MindStand Technologies is a Baltimore-based startup working to build inclusive online communities within companies. Baltimore Tracks is a coalition of local tech companies seeking to create a more diverse tech workforce.
So it makes sense that the two could work together as they seek to make impact in the business community, and now they are.
This collaboration comes by way of MindStand CEO Michael Ogunsanya, who is joining the steering committee of Baltimore Tracks. He plans to bring MindStand’s knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion— and possibly its technology — to the organization’s leadership group.
The steering committee acts as Baltimore Tracks’ executive board and the leadership team behind the organization, which has grown to include over 40 member organizations since its birth in 2020. The local growth companies and startups that formed the coalition came together around a set of commitments aimed at inclusive hiring and culture practices, including sharing candidates, removing degree requirements from job postings and paying interns.
MindStand is joining the steering committee at the time of a pivotal transition with the return of in-person events.
“[From] September this year, all the way into next year is going to be focused on getting that recommitment from the coalition members,” said Ogunsanya. “We’re super excited to provide some educational content and bring together some heavy hitters in the Baltimore HR space to create a ‘how to’ guide for DEI policy.”
The organization’s first-in person event will be a happy hour on August 10 at Alma Cocina Latina in Station North. The 5-7 p.m. gathering is a kickoff meeting for new and interested members. Although it’s exciting to finally have like-minded people in a physical space, there’s still the reality of how well a virtual community will translate to IRL events.
Going forward, Ogunsanya intends to lead seminars for Baltimore Tracks members about what it means to be inclusive and create equitable workplace policies. Being on the steering committee allows Ogunsanya to spearhead events for Baltimore Tracks that he feels will be impactful for the coalition members.
It comes as MindStand is making technology developments of its own. The company, which was founded by a team of three technologists that met as undergrads at UMBC, is also gearing up to fully launch its artificial intelligence engine in August. The technology is designed to help companies root out harassment, hate speech and emotional distress in its online communication channels and communities. It’s a locally-built tool that could help local companies.
“I’m really excited to be a part of Baltimore Tracks,” said Ogunsanya. “It’s a great opportunity to provide content. We’ll eventually have a free tier of Mindstand towards the end of this year that we’d love to provide to Baltimore Tracks members.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.