Street perfume sales guy turned data and analytics finance nerd and now Founder and CEO of Steppingblocks.
Throughout my career, I developed an affinity for data science and data analytics. This field I had never really heard of during my college years. Like most students after graduation, I struggled to find job opportunities related to my major. I took jobs in retail, bartending, and street perfume selling while trying to get a foot in the door in the financial industry. I finally landed a job as a teller, where my professional career started. Once there, I found a formula to climb the corporate ladder into a career that I chose.
Because of this career path, I became obsessed with helping students connect college degrees to careers sooner, without unnecessary and irrelevant detours. So, I decided to build a platform that provides everyone with data transparency and availability that levels the playing field for everyone.
Steppingblocks. We provide data-driven organizations PI (People Intelligence) to segment, visualize, and access current data and predictive analytics in the U.S. workforce.
It started with a drawing.
While climbing the corporate ladder, I realized I was making repetitive and systematic steps to get ahead, but I was doing it on my own and very manually. So my formula for career growth was simple:
Using this method, I went from a teller to an executive in data and analytics within the financial industry.
I began to think about how I could scale the method for career progression in any discipline using my expertise in data analytics. I drew a picture of a website that would allow me to search for any job or major, and it would tell me what people did with that major or how they got to their current position. Understanding that data is not everything, the website would also provide advice and insightful content from real-life individuals who have followed the desired path.
Three things: They are great people (personally), they are passionate about helping people and our mission, and everyone is extremely good at what they do.
If I had never started, probably the same thing I was doing before and continuing the ruthless climb of the corporate ladder. If I were not building or creating something, I would probably be traveling the world looking for the best place to open a beach bar shack.
We measure success by the overall progression of the company, such as the quality of our products, clients growth, retention rates, user engagement metrics, customer satisfaction, and team satisfaction.
We also look at our impact by identifying use cases and success stories from our client's perspective. The number of successes our clients share with the world is highly correlated with the number of referrals and increases in lead generation.
The impact that we have been able to make on people's lives!
Referral and word-of-mouth marketing through high-caliber university networks has propelled Steppingblocks into the strategic plans of public and private institutions nationwide. As a result, we've earned the trust of the most innovative institutions in the country and deliver cross-campus solutions with relative ease. I'm proud of our ability to produce quality tech and build relationships and credibility with an adamant crowd.
I’m excited about the number of options that have become available to work with big data architectures.
When I started, one of my biggest blockers was analyzing billions of data points and providing insights in real-time within milliseconds. The machine learning capabilities at scale are now more available than ever with the exemplary architecture and talent.
I’m worried about the misuse of AI and ML. While ML and AI have become more accessible, I worry many people will create unreliable data platforms without the proper data quality and standards necessary for accurate decision-making.
Our Chief Data Scientist recommended the HackerNoon platform to me, and he's easily the most intelligent guy I know.
I would have advised myself to learn object-oriented programming, work on my communication skills, and use the Steppingblocks method for career planning — so that I didn't have to work at a Wendy's while having a finance degree :)
The importance of community building. Our business has transformed since we started to provide value to the community and allow the community to participate in our conversations. Building a community from your partners, users and advocates provide you with direct feedback, improvement opportunities, referrals, and ultimately growth.
Vote for Steppingblocks for Startup of the Year, Atlanta