I met Yulkendy and Josuel while serving as a mentor for Smarter in the City, a high tech accelerator run out of the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. They subsequently joined our 2018 Majira Project Cohort. Our program matches post-accelerator companies serving underserved communities with pro bono consultants from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), while we (Msaada Partners) provide business coaching and mentoring in series and parallel with the approximately 16-week BCG engagement. Majira is Swahili for summer, so in a nod to the growing season, we help these entrepreneurs and companies grow. Yulkendy and Josuel are both millennials who are wise beyond their years, and I wish that I could bottle their energy. That said, they are both open to constructive feedback and work well together as a team. It has been wonderful to watch Forefront grow as it "helps companies accelerate culture change and develop 21st Century talent that is equipped to meet the demands of the future of work".
I am the ED of the Hampton Roads Accelerator, 757 Accelerate. Forefront has been in residence with us since August. Josuel Plasencia has shown an eagerness to learn and progress in every topic we discuss each week. He is a personable presenter and is quick to become a friend to everyone in the office. Forefront is in the process of changing the business model to a virtual, course-based platform rather than in-person seminars. After proper development of the platform and a business plan focused on the near term low-hanging fruit, I believe their platform is entering the market at a perfect time. With the current national climate leaning towards inclusion, an easily integrated platform to introduce all cultural norms to new hires seems extremely desirable to any medium to large organization. I recommend Forefront to any accelerator lucky to have them. Let me know if you would like any more information.
I believe in what Forefront is building. I strongly identify with the problem Forefront is solving. I believe their DEIS (diversity, equity & inclusion solution) will address the $14 billion dollars that companies pay each year due to attrition of their inclusive workforce. More than all of this, I believe in the team that is building Forefront. I've known Yulkendy and Josuel for several years and have truly appreciated their service to Black and Latinx college students pursuing careers at tech companies via OHUB.SXSW and beyond. Bet on these founders.
Forefront is a powerful force for exploring DE&I and cultural competence to create more inclusive workplaces and to help organizations move forward to tap into the broadest cross-section of talent, to keep them engaged, and to provide the space for them to flourish. I have been fortunate enough to work with Yulkendy Valdez as a Resolution Fellow and with Josuel Plasencia and the team as well, and continue to be blown away by their passion, their leadership, their skill, and their ability to create powerful learning spaces through technology and people.
Forefront is changing the game to help workplaces become more diverse. Forefront is led by a very talented founding team. The CEO Yulkendy Valdez was selected for the prestigious national Future Founders Fellowship, recognized as one of the top young entrepreneurs in the country. She continues to prove herself to be a powerful force, focused on making an impact to to improve work culture and environment for people everywhere.