Hiring is tough, but there is a way to win: access a broader talent pool. Our team can help you find exceptional hires that do not surface through traditional methods. At the same time, we are connecting women to jobs and community.
Boulo educates businesses on the value that mothers bring to a team and shares how offering flexibility to employees can attract top talent without sacrificing company goals.
This episode of High Velocity Radio features a discussion between host Lee Kantor and Boulo’s Delphine Carter. Listen in or read below (edited) to learn more about:
Table of contents
Promo: Broadcasting live from the Business Radio Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Lee Kantor: Lee Kantor here. Another episode of High Velocity Radio, and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show, we have Delphine Carter with Boulo Solutions. Welcome.
Delphine Carter: Thanks for having me, Lee.
Careers and Motherhood
Lee Kantor: I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about Boulo. How are you serving folks?
Delphine Carter: Boulo connects women, mostly moms, to companies that value a woman’s influence in the workplace, prioritize diversity, and promote a flexible work culture above all else.
Lee Kantor: How did you come up with this idea? How did it come about?
Delphine Carter: It’s like a lot of solutions out there. It is a pain point for me specifically. I am a mom of two, and I’ve always been incredibly career-focused. There were times when my kids were younger that I was driving around on two wheels. I was that person that cut out in front of you, trying to get to where I needed to go so quickly that I felt like I was going crazy, trying to succeed at a full-time job and be the mom I thought I should be. I thought, there’s just got to be a different way.
At the same time, I would be at the ball field with my kids and meet moms who were trying really hard to get back into the workforce. They had amazing skills that I knew I needed, where I worked, but I couldn’t access them (the moms). And my thought was, this is insane. We should be able to have flexible job opportunities.
These incredible women aren’t surfacing for jobs on LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter, or any of these other sites because their resumes have some gaps or look slightly different. So (I thought), let me just try and hack this together. I reached out to my network of peers that own businesses and were looking to hire people. I said, “I’ve got these great moms. Will you just interview them? They’ve got the soft skills that will help you move forward. And I think you’ll really value this time with them.”
So, they’d interview them and decide to hire them. And that’s how the business was born. It was based on a lot of Excel spreadsheets and asking people for favors.
Impact of Covid on Women and Work
Lee Kantor: Now, did the pandemic have a silver lining in that it forced so many people to go remote? Where people are working at home with their kids, and it is no longer considered a hindrance? It’s now just a way of doing business. Was that kind of an unintended consequence (of the pandemic) that helped you launch?
Delphine Carter: We launched about a year before Covid. As sad as it is, we were doing better before the pandemic because almost 2 million women had to step out of the workforce during Covid due to childcare responsibilities and life responsibilities. A new study from the National Law Center released an analysis showing it would take 28 months of job gains to get women back to where they need to be in the workforce.
The great thing for our businesses is, yes, if you’re a woman who’s struggling to find childcare because 40% of daycares closed, and now there are waitlists for childcare that are 18 months long, I can match you to a flexible job. That’s great. But we need more moms to feel comfortable getting back into work, knowing their children are in a safe place.
Types of Roles
Lee Kantor: Is the work that you help women get full-time positions? Are they contract jobs? Are they a combination?
Delphine Carter: All of the above. We expanded into full-time during Covid. Because we met so many women that were working full time and said, “I can’t do this. I need something that allows me a little bit more flexibility.”
Flexibility isn’t just remote; hours can be flexible. Your culture can be flexible. So we shifted to include full-time. Now we do primarily full-time placements, but we also do part-time and contract.
Two-Sided Marketplace & A Positive Side Effect of Covid
Lee Kantor: In any marketplace that exists, it’s like the chicken and the egg. You have to have the people. You have to have the jobs. How do you manage that?
Delphine Carter: You summarize my daily struggle nicely. We’re a two-sided marketplace. We’ve got to grow the number of women in our membership. Then we also have to make sure that we have job opportunities for them when they come to us, and make sure that they keep coming. It’s a daily balance of trying to work our messaging, tweak our messaging, to draw more people in (to our service).
I will say that Covid helped in the sense that many companies are focusing heavily on diversity. They peeked their heads up and were like, “uh-oh, we’re all men.” They’ve reached out to us to say, “We need some of the skills that we know women can bring to the table.”
Studies have shown that 89% of American workers think that working moms in leadership positions bring out the best in their employees. These studies are now being broadcast. So businesses are saying, “yep, I’m coming to you to find those women.” The more jobs we have, the more we can post, and the more women come in. It’s almost like a flywheel.
Our Sweet Spot in Serving Businesses and Finding Women Jobs
Lee Kantor: Now, do you have a specialty? Do you focus on certain niches? Or are you industry-agnostic?
Delphine Carter: We are industry agnostic. You always talk about your buyer persona. Our buyer persona is a company on the smaller side. They typically have less than 100 employees. Those companies tend to be in the software sector.
We’ve got a great ability to help tech companies that just received funding, for example, are close to it or are looking to hire a jump team. But we also work with a lot of professional services businesses that need extra support. So, our niche is small businesses, seeking somebody to help with financial support, administrative, project management, marketing, sales, and customer success.
Lee Kantor: Now, as part of your culture, you don’t look at the people you’re placing as clients or employees. You’re looking at them as members. Why use the word member?
