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Making companies inclusive — a leader’s give-back mission

June 27, 2022

Born in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Leizer Pereira, despite being a minority (black and with a consolidated career in the area of Telecommunications Engineering) felt the need to help not only young black, disabled, and LGBTQI+ people, but to help companies hire and include these people in the labor market. 

Passionate about education and with a deep desire to “give back” (to society), he began to seek out organizations that were willing to make a difference in people’s lives. It was then that, in August 2014, he started volunteering as a math teacher at Educafro – an NGO that prepares poor young people, especially blacks, to access higher education, either via public or private university with scholarships.

In 2015, Coca-Cola contacted the NGO because it wanted support in recruiting young black people for its trainee program and also to deepen awareness about the racial issue. “I immediately thought, if Coca-Cola in 2015 still doesn’t quite know how to include young black people in its trainee program, it’s a sign that no company knows, and that all will need support from specialized consulting to develop their diversity & inclusion programs. This was the first business insight. The second insight was that young people in general, especially those from minority groups, including blacks, do not feel prepared for a career or selection process. The solution we created for this premise was based on an online platform for career education, preparation for selection processes, access to job openings, and connection with companies”, he says.

So, in 2016, Leizer founded Empodera – an inclusive business building platform that offers consultance, policy review, recruitment and leadership mentoring. Thousands of young people have already been registered and hired.

“You should practice diversity and inclusion not for strategy, but for it being the right and fair thing to do. If these are your values, the message will be authentic to employees and clients, and the results will be harvested.”

The full conversation with Leizer Pereira is available to watch (or listen to) on BR Talks, the WIN World Newsroom interview series. Every two weeks, a new name shows what Brazilian leaders have to inspire and share with the world (click here for the complete episode).