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Every opportunity matters when building a diverse workplace

Subtitle:
Korryn Williamson knows opportunity changes lives — and that’s why she works to make sure everyone has their moment
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 10:52am
By:
Merritt Melancon
Image:
Korryn Williamson speaks to Terry College ILA crowd

Staffing agency Insight Global has a guiding value that drew Korryn Williamson to take an entry-level job with the company: Everyone matters.

Five years later, as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Insight Global, Williamson is responsible for putting that value at the center of what the company does.

“Many people deserve the opportunity to get their foot in the door, but are often overlooked or discounted for various reasons, many of which are beyond their control,” she said. “Having serendipitously ended up at a staffing company that serves Dell, Polycom and SAP, I realized that we had the responsibility to help close that opportunity divide.”

Williamson, now based in Atlanta, shared her journey from San José State University student to recruiter, saleswoman, and DEI champion talking to Terry College of Business students on Nov. 2 as part of the UGA Institute for Leadership Advancement’s Diversity and Inclusion Lecture Series.

Korryn Williamson
Korryn Williamson, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Insight Global, spoke as part of the  UGA Institute for Leadership Advancement Diversity and Inclusion Lecture Series.

Williamson studied public relations and communications in college and told students she chose a position with Insight Global because she recognized she had opportunities to grow into more substantial roles. She also recognized the company, which helps companies land talent from entry-level to C-suite, was dedicated to helping others grow.

“Hard work and high character are everything,” Williamson said. “Anyone willing to do the work deserves to be noticed and provided with career opportunities .”

Williamson described how her father, who grew up in a household of 15 extended family members, lived below the poverty line and had early problems with the criminal justice system but was able to get an entry-level job at Federal Express. From there, he built a career in information technology and cloud architecture which helped her grow up in a middle-class household and attend college.

Growing up, she knew the power of first opportunities and wanted to make sure others had a shot at success. As a young recruiter, she saw inequities in the types of candidates interviewed and hired at her client companies. Insight Global’s culture allowed her to voice those issues with her managers and hiring managers at client companies. That’s made all the difference.

She urged students to look for companies where the corporate culture matched their values.

“I think the main thing is making sure the company culture is there,” Williamson said.

“Think about what your personal values are, what’s important to you, and make sure you’re aligned — make sure those are super important (to the company) and aligned with who you want to be as a person.”

Today, as director of DEI at Insight Global, she guides the infrastructure to keep opportunity at the heart of the company’s mission. That applies to mentoring Insight Global team members to help them reach their next promotion and working with client companies to support diverse workforces.

“Something we do as a part of our consulting practice is educating hiring managers,” Williamson said. “These are leaders at Fortune 500 companies because we’re the second largest staffing company in North America. We’re bringing the Apples, the Googles and Microsofts of the world together and working with them to see how we can work toward economic mobility for all of us.”

She also helped launch Insight Global’s Be the Light Tour — a mobile career readiness event bringing career development to underserved communities and helps job seekers prepare résumés, polish their online networking skills and prepare for interviews.

It’s not where she expected to be when she graduated in 2018, she said, but it was possible because she was mindful of her core beliefs and took the right chances.

“I always say do it and do it scared,” Williamson said. “If something scares you a little bit, that’s probably a  good opportunity. If you feel complacent and comfortable, you’re not going to grow. Pressure makes diamonds, so it’s important to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone — whether that’s moving to a new city or interviewing at places you never thought you were interested in. Just keep an open mind, find the things that scare you a little bit and go for them.”

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