Consult Lemonade is bridging the diversity gap in tech industries

08/28/2023| Maggie Whitescarver

Consult Lemonade is bridging the diversity gap in tech industries

08/28/2023 | Maggie Whitescarver

In today’s ever-growing business climate, a basic understanding of tech has become a necessity for any job. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same access to technology training or education, resulting in a tech divide. That’s why Consult Lemonade  has created a business to bridge that gap.

Consult Lemonade is a management and technology resource firm located in Columbia, MD that specializes in the development and employment of underrepresented talent. The nonprofit was founded in 2021 by Tierra Lathan, a systems engineer who saw firsthand the wealth, community, and workplace gaps that span across a variety of tech industries.

At Consult Lemonade, bridging the gap starts with understanding what industries, government entities, and communities need to create the best training and preparation for workers. The organization assists people of all backgrounds and experience levels, drawing on its own diverse team’s skill sets.

“We believe in trust and transparency, having a willingness to adjust if something needs to change, and meeting people where they are,” said Lathan. “Those core values make designing approaches on offering services a lot easier.”

Consult Lemonade Tech Summit event

Consult Lemonade offers opportunities for skill enhancements and career advancements where people can continue to develop their tech knowledge and experience, and helps individuals earn cloud certifications through the organization’s partnership with Amazon Web Services. Furthermore, mentorships are available for individuals transitioning from employment to entrepreneurship.

The firm is committed to a three-pronged approach of “engage, empower, and employ.” Engagement comes through outreach and events that offer hands-on activities and expert advice on what the tech industry has to offer. Once people get a taste of what understanding technology can do for their careers, the candidates are assisted by Consult Lemonade’s team in finding the right internships and job opportunities to further their growth.

Between ongoing engagement like their Sweet and Sour Tech Talk on Instagram Live every third Tuesday of the month, and more extensive events, exposure is a key part of learning something new. Last month, the organization put on its Lemonade and Life-Skills Tech Summit, which was a huge success. The 100 attendees took part in activities such as learning how to rack and stack for data center roles, as well as disassembling and interacting with servers and their components to better understand the technology.

Many of the attendees entered the event feeling stuck in their careers, but through these activities and informational discussions, they left feeling empowered to achieve their dreams. In addition to the knowledge, training, and connections, Consult Lemonade offers its clients the gift of hope which they feel most grateful to give. Lathan said that in a recent meeting, team members expressed they “feel like they got to distribute ‘golden tickets’ to show people a world of possibilities.” The Consult Lemonade team feels honored to play a foundational role in leading candidates down a new path or further down the one they are already pursuing.

Girl holding a sign.

One success story Lathan shared was of a young woman without a college degree working as a waitress and possessing the capability and aptitude to further her career. “She received coaching and participated in our career prep workshops, which are customized to help people achieve their target career goals by translating current skill sets using relevant language and strategies,” Lathan explained. “In less than four months she was hired by a Future 100 company, making six-figures, and she still attends our events today and is a huge advocate of our work.”

The organization has received plenty of positive feedback from people they have helped. More than 50 individuals have been assisted with pivoting into the tech industry and 277 candidates are currently in the organization's database. Since last month’s event, the organization has four candidates who are currently in the hiring process. Consult Lemonade has engaged with over 800 people through its virtual and in-person events, projecting to reach 1,000 people by the end of the year with its upcoming events, like Tech Talk and Movie Night for the whole family on September 24th or the “Resume Worthshop” on September 26th.

Understanding technology continues to be a huge asset in any career. And as Lathan explains, “It’s not about loving tech, it’s about leveraging it. So when life hands you lemons, you can Consult Lemonade.”

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