Investing in people is good for business
Chime Solutions is a diverse supplier for Visa that provides exceptional customer care while helping to transform underserved communities
Challenged with turning around an underperforming call center in Greensboro, North Carolina early in his career, Mark Wilson tried several tactics to motivate and encourage the team. “These folks had never really ventured out of their community,” he said. “One thing we did was open up the doors for them to see a different part of the country.”
He rented three buses, arranged childcare for the employees, who were mostly African American women, and traveled to the corporate office in New Jersey. The exposure was a way for the team to not only see that they were part of something bigger but to feel that they were included and valued — and it worked. “To see the light go on and that people start to have the confidence and the energy to pursue and go to the next level of their careers is just personally gratifying,” said Wilson, now founder and CEO of Chime Solutions, a mission-driven company based just outside of Atlanta that brings customer service jobs to Black communities in the U.S. (rather than outsourcing them to other countries).
Visa has committed to working with small and diverse suppliers like Chime Solutions, which provides inbound customer service for Visa, as an extension of our longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity. “We have a tremendous opportunity to not only recruit diverse talent here in Atlanta, but to collaborate with companies everywhere that represent all facets of the marketplace,” said Michelle Gethers, Visa’s Chief Diversity Officer & Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at a recent diverse supplier event in Atlanta.
Engaging with diverse suppliers has been vital to the Visa business, providing a competitive advantage and helping to reflect our customer base. In fact, 8 million minority-owned companies in the U.S. generate $400 billion in economic output and create or preserve 2.2 million jobs (HBR).
“The fact that Visa has expressed confidence in us as a service provider and committed to a number of jobs that we can provide as a catalyst for our employee success, the domino effect of that is tremendous,” said Wilson. “Now they can care for their families. And our hope is that that will turn into a generational ideal where our employees will be an example for their children to experience the same or greater level of success.”
Wilson grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas and was raised in a housing project before attending college and becoming a two-time entrepreneur. While many people might view growing up in that environment an obstacle to success, Wilson says he actually celebrates it because “it has molded how I think and value and appreciate people. And I've carried that forth into my business.”
“There is so much talent that has been historically overlooked,” he adds. “Twenty percent of African-American households have zero to negative net worth.”1 Underserved communities, in fact, have more than twice the unemployment rate.2 “On another level, it’s a challenge for me to disprove some of the stereotypes associated with marginalized communities. Our folks are extremely talented. We have every customer today in our portfolio that can serve as a reference. And that's because the people who are doing the work are doing it at a level that is satisfactory to our clients.”
Wilson has continued his commitment to supporting this untapped talent pool by establishing Chime call centers in the communities where they live. He launched Chime Solutions six years ago, after selling his first call center business, followed by Chime University, which offers courses to employees on personal development, healthcare, and home ownership with the ultimate mission to foster a people-first culture, entrepreneurial growth mindset, and community-centered involvement.
“We believe that if we can get people to reach their full potential out of work as much as in work, then it's going to be the best for our clients, it's going to be the best for our company, it's going to be best for our employees as individuals.”
Learn more about Visa’s Supplier Diversity.
1 McKinsey & Co Study: The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap