Diversity isn’t a fleeting fad or the most recent workplace trend that a company should aim to implement. Race, gender, sexual orientation, age, education, financial origins, personalities, passions, and so on are all equally relevant in contemporary society.
Diversity is a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Strong factual evidence is being presented to business executives that a diverse workforce has a significant effect on their bottom line. Companies that struggle with diversity or merely pay lip attention to it are penalised with subpar results. Organizations, on the other hand, are not enthusiastic about I & D. Despite years of diversity efforts, the black presence in Fortune 500 firms in the United States has fallen from 2012 to 2020 and remains anaemic at 1%, despite the fact that the black population is 13.4%.
An Indiana native and experienced business leader, Robert Eric Stanley, founded M2N, a black-owned business. Eric’s life experiences as one of the only black males in primarily white areas inspired M2N | Minority Moves Network. Eric’s leadership team is made up of two former classmates from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
To guarantee that the appropriate candidates are offered the correct opportunities, M2N’s data-driven hiring solutions prioritise quality over quantity. MPower, the M2N career platform, facilitates long-term relationships between professionals and business leadership, resulting in a more diverse workforce.
MPower is a vibrant online community that fosters a sense of community and embraces the entire range and intersectionality of diversity.
Stepping Up to Bring Change
Eric’s career began in sales with Northwestern Mutual and then Johnson & Johnson. Since that time, he has held various successful sales roles in companies across industries. He says, “The recognition I remember most fondly was one of the many trips I won as a top sales performer to Hawaii. I took my mom as my guest to show my appreciation for her unwavering love, hard work, and sacrifices she made to expand my opportunities.”
He worked as an enterprise sales leader for a corporate board software firm before founding M2N | Minority Moves Network. He saw fewer than 5 people who looked like him around the corporate board table over his 5 years in that job and hundreds of talks. This event solidified his understanding of the importance of making a concerted effort to link diverse people to business jobs. “Representation at all levels is key to building sustainable and transformational change within the corporate landscape,” Eric explains.
Eric’s turning point came with the assassination of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. He spent the following year gathering data, confirming his hypotheses, interacting with investors, and putting up a viable business strategy. He committed to M2N full-time in the summer of 2021 and began developing the MPower platform. Eric is willing to share. M2N is nearing completion of its Friends & Family round, employs five people, has signed its first statement of work with corporate partners, and the MPower app will be available for beta testing in June 2022.
Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice. M2N redefines the staffing space by building products that celebrate individual diversity and ensure inclusion is the choice companies make. As Eric states, a comprehensive approach is the only way to achieve sustainable change.
- M2N’s career platform, MPower is a members first solution to guide long term connections between professionals and corporate leadership for an inclusive workforce.
- MPower ‘s dynamic online talent community nurtures a shared experience and accommodates the full spectrum and intersectionality of diversity.
- M2N’s proprietary data-driven hiring solutions prioritize quality over quantity to ensure the right candidates are offered the right roles.
- M2N’s Bridge Services support corporate leaders’ strategic plans for transformational change.
The Work at M2N | Minority Moves Network
Eric’s primary task as M2N’s Founder/CEO is to guarantee that his team gets the resources and support they need to succeed. The M2N staff is extremely competent and dedicated to its purpose of fostering diversity in the workplace. Each of them adds a unique set of talents and views to the company, which are critical to its continuing growth and success. Eric also works on forming partnerships with businesses that share M2N’s objectives in order to assist them in developing an inclusive culture with skilled and varied personnel and Bridge Services.
The most important acknowledgment Eric has gotten as the founder of M2N is discovering individuals who share his purpose and want to assist in inspiring change for all of society’s communities. Every day, Eric reminds himself and his team of the following quote by philanthropist, Lynne Twist: “If you are here to help, please leave. If you are here because your liberation is bound up in ours, please stay.” He believes that when the liberation of others aligns with his, it is the most significant recognition, he can receive.
An Efficient Work Balance
“I need to do a better job at finding balance,” says Eric. He goes on to say that building a business from the ground up takes a lot of time and effort. However, he just began to conduct his weekly leadership check-in meeting as a ‘walk and talk.’ Due to the fact that M2N is a remote company, the team spends a lot of time on video calls. So, instead of watching another hour of Zoom, they can all enjoy some fresh air and exercise while still being connected.
Eric motivates the M2N team by reiterating the company’s goal and emphasising the good impact they are having on the communities. “I am intentional about giving every member of the team opportunities to be creative, have agency, and share their ideas,” says Eric.
From the very start, as per Eric, M2N has had a culture guide in place to set the right expectations and hold him, as a leader, accountable. He states, “Our benefits and policies are inclusive and flexible to accommodate different life circumstances, family structures, and individual needs.” As M2N grows, its team members will directly benefit from additional compensation, bonuses, increased company perks, and benefits to support the team’s wellbeing.
Challenges and Success
While having years of experience, Eric still believes that he is just getting started. He feels proud of the work he has done in his previous roles. He asserts, “I am proud of my family and how I have shown up as a father. But my journey towards moving the needle and addressing the systematic barriers for diverse professionals is just beginning.”
Eric thinks that facing problems makes you stronger and that conquering them allows you to develop superhero abilities. As a black male in primarily white surroundings, he has learned to overcome institutional hurdles by utilising his situational awareness, self-reflection, and high energy.
Eric made it a point to cultivate a strong network of mentors, sponsors, and friends to assist him on his path. And he constantly asks, “How Can I Help You?” at the end of every conversation, knowing that by working together, any hurdle can be surmounted.
One of the major problems he has experienced as a black founder, and one that he hears from others, is the lack of access to financial investment. As a career sales professional, Eric understands that every ‘no’ leads to a ‘yes,’ and this mindset has been important in his ability to gather the required cash to launch M2N. However, with underrepresented entrepreneurs, the structural impediments that exist in the workforce are exacerbated.
He asserts, “Success is a strong word, because it will take time to achieve what we have set out to do with M2N. I will benchmark success by how much meaningful progress we can make in removing systemic barriers for underrepresented communities.” Eric is confident that M2N will be the disruptor needed to make a real difference.
A Vision to Create Opportunities
Eric wants to use M2N’s MPower app to create a significant impact network for a variety of professionals. He will give the firm’s MPower members access to a comprehensive collection of services and experiences tailored to their unique living experiences.
Eric aims to help corporate leaders accomplish transformative change and establish an inclusive workforce by cultivating long-term connections built on trust and psychological safety. He shares, “I would like to encourage aspiring business leaders to allow themselves to be vulnerable to create meaningful connections with their team members and customers.”
In the end, Eric wishes to contribute to a collective effort where his children, along every other child, truly has true access to opportunity and are confident in the value they bring to the world.