We had the good fortune of connecting with Allie Danziger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In the early part of the pandemic, I was spending so much time talking to young professionals that had lost their jobs or internships or were deciding whether or not to return to college now that it was remote. I kept encouraging them to do something valuable with the time and tried connecting these young professionals with business owners for internships. Unfortunately, the businesses all weren’t interested in hiring these early professionals because of bad internship experiences they had in the past. I immediately saw a need in the job market: businesses struggling to find quality entry-level candidates –and on the other side of the equation — young professionals feeling lost without the skills they needed to excel. I knew I had a decade of experience training entry-level professionals at my company, Integrate, and always knew that my main motivator was seeing my employees succeed. So, I decided to set out to bridge the divide. I created Ampersand with the idea that we could be that intermediary that accelerates the careers of young professionals and adds value to the businesses that invest in entry-level talent.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ampersand is an internship and entry-level training and recruiting platform that upskills young professionals and prepares them for day #1 of their new jobs. Our training gets amazing feedback from our young professionals – what really sets us apart is our custom built training, teaching the skills lacking from education to bridge the education-to-employment skills gap, specifically designed for today’s young professionals. Our 12+ hours of content are catered towards Gen Z audiences with videos that are under 3 minutes and we aren’t talking down to these young professionals but relating to their struggles and stressors. We’ve seen other workforce training programs fall short of fully preparing candidates for modern office/hybrid/remote jobs and we keep our training updated with the latest concerns impacting today’s workforce, and where employers need support in training and onboarding.
Our solution doesn’t end once they’ve completed our courses; we don’t just hand them a certificate and claim they’re “ready” for the workforce but rather take that next step to actually connect those eager, driven, and prepared young professionals with paid opportunities.
As the professionals go through our training program – learning highly sought after skills through our 13 asynchronous courses– our platform is creating an employee profile that goes beyond their experience but really assess their skills, interest, coachability, professionalism, and more and actually matches these candidates with jobs where they’re most likely to succeed. When working direct with an employer who has used the platform to upskill their new hires, they also gain access to this detailed information on each employee.
Additionally, we provide mentoring and coaching throughout their Ampersand internship. Every day there are opportunities for the new hires to connect with our coaches and continue growing their skills throughout the internship and work with the businesses to ensure it was a great match. If the employer feels their intern needs more coaching, we step in and provide that additional support.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Perfect day: early morning run at Memorial Park, mimosas and brunch at Tiny Boxwoods, visit a few museums, lunch at Pho Saigon, early evening hot yoga class, and dinner at my latest favorite: Trattoria Sofia. And in my younger years, that would end with drinks at Anvil, but we’ll see these days!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Mark C. Winters, Gino Wickman. This book changed my professional life and my marriage. Being a visionary, I can come up with ideas all day but if you don’t have the other side of the coin – if you don’t have someone that can put your ideas into place and prioritize and know how to get teams to execute those ideas then you don’t have a successful business. Shoutout to my cofounder Kat for being our integrator to my visionary to make all this possible. And also my husband, Eric, for being my integrator in our family life.