Dear Mr. Scharf, I’ve read various articles on your statement about diverse talent pipelines. I’m sure by now you’ve come to understand why your statement ruffled the feathers of many. Instead of adding to the plethora of voices that have expressed disdain for your statement, I seek to present a solution to the problem you described.
Last year, I joined a group of business leaders organized by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to attend Leadership Study Mission in Austin, TX. The goal of our trip was to understand how Austin’s intentionality around building a technology ecosystem led to great success. A good friend of mine, Joshua Mundy, was apart of the group. He and I discussed how remarkable it was to see a city set a goal and accomplish in grand fashion. Despite everything we saw in Austin, the lack of diversity in the technology sector was blatantly apparent. Josh, being the visionary entrepreneur he is, vowed to return to Nashville and focus on building a pipeline of technology talent that was highly inclusive from a diversity perspective. Later in the year, he and Quawn Clark, an entrepreneur and software developer, launched Pivot Technology School.
Pivot focuses on creating a pipeline of diverse talent that is trained in the skills needed in today’s technology industry. The target audience is minority professionals seeking to shift into tech-specific roles. Students in the Pivot program engage in 20-week intensive courses in either web development or data analytics. Soon, Pivot will launch a cyber security track. Because of its virtual learning platform, Pivot currently has students enrolled in various geographic regions. The goal is very simple. Pivot seeks to create a pipeline of diverse talent that can fill the growing workforce needs of the global technology industry. Just as the city of Austin intentionally rose to prominence as the Silicon Valley of the South, Pivot is intentionally focused on being the premier academic institution for experienced, diverse technology talent.
Mr. Scharf, intentionality is everything. As CEO of a global banking institution, I’m certain this is something you understand. Although there may be much truth in your statement on diversity, I want you to know that there are organizations working on the issue that could benefit from intentional partnerships with Wells Fargo. Yes, it may be challenging to access diverse talent, specifically in regard to technology roles. Trust me, I get it. I worked as an engineer at IBM in Austin and at other companies. I was often the sole Black engineer on my team. If you’re looking to help solve the perceived pipeline issue, consider a partnership with Pivot Technology School. Hire students from the Pivot Tech program. Make a financial contribution to support minorities seeking to enroll in a course at Pivot to elevate their income. Lastly, tell your other CEO friends about Pivot and encourage them to get involved. I’m glad your statement has made the headlines. Now let’s get to work on intentionally solving the pipeline issue you addressed.
Isaac Addae is a first-generation Ghanaian American, business professor & change agent dedicated to shifting the trajectory of individuals, communities & organizations. He is dedicated to applying his life and career insights to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals through fostering purpose-driven cultures that embrace diversity, inclusion, and entrepreneurial thinking.