Jake’s Take: Advancing human potential

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Put our talent to work

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of the documentary “STEP.” A quick synopsis if you haven’t seen it yet: STEP is the inspirational story about three young women at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. All are members of the school’s elite Lethal Ladies step team. The film follows these young women as they navigate their senior year against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Freddy Gray unrest here in Baltimore.

Watching this story unfold hit me on a much deeper level than I expected. I was seeing the manifestation of what we are trying to do with Catalyte: advance human potential.

Beyond the film’s storyline of step team competitions, college applications and trying to overcome the obstacles of growing up disadvantaged in Baltimore, it’s a confirmation of what’s possible when aptitude is given the opportunity to flourish. It shows that talent can be found anywhere and everywhere. We just have to have the courage to look.

Catalyte CEO Jacob Hsu and BLSYW Principal Chevonne Hall in the lobby of the Charles Theatre before screening of the STEP documentary
Catalyte CEO Jacob Hsu and BLSYW Principal Chevonne Hall

I don’t think I could have scripted a more applicable scenario that demonstrates what Catalyte has known and practiced for 17 years; that talent is even distributed across populations, but traditional methods of talent discovery render large groups invisible.

What STEP shows is that, when we have the will to overlook social circumstances (income, race, gender, ethnicity, formal education), we can find a better and more diverse talent pool ready to develop the software that will power the digital revolution.

In the year I’ve been at Catalyte, I’ve seen the difference this mindset can make. I’ve seen how a diverse team can find solutions that a homogeneous one might overlook. I’ve seen our new Catalytes begin to unlock their potential through our cycle training program. And, most importantly, I’ve seen our clients reap the benefits of better and more innovative software outcomes.

I’ll leave you with three thoughts. First, go see STEP. But when you do, bring tissues as there will be a few tears, of both joy and sadness.

Second, listen to our interview with the principal of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. It’s a moving discussion that dives deeper into the film’s themes of community, perseverance, mentoring, importance of education and technology and how unleash the potential inside every person.

Lastly, think about what you can do in your personal and professional lives to create the opportunities that allow all our neighbors to fulfill their potential. What can you do to find and polish those “diamonds in the rough?” Not only will doing so create a better society, but it will also help you create a better and more innovative company workforce.

– Jacob Hsu, CEO

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