Delphine Carter: We wanted Boulo to be a place that felt inclusive, where members feel like they are part of a community. When someone joins Boulo, I want them to feel like they have a champion.
A good part of what we do is helping women understand how to talk about themselves. So, if they took some time off, they weren’t just mothers. They contributed to their community through leadership and influence and in so many other ways that translate into skills that a business will want.
We are their advocate; we also guide them and teach them how to speak about themselves. And so, they are members, part of one big community. We’re over 1700 strong at this point and growing every day.
Member (and Company!) Success Story
Lee Kantor: Do you have an example you can share? Maybe how a client was struggling, searching for talent or the right talent, and you were able to come in and help them get what they needed and take them to a new level that they didn’t even think possible?
Delphine Carter: Actually, we just got notice that one of our women just got promoted to director level. She came to us as a mom who had stepped out of the workforce to focus on raising her kids, but she had stayed active in the community and had excellent skills.
But she didn’t really believe in herself. Some studies show that after 11 months on maternity leave, women lose confidence in their capabilities. And so we said, “You know what, you’ve got all the soft skills to apply for this customer success role at a local technology company.” She’s said, “No, no, no, I’ve never done anything like that. It’s tech. I’m not a tech person.” And we said, “no, try it.”
We spoke to the business. The business had interviewed a number of people on their own. They’d gone on all the typical job boards couldn’t find the right person. We got our candidate and the business together, and it just has been a match in heaven. She has steadily risen through the ranks. She set up their entire customer support system; technology has never been a barrier.
And so, this woman has become a crucial part of their management team. We constantly hear from them about the value she provides. And they come back for more talent from us, for more of our members. The average client that we have fills at least two roles with us. We’re proud of that; it just shows what our mothers are capable of doing.
Don’t Count Yourself Out – Negative Self-Selection
Lee Kantor: Now, here at Business Radio X, we work on several women-oriented shows that serve the women’s business community. Something that I hear over and over is that a lot of women self-select out of work roles. And that example that you just shared, the instinct was to self-select out. But you helped encourage your member to go for it.
How much of that kind of coaching is part of this membership? Is there a community where there are those opportunities to encourage and maybe alleviate some of their fear? To help a woman take that step and go boldly forward?
Delphine Carter: We do have people that reach out to us as they are filling out their application and say, “I don’t have the right words to use. I don’t know what words to use to show that I’m valuable.” But a lot of what we hear, even before that, is during the onboarding process itself.
To become a Boulo member, it takes about 20 minutes to fill out our application. Our process is not like other platforms, for instance, when you go on LinkedIn and fill out a bunch of dates and some bullet points. Our onboarding has members describing how they exhibit leadership, how they demonstrate influence. There are five key traits that businesses like to see and value, and our process explores those traits.
And so, when they are filling this application out, it gives potential members the time for introspection. What is it they want to do? What do they feel confident about and enjoy doing? Because that’s one of the things we ask: what fills you up?
But our next goal on the platform is to do coach matching. Say we have somebody whose goal is to become a Google Analytics expert or a Salesforce expert. We want to help them find the training needed through our partnerships and match them to the coach who can help them become that expert.
How to Connect
Lee Kantor: Now, any advice for the companies out there that haven’t used you but should? Is there an easy way to start a relationship with Boulo?
Delphine Carter: Yes! It’s super easy to go to our website. It’s stagingboulo.wpengine.com. Go to our website and fill out a three, four-question form. It’s not asking a whole lot. We’ll reach out and make sure that we can help you. We will explain why we think we’re the perfect company to connect you to committed and loyal team members.
It’s a simple process. We commit to having you resumes within the first week after talking to you for your typical roles. If you want a C+ developer with 25 years of experience, that will be a different persona, of course.
But we’ve got a database that we can pull talent from quickly. We vet the candidates for you. You’re not spending your precious time as a business owner or business leader, going through unqualified resumes. We thoroughly vet everyone and make sure they’re a culture fit and skills fit. Then we send them your way.
The Rewarding Adventure
Lee Kantor: So now for you. What’s the most rewarding part of this adventure you’re on?
Delphine Carter: It’s hearing the women’s stories. It’s why I built it. It’s hearing women say, “I feel like I’ve got a part of myself back that I thought I’d lost. Before this job, I looked in the mirror wasn’t sure who I was.” So, it’s hearing the women’s stories of the self-confidence that they get from being back into the workforce.
And then also, it’s rewarding every time a business comes back to hire another person or post another job with us. It makes me happy that they are seeing the value of these women. It’s just seeing the full circle.
Lee Kantor: Now, one more time, the website.
Delphine Carter: stagingboulo.wpengine.com
Lee Kantor: Well, congratulations on all the success! You’re doing important work, and we appreciate you.
Delphine Carter: Well, thank you for that. I appreciate the community that’s supporting us.
Lee Kantor: All right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see y’all next time on High Velocity Radio.
High Velocity Radio (businessradiox.com) supports local business leaders by broadcasting the important work they’re doing to serve their market, their community, and their profession. Business Radio X/High Velocity Radio supports and celebrates business by sharing positive business stories that are often ignored. Visit their website to keep up with the latest pro-business news.