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Walker Sands Helps Emerging Solution Decrease Hiring Bias

Nykia Tanniehill

Sometimes, the only thing standing between promising talent and the opportunity of a lifetime is access. This realization led CEO Stella Ashaolu to establish WeSolv, a technical solution that connects diverse MBA students with job opportunities. Founded in 2016, the Chicago-based startup has created a performance-data-driven platform that bridges the gap between companies with real business challenges and MBA candidates who are ready to solve them.

WeSolv is serving more than 1,700 candidates across 60 MBA programs with the help of strategic partners like Microsoft, Salesforce, Cisco, Discover and more. Since its founding, the company has used technology to provide non-traditional candidates with greater access to meaningful careers while helping companies open up their talent pipeline. So, when Walker Sands learned of Ashaolu’s desire to boost brand awareness on a local and national scale, offering pro bono support was a no-brainer.

“Sheila had really identified this huge lack of tools for people to not only get the education they need, but to build their resumes in the same way others do,” said Caroline Hoffman, Media Relations Specialist. “We’ve been conditioned to start so young — to build up internships and participate in extracurriculars in order to make us ‘suitable’ for a corporate role —but a lot of people don’t have those opportunities. They have the skills, the smarts and the grit for these roles, but they get stuck without that access.”

Caroline, Meg Dedyne and Liza Massingberd teamed up to lead a three-month media outreach initiative on WeSolv’s behalf. By leveraging relationships with Chicago reporters and positioning Ashaolu as a thought leader before national outlets, the team surpassed their placement goals. Highlights include opportunities with Fast Company and Harvard Business Journal, along with a robust top-tier feature in Forbes. The trio also paved the way for Ashaolu to forge relationships with area reporters at WGN and Chicago Tribune. Walker Sands credits much of that success to the appeal of WeSolv’s mission.

“WeSolv’s mission is essential to the industry as a whole,” said Meg, Senior Media Relations Specialist. “The platform doesn’t help companies figure out ‘where to find diverse talent.’ WeSolv is committed to connecting the right people with the right companies, fostering retention and debunking the myth that there’s a deficit of strong diversity talent out there. Sheila was able to communicate that to media in a powerful way.”

Beyond generating brand buzz, the team discovered unique opportunities to share the value of PR and Walker Sands’ signature approach to client service.

“A company like WeSolv is just so valuable to the Chicagoland community; it’s a true testament to who we take on as pro bono clients,” Meg continued. “WeSolv’s mission is closely aligned with what we want to embody here at the agency. When you’re touching something that makes such a big impact on the broader industry and the world around you, it just motivates you to continue delivering great work.”

To learn more about WeSolv or Walker Sands’ pro bono efforts, visit www.wesolv.com or www.walkersands.com/walker-sands-pro-bono/.