For small businesses, developing a strategic plan based on data and insights can be a challenge given limited resources and time. So imagine being a small business owner and having four teams of diverse performance management professionals competing to develop high-impact, profit-building solutions for your company.
Nielsen’s Diverse Leadership Network (DLN), our leadership development program for high-performing associates with diverse backgrounds, together with Nielsen’s Supplier Diversity team, had 48 hours to do just that for Paragon Language Services during a recent case study competition. Paragon is a Los Angeles-based, woman-owned firm that provides translation, localization, interpreting, multicultural marketing and cultural consulting services to its clients. The company won the opportunity to participate in this competition through an application available to diverse businesses registered in our Supplier Diversity portal.
On the day of the competition, Paragon President, Marina Mintz, briefed the broader group on the challenges facing her company. Thirty-two DLN participants split into four cross-functional teams that represented the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the DLN. Each team was given two days to complete a unique, thoughtful and creative solution-driven plan designed to help Paragon grow and innovate.
DLN teams worked well into the evening to bring compelling recommendations to Mintz. Each team presented solutions that showcased the wide breadth of expertise and creativity of Nielsen associates. While there was only one winning team, Mintz said the solutions presented by all four teams were helpful and she plans to incorporate them soon. In the end, the winning team presented actionable and cost-effective strategies for customer acquisition, lead retention and a future business model designed to help Paragon adapt to increasing pressure from low-cost online translation services.
“The presentations I heard from the Nielsen teams demonstrated the creativity and business acumen of their diverse talent,” said Mintz. “Each solution offered Paragon an entirely unique perspective on how best to meet our needs, which is not necessarily what one would expect from associates at the same company.”
“The competition gave Nielsen associates real insight to the challenges faced by diverse-owned businesses, and Paragon was able to implement the DLN participants’ solutions almost immediately,” said Matthew Hanzlik, Program Manager, Diverse Leadership Network. “Collaboration between our leadership development program and Supplier Diversity helped our DLN participants connect the dots between the diverse skills, experiences and talents they have and their ability to turn those into insights to benefit diverse businesses.”
This collaboration between DLN and Supplier Diversity, now in its second year, represents a direct connection between the tremendous talent of our diverse associates and the diverse businesses that our Supplier Diversity team has worked tirelessly to mentor and help grow.
“Mentoring diverse businesses to facilitate growth enables these businesses to create jobs in diverse communities,” said Lamont Robinson, Vice President, Supplier Diversity. “Through this competition, we’ve connected skilled Nielsen associates in the DLN to the real-life challenges faced by diverse business owners. Our hope is that, after participating in this competition, DLN students become advocates for Supplier Diversity as they graduate and become Nielsen leaders.”
Mintz felt this experience should be shared with her fellow small business owners.
“This case study competition has planted a lot of seeds for Paragon, and I would encourage other diverse business owners to take advantage of the opportunity to work with Nielsen.”
Learn more about about DLN and other Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
As part of Nielsen’s commitment to diversity, we value the nationwide relationships we’ve cultivated at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). On the campuses of the Atlanta University Center (a group of four HBCUs in Atlanta), an annual case study competition has helped us showcase for students how we use data and insights to provide our clients with solutions to some of marketers’ biggest challenges, as well as a day in the life of a Nielsen employee. In our second annual competition, four ladies from Spelman College (an all-female HBCU) took home first place.
While the Nielsen AUC recruiting team has gained momentum over the last few years, the team decided host its first case study competition in 2015 to encourage sharp students to consider Nielsen for internships and full-time positions. During this year’s event, student teams used Nielsen data to make a decision about whether a fictitious international food manufacturing company should begin to market and sell its products in the U.S. Student teams also had the opportunity to network with the Nielsen panel of judges, Rick Kassing, client director, Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president, global communications & multicultural marketing, and Jaceta Decuir, client manager.
“Nielsen is an academy employer particularly for students and recent graduates of color, and programs like our AUC recruiting efforts help promote the Nielsen experience to students who may not be as familiar with our brand,” said McCaskill. “Because of Nielsen’s reputation for being an award-winning workplace for Millennials, women and diverse associates and because the AUC and HBCUs in general boast some of the best and brightest talent in the world, the program is mutually beneficial for students and for Nielsen.”
The AUC recruiting team serves as an initial touchpoint with Nielsen for students at these schools as they begin their careers. In partnership with the university recruitment efforts by Nielsen’s talent acquisition team, the AUC team performs various on-site recruiting activities, including interviews, informational sessions and workshops designed to inform students of the various opportunities available to them at the company. The case study competition allows students to interact directly with Nielsen data and senior leaders, which helps them gain a deeper understanding of our measurement capabilities and see Nielsen as an option as they start to look at professional destinations.
Thanks in large part to Nielsen’s African-American employee resource group, SABLE (sustaining active Black leadership and empowerment), the AUC recruiting team has continued to thrive and increase its presence on HBCU campuses. SABLE has a strong presence in Nielsen’s Atlanta office, and the AUC recruiting team has leveraged SABLE’s generous support to assist in interviewing, event activation and other recruiting projects. The collaboration of Atlanta SABLE members has also allowed our recruiting team to expand their recruiting efforts to a wider range of recruiting events like Morehouse College’s Marketing Conclave, an annual networking and skills development conference for undergraduate students. The partnership between ERG and university recruiting exemplifies Nielsen’s collaborative values and shows students all over the country how committed Nielsen is to promoting diversity and inclusion.
“At Nielsen, diversity and inclusion is not measured by whether we meet quotas,” said Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer and AUC recruiting champion. “Our goal is to infuse diversity and inclusion into the DNA of the company. By spending time on campus, sharing Nielsen data and insights, creating engaging interactions such as the case competition, we hope potential candidates will get a glimpse of our inclusive work environment and want to learn more. We succeed when these talented diverse students see Nielsen as an attractive option as they take the first step in their careers.”
Pictured above: 2016 AUC Case Study Competition winning team from Spelman College.