Landit, a personalized “playbook” that helps women grow their careers, grew from a place of uncertainty and transition. Or, as Lisa Skeete Tatum, co-founder of Landit puts it, “an inflection point.”
In mathematical terms, an inflection point means a change of direction at a particular point on a curve. For Tatum, it meant a change in her own personal career and uncertainty about what was going to happen next. After working at Proctor & Gamble, at a startup and as a venture capitalist for a decade, Tatum in 2012 was ready for something different. But, like so many people in mid-career, she wasn’t quite sure how to match her experience with her passions.
The answer for her was to launch Landit, a certified B Corp that in two years has helped guide people in 157 countries and all 50 states make their next moves after they’ve hit their own career inflection points.
The Citizen spoke with Tatum on the phone to see what’s new for Landit and to gear up for Wednesday’s Citizen Speaks: Business for Good event, where she’ll join Jay Coen Gilbert, founder of B Lab & former CEO of AND1; Emmet Dennis, Chief Community Officer of Sundial Brands; and La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael for a discussion about increasing access and promoting economic fairness for all.
JB: What is the goal of Landit?
LST: Our goal is to create a personalized playbook for each person seeking to move their career forward. We started out by looking at the millions of us—myself included—who find themselves at an inflection point. That could mean “I’m in a great company and we’re just trying to figure out how to more successfully navigate within it” or it could be “I’m somewhere feeling stuck and I’m not sure how to get out of it.” Ultimately, we want to democratize career success for everyone.
JB: Where did the inspiration for Landit come from?
LST: The motivation was myself. I’m a chemical engineer by training; I worked at Proctor and Gamble, where I started out in my career. I then joined a startup and caught the bug; that’s how I got into venture capital. I went back to business school at Harvard and did early stage investing. But then I wanted to know what was next for me, and I realized that it’s very challenging to figure out what that next step is even when you have people who are pulling for you. I thought, If this was hard for me, and I had lots of support and access, it must be so overwhelming for others without the same access.
Keep your eye on the prize and keep yourself open in order to reach your goal.
About the time I was going through my inflection point, I was accepted as a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute, which is for people who are looking for the next phase in how they’re going to change the world. You have to have a project that you think is going to do that. Landit was my project and then my project was me. I asked, how do you create a scalable personalized platform that unlocks the talent of people everywhere? I realized that I could create something that impacted the lives of people around the globe. This is my life’s work and it’s a privilege to be able to touch people’s lives in the way that we do.
JB: Why does Landit focus on business success for women?
LST: We don’t develop tools for women; we develop tools for success. We focus on women because that’s where we’re having a crisis. That’s where you don’t see progression or retention or development. You cannot have half of the population disenfranchised in the workplace. When you think about it, women or people of color represent the largest underutilized resource that a company or organization has at their disposal.
Companies are looking for a turnkey way to invest in the retention and development of progression. “Diversity and inclusion” is no longer a nice to have it’s a must have, and so in this environment we give companies a way to invest.
After working with individuals and companies, we find that engagement goes up, mobility increases, retention numbers increase and individual empowerment increases. We’re in an environment of the self service career. The company is no longer responsible for your success; the individual is. We’re about giving people what they need and giving companies a very easy turnkey way to not only make the investment in their talent but measure that success, as well.
JB: How does Landit work?
LST: When we say you’re getting a playbook we literally help you forward one step at a time. If you go back to that premise of I don’t know where to start, we’ll have that action planned for you in learning more about you and how to move you forward.
You will, for instance, be able to work on your personal brand; that accounts for 30 percent of your success and most of us don’t even know the rules. We’ve defined those rules so you can close that gap. We tell people if they’re at a certain level at their organization and there’s someone above them with less skills or less points on the board, that gap is a brand gap.
We help you develop your personal board of advisors. Most people think it’s all about a mentor; it’s not, it’s about having five different types of advisors. We give you access to world class coaches. We bring that to you earlier on in your career so you can navigate more successfully. Think of it almost as like a virtual concierge. We’re giving you all the access within reach.
This is a really important distinction: Where other initiatives have gone wrong is they focus just on intake, numbers. Great companies will always be able to hire great people. That’s not the issue. The issue is, Do they thrive when they get there? So we’re about staying with someone— because who’s going to have just one inflection point? This is where you go to manage your career now and in the future.
There are 10,080 minutes in a week; we want people to take 5 minutes for themselves to move forward. That’s literally the investment, it’s snackable; it’s bite sized.
We’re going for world domination. We want to touch as many lives around the globe as possible. We’re on a mission to give everyone an equal shot at success.
JB: You talked about your goal to really impact people and their careers. How do you do that and have a sustainable business at the same time?
LST: We are mission driven, but part of being able to scale and touch as many lives as possible means you have to build a business that is scalable and sustainable. Because ultimately, what gets measured gets done. That’s why metrics are so important, both qualitative and quantitative. When you unlock the talent of someone in the workplace, not only do they have personal success, the organization does better, the people they work with do better, it raises the tide for everyone. For me, the very nature of what we do is about having impact. We do it in a way that’s sustainable and in a way that we partner with the individual and company. It’s one and the same.
JB: Sounds like it takes a good amount of work to strike that balance and do it well. What are some of the challenges Landit faces?
LST: We are an early stage company. When you have as massive of an opportunity as we have, you have to hyper-prioritize, and that means there are really important things you just won’t get done. You have to focus, and as an entrepreneur trying to change the world, you have to disrupt yourself almost on a daily basis. That’s our mindset, which is why we are constantly evolving.
JB: I like the idea of “disrupting yourself” daily. What’s next for Landit?
LST: We’re going for world domination. We want to touch as many lives around the globe as possible. We’re on a mission to give everyone an equal shot at success, and that means partnering with world class companies and organizations. That’s the whole reason why we’re a B Corp; we very much believe in those mission driven successes and changing the world. We want to do our best to deliver the most impactful and long lasting platform to help people reach their goals.
JB: Your passion and energy is clear, sounds like you’re really doing what you love. What’s your favorite part about your job?
Oh my gosh, so much. I am so moved, and I’m not joking, when people reach out and tell us their stories. It’s always so heartfelt. People will say: “I didn’t see the possibilities and now I can” or “I was able to go and navigate my career on my terms.” We hear about this on a regular basis and that is the best part. To know that what we’re doing is impacting people now, right now. I love it.
JB: That’s pretty inspiring. What kind of advice would you give budding entrepreneurs in search of their next move?
LST: I said it before, but I will say it again. The vision of where you want to go doesn’t change. My vision for Landit doesn’t change, but you have to be willing to adapt and to learn and to listen because your path and your journey to get there will change and turn. Keep your eye on the prize and keep yourself open in order to reach your goal.Photo By David Kelly Crow