader in New York or Dallas, it doesn’t really matter where you are around the world, you’ve got access to see what the accommodations are, and what you might need to be doing to support this employee.

Charlotte Dales 27:10
Exactly. And you can also see, we are able to read the job description and and apply what accommodations we believe you should be able to make for that position. So creating, you know, the ADA was written a long time ago. And it’s it’s all centered around this idea of reasonable accommodation. Reasonable is very subjective. And at this day and age, when they have data science roles at every single company, a data scientist at pretty much every single company should be able to have the same accommodation. So this is what I mean by us applying this like structure and uniformity, so that there becomes a best best practice around this. And it can be proactive, and it can be efficient, and it can be scalable. And it doesn’t have to be, you know, reactive and a case by case basis and ultimately slow down your recruiting process.

Tom Finn 28:00
Yeah, I think the work you’re doing is is fabulous. I think it’s needed and important in the world today. But we are talking today, and connecting while you’re sitting in what looks like a bar. And there seems to be a bar behind you. For those that are not watching this on video and are listening to our podcast. It is a very elegant bar that Charlotte seems to be sitting in front of where are we talking today?

Charlotte Dales 28:29
We’re in my house and you know, running a startup’s pretty hard. So I need some easy access. Just a pain reliever when I need it. But actually, this room is the only room that has normal lighting in my house, I think I need to invest in some type of lighting situation. Because yes, the bar is probably appropriate for this conversation. But you know, not every sales call should have a bar in the background.

Tom Finn 29:00
So I think it’s brilliant. The Irishman in me loves it. And and it breaks things up a little bit. So if I’m, if I’m an HR, and I’m leading an organization, how do I become an employer of choice? You know, how do I really look at my strategy and say, I want to be an employer of choice. I want every manager to have an advantage in the market at this organization. How would they do that?

Charlotte Dales 29:28
Um, they can get in touch with Inclusively and we can sort of set them up with you know, one, the ability to start to apply accommodations to their jobs, I think and then helping their organization learn about what accommodations are relevant the types of jobs that they’re posting. So not everyone has to learn everything at once. That would never be scalable. But having hiring managers start to understand you know, for these types of interviews and for these types of roles, what really needs to be there? Does it really need to be a panel interview? Or can someone asked requests to do it one on one, some people do great and love to be in front of a group. But that’s, you know, not everyone’s skill set. And so really starting to help the employer, apply some structure around how they can be flexible around things that have traditionally been really rigid processes. And really just opening up that transparency is how you can start to actually build this pipeline of talent that everyone seems to be seeking.

Tom Finn 30:37
Well, you brought up, you brought up a little soft spot for me, I mean, panel interviews, I can’t tell you how much anxiety that used to cause me when I was sad about you, because you are hosting a podcast and I’m very well spoken. Well, I appreciate that. I, that doesn’t mean that the the inner fire isn’t burning. You know, I used to be very much like a duck on top of a lake, my feet were paddling very, very quickly, and I tried to make it look good. But sometimes it’s as simple as people just being nervous, right? They want to say the right thing. They want to do the right thing. And they really are excited about the job panel interviews can be pretty intimidating. I’ve done them as the leader, I’ve had panel interviews, I’ve been a part of them as as the prospective candidate. But I think making accommodations whether it’s a panel interview, and your your example, or or something else that really gives people the opportunity to shine, right is what we’re looking for. Right? We want people to be the best version of themselves on that day. But also that that highlights the best version of themselves that they’re going to be as an employee

Charlotte Dales 31:42
Exactly, I think another often accommodation that people ask for ahead of time is, or to ask for in the interview is to get the questions ahead of time, or at least some type of agenda, you know, often like critical strategic thinkers, like they’re not thinking on the they don’t like to think on the fly. And their best answers don’t come on the fly. But when they have a couple minutes to themselves to look through, they actually probably have, you know, incredibly insightful ideas. So I think there’s just so many things that people don’t realize they’re doing that’s just gating their, their intake to specific people who are good at specific things.

Tom Finn 32:20
Yeah, if you’re really good at panel interviews, then you’re just gonna get people that are really good at panel interviews.

Charlotte Dales 32:25

Tom Finn 32:25
Right. And that’s part of your process

Charlotte Dales 32:27
Politics [laughs].

Tom Finn 32:30
That’s right. Yeah. And that happens also, in these in these large organizations. Okay, so Charlotte, gotta ask you this, you have created an organization that drives inclusion across industries and various employers, you’re measuring these actions? Is there a specific industry or sick segment of the business that really works for inclusively, and some other part does not.

Charlotte Dales 32:58
Um, you know, there’s definitely kind of the high volume, high turnover roles that are really good for us to get started with. So kind of operational customer support, it’s a great way to get started, because there’s a lot of volume, and we can actually solve a need very quickly, which is, you know, constantly looking for talent and loyal talent and to retain that talent. But I would say one of the biggest misconceptions, and, and early on, people started would ask us this is, you know, what kind of roles can people with disabilities do? And, you know, someone with a disability can do any job at any company. It’s just about what do they want to do? What are their skills, etc. And I think that, you know, historically, people have wanted to marginalize people in these boxes at companies. So like, you know, candidates with autism are engineers, and, you know, people with Down syndrome are going to be greeters and bad groceries. And what that really does is just marginalize people into these very few roles, versus figuring out how you can use their talent elsewhere. So, you know, I think that there’s definitely, I think, for us, when when I think about, you know, what makes us most successful or what kinds of jobs or what industry it’s actually has nothing to do with that. It’s the people we’re in interfacing with, at the organization, how much they care how much they understand the strategic value, how much support they feel like they have, and that ultimately drives a successful partnership with us, which ultimately means placements of candidates with disabilities. Yeah, that’s that’s amazing and the work you’re doing should not be underestimated. It’s fabulous work but I I think I’m I’m wondering and I know that our listeners are wondering to you, you are a very talented, hard working executive, young female in the business world sort of taking this by storm. What What’s that like?

