Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NC Trend: Sibling entrepreneurship

A brother and sister show passion for helping minority candidates enter jobs with a grasp of what lies ahead.

Once job seekers understand the nuts and bolts of their potential new roles, thoughts invariably turn to some broader issues: Is the workplace an inclusive environment? Are women treated differently than male counterparts? Are there people in leadership roles who look like me?

To answer some of these questions, N.C. natives and siblings Toby Egbuna, 26, and Dumebi Egbuna, 24, founded Dyversifi, a career-insight platform for minorities. Both believed their experiences as Black children of first-generation immigrants working in corporate America could help others and create a successful business. For now, it’s a side venture; Toby works for technology-services company Accenture in North Carolina, while Dumebi is at IBM and based in Chicago.

“Dyversifi’s mission is to help minorities find companies and careers that they love,” Toby says. “We gather career experiences from diverse employees and make them available to diverse job seekers so they can make more informed career decisions.”

While platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed pull the curtain back on how a company’s management or culture operates, Dyversifi is focusing exclusively on minority candidates.

Here’s how the platform works: Users create a “portrait” containing demographic information, such as gender identity, race, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status and age. Then the user answers career-centric questions, such as their work experience and industry interests.
Once a portrait is created, users can view stories developed by other people and companies, which should help lead to better matches.

Since they started developing the business in September 2019, the Egbunas have collected more than 1,440 stories in their system. About 545 members and 91 companies are represented on the site, including their own employers, EY and other major enterprises.
Commercetools, a German cloud-computing company with a Durham office, is Dyversifi’s initial client and is using the platform to help recruit workers and promote its brand.

The siblings were born in Winston-Salem, the children of Nigerian immigrants. Both are graduates of West Forsyth High School and have undergraduate business degrees, Dumebi from Emory University in 2018 and Toby from UNC Chapel Hill in 2016. Both played basketball for their respective universities.

Dyversifi’s goal is to offer a genuine look into life for a minority worker. Unfortunately, there’s a deep disconnect over what is really happening. About half of Black human resources professionals believe discrimination based on race or ethnicity exists in their workplace, versus only 13% of white HR executives, according to a study earlier this year by the Society for Human Resource Management.

“My hope is that Dyversifi is a catalyst for change,” says Dumebi, who says she’s spent much of her life in college and business as the only Black woman in the room. “I think a lot of companies have a habit of doing a blanket diversity initiative, and I am hoping Dyversifi is a platform that can help them have a targeted initiative.”

While providing career insight for potential employees, the platform also can serve to showcase companies that are effectively supporting their minority workers while holding others accountable for areas needing improvement.

“We realized there is really no way to know what it’s like to be a woman, or a Black woman, or any other minority group at a company unless you can talk to somebody who works there directly,” Toby says. ■

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