Debbie Holzkamp is an ed-tech entrepreneur with a vision. She’s passionate about helping people find new careers by becoming professional sales consultants through virtual learning. Holzkamp is CEO and founder of the Virtanza web-enabled sales training and certification program. She spoke at the annual ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego in April.
ASSURE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FUTURE
This huge conference is the education-technology – “ed-tech” — industry catalyst for amping up conversation and action to increase learning and career outcomes through scaled innovation.
Women entrepreneurs like Holzkamp made up more than a third of presenters at the Summit. She was featured in a panel that was part of Pearson’s Nevertheless series: Celebrating Women Transforming Teaching & Learning Through Technology.
“Like Pearson and everyone else at ASU+GSV, our mission at Virtanza is to help people make progress in their lives through learning,” said Holzkamp. “Learning opens doors to opportunity. Learning makes it possible for people to have income security, raise healthy families, and make positive contributions to their communities.”
Pearson is an international learning company and investor in ed-tech ventures. It offers educational courseware and assessment and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. With more than 30,000 employees across 70 countries, Pearson seeks innovative ways to make education possible for more people around the world.
The ASU+GSV Summit started in 2010 with a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley (GSV), a family of connected businesses focused on three mutually supportive disciplines: Investments, Strategic Services, and Media.
EMPLOYERS WILL DO WELL TO SHIFT THEIR MINDSETS
In the panel discussion, Holzkamp shared Virtanza’s goal of reaching people in underserved groups. These are folks who are left behind due to geography, lack of educational opportunity, disability or other circumstances. For instance, “We advocate for those who have a high school diploma, who should not be overlooked. Technology makes this possible,” she said.
Holzkamp noted the challenge of changing the mindset of employers who often state inflexible requirements for just about any job. Employers depend on automated applicant tracking systems to screen applicants. This means that talented but “non-traditional” candidates – those who don’t check every single box – are left out. Virtanza personalizes and streamlines the selection process by reaching out directly to employers to introduce them to Virtanza’s sales-certified, qualified graduates.
Another Virtanza initiative, under development now, is a beta program to bring the sales training and certification program to the legally blind.
Author Ibby Vores, SHRM-SCP, is part of the supportive team of instructors at Virtanza. She’s a senior certified HR professional recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. Ibby teaches resume writing and cover letter skills. She also coaches Virtanza graduates on interpersonal effectiveness for successful job interviews.