Charlotte Dales 35:00
Like, what’s it like to be you? That’s already sold a company that’s now working on something so positive? What is it like day to day to be? Charlotte Dales?

Charlotte Dales 35:12
Um, I mean, I feel like I get this question, a good amount, not not a crazy about but I do think that, you know, my first inclination is starting a company as you know is so hard, it’s just honestly the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, it’s also incredibly fulfilling, but it’s hard to say having not been a male how much easier it might be. I do think when it comes to fundraising, there’s like inherent qualities and men that more men seem to have than women. And it makes it much easier to for investors to identify with, like the conviction and the, you know, whereas I feel like, you know, that’s where I really feel like I struggle, I feel like I see, you know, companies that are at my same stage that are, you know, in similar spaces, or, you know, kind of mirror what we’re doing not from a competitive, but just from a pure stage size scale you know, can attract money much faster than I’m able to, and I think that’s ultimately I’ve found a, you know, a quality, maybe that’s just more prevalent in men. But I do, I do have to say, you know, it’s, once you just do it, it’s not, you realize there’s a lot more women around supporting you, then then maybe it appears sometimes on the outside when they talk about the statistics around you to female companies that get funded and the percentages because that makes it feel really daunting and feel like you have to be a needle in a haystack to make change and to get capital, and it’s just, it’s just going to be really hard no matter what, and once you actually jump in, it feels a lot more supportive, in my opinion. You know, there’s definitely things that like to change, there’s definitely things that have happened to me that I feel like, were unfair, but, you know, part of just being an entrepreneur, whether you’re female or male, it’s you just can’t take things personally, and you just keep moving forward.

Tom Finn 37:14
Yeah, you just have to muscle through I mean, for the record, I am not that great at fundraising either. And I’ve, you know, I’ve been a male my whole life. And I gotta tell you, I mean, it is it’s an art form. And, and there is a class of people that are just absolutely fabulous at it, and kudos

Charlotte Dales 37:32
Yeah, it’s amazing to watch, like, I would invest in that.

Tom Finn 37:37
It is absolutely an art form. But I think at its core, you don’t have to be, you know, Superman or Superwoman to raise capital, you have to have a really good idea. And you have to have a really good business plan. And you have to be able to show traction in the market. And once you’re able to do that I think fundraising gets gets a little easier for anybody at all,

Charlotte Dales 38:01
Um, you know, I think the same shifts that we should that we want to see. And that should start to happen. And in the working world, in terms of hiring diverse talent, and getting that different perspective and getting people in who have, you know, different background than everyone else at your company is probably a good thing. I think that the sort of idea around investing as well, people are realizing like investing in founders that didn’t have it easy to get there is is important as well.

Tom Finn 38:34
Well, it shows a certain level of grit and authenticity when you’ve had to go through the trials and tribulations to build it on your own. And I think that’s, that’s critically important. So if I’m out there, I’m listening to you. I’m a head of HR at a fortune 500 company, or I’m a small or medium sized business leader. How would How would somebody get ahold of you and start to work with your organization?

Charlotte Dales 39:00
Um, I would say, LinkedIn, I’ve been, you know, I got off Instagram last year, and I’ve been getting my scrolling fix on LinkedIn. And I am really liking the love. I’m getting on my posts. And I’m checking it all the time. And I love to see all the different companies that are looking at inclusively looking at my profile. So I’d say LinkedIn is probably a good place to find me right now. I’m not wasting my time on on any other platforms at the moment. Besides my my email, I like to like to hear that you’ve given up the gram. I’m not sure how everybody feels about that. But LinkedIn has done a great job in supporting way too much. Is that right? It turned from fun into shopping. Fair enough. I could I could see how that can happen. A lot more.

Tom Finn 39:44
Well, well, look, I think you should be rewarded and commended for the work that you’re doing. You are building economic equality for people with disabilities and everyone deserves to have financial independence and lift up self esteem through their own meaningful career. I, I truly believe in that. And I think you’re innovating, you’re driving revenue, and you are disrupting the status quo. And for that, I’m very, very grateful for you, and the work that you are doing so flawlessly.

Charlotte Dales 40:19
Thank you. This was this is great to be included on here. Well, thanks for joining the show.

Tom Finn 40:25
And we will see you next time and we will see you on LinkedIn.

Charlotte Dales 40:30
All right.

Tom Finn 40:33
I hope you enjoyed this episode of Talent Empowerment. For more information on our show, and today’s guests, head to the show notes or visit talent And as always, don’t forget to subscribe wherever you’re listening, so you never miss an opportunity to empower yourself and your people. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave us a five star review. It really helps the show grow. And a final thank you to our sponsor leg up and their people development program talent insurance. To learn more about how they guarantee retention, employee wellbeing and employee performance through one on one coaching, please visit leg That’s LEGG