Podcast

September 15, 2021

Providing Value: The Importance of Workplace Diversity with Brad Cohen

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Intro

In this episode of the Revenue Café, Breadcrumbs co-founder and CMO Gary Amaral is joined by Brad Cohen, CMO of Aspiritech, to discuss the importance of diversity in the workplace. Aspiritech has been working for 13 years to empower individuals on the autism spectrum to fully reach their potential through meaningful employment combined with social opportunity.

Since the beginning, Brad Cohen has been involved with Aspiritech and has helped the company grow over the last 13 years. With a background of 30 years as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Brad joined Aspiritech 13 years ago to help the company grow its client base by serving on the board of directors and then as Aspiritech’s CMO.

Aspiritech is a non-profit world-class QA testing company that empowers individuals on the autism spectrum to fulfill their potential through meaningful employment combined with social opportunity. Aspiritech provides social programs and employment training for its employees and adults with autism in their local community as part of its mission.

The company was founded in 2008 when Brenda and Moshe Weitzberg dreamed of finding suitable employment for their adult son. He is college-educated, kind, and capable and was having difficulty finding work that suited his unique experience. After researching a company in Denmark that employed adults with autism doing software QR testing, the Weitzbergs had come up with a solution and have grown from a homegrown start-up into 120+ employees in two locations and are continuing to grow to this day. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Individuals in the autism community are often overlooked and put in a box where they can end up with unfit labor-intense positions requiring more social interaction and not suited to recognize and highlight their strengths. Only 15 % of those in the autism spectrum are successfully employed. Aspiritech is looking to make their employees’ lives more fulfilling by providing gainful employment and social programs.
  2. Hiring through diversity programs has increased in the last few years and includes a wide range of diverse suppliers, including women, minorities, and people with disabilities. Aspiritech’s strength is providing value and focussing on building the relationships its employees need, and recognizing their strengths and talents. In Brad’s words: “the raw intelligence, the ability to focus, the ability to see things that others don’t, to find those real edge cases, is really quite extraordinary.”
  3. As a non-profit, Aspiritech’s biggest goal is quality employment for those in the autism spectrum and has kept that its mission across the last decade. As the world changes, the company’s key mission is to continue to grow and expand its employment program.  

Some topics we discussed included

  • The challenges of finding appropriate job placement for autism and how QA testing and software testing were a perfect fit.  
  • The roots of Aspiritech from brainstorming up through the growth 13 years later. 
  • How Aspiritech moved to a revenue business and has now only 7% of total reveune as donations. This money goes towards helping the employees connect through social events and activities for their staff and the local community.
  • The experiences moving from commodity trading to enjoying a career solving the problem of disability employment with Aspiritech.
  • Brad discusses how he’s able to look at the pain points of a company and find how Aspiritech as a firm can fulfill their clients’ needs while focusing on quality. 
  • As companies explore inclusion and diversity programs, Aspiritech finds software developers to use them as a service for QA testing. 
  • Brad discusses how Aspiritech has adapted across the last year to keep its business and mission growing in the face of the pandemic. 
  • Aspiritech’s biggest goal is quality employment for those in the autism spectrum and keeps this their crucial mission to continue growing and employing more of those in the spectrum.  
  • How misunderstanding autism in our world has left them out of diversity initiatives in the past for these kinds of jobs.
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