By: Lisa Fernandez, Vice President of Global Talent and People Operations
At Tala, we believe the world is better when everyone gets to participate. This week, we put that vision into action in a new way. We partnered with students from Los Fresnos United High School through SuitUp, a nonprofit focused on strengthening student career readiness in underserved communities through innovative corporate engagements. As Talazens, we coached students through a business challenge, we were able to share our career journeys, highlight what’s possible, and encourage students to explore their own passions.
We challenged teams of high school students to create a new feature that promotes the “human factor” and brings awareness to our brand. Talazens volunteered as coaches to the SuitUp students as they built a product launch with a focus on strategy, brand, and marketing. The students then presented their ideas to a panel of judges – Tala’s senior executive leadership team – and, although difficult, they selected a winner.
The winning team pitched transforming Tala’s customer experience to focus on the personal goal that brought the customer to Tala in the first place with customized, goal-oriented guidance and topical, community-driven content. In the words of one judge, “I don’t know why this idea hasn’t been pitched internally yet!”
According to a report from Columbia University, SuitUp increases student self-perception and motivation, and 92% of those surveyed said they “believe their SuitUp competition and coaches have helped them feel more confident in school.” Witnessing the students bring their business pitches to life attests to that statistic — these students were strategic with their ideas, confident in their presentations, and willing to step outside their comfort zone. As one student shared, “This is all very new! But it’s a good new!”
This week was an incredible experience to collaborate with the next generation. We got to coach students to think big and gained valuable lessons ourselves. We’re grateful to SuitUp and our student CEOs for joining us to build a world where everyone can participate — we’ll all be better for it.