The Nashville Business Journal published this profile of Ellen O'Bryant, President of Nashville-based ProLingua. Here are some excerpts:
"Describe your core business: We are a business partner to employers who strive to attract, retain, and grow foreign-born workers."
"How do you market your company and develop customers? Co-owner and CEO Ann Gillespie and I both speak at conferences locally, regionally and nationally to educate companies on the potential costs of language barriers in the workplace and strategies to address them. We began working primarily in Middle Tennessee, but now have clients across the Southeast and are starting to attract national clients."
"How do you try to differentiate yourself from competition? Our 7 Elements process is unique in that it manages risk and improves business performance in measurable ways, such as increased productivity or decreased safety violations. Our results-based approach and our capacity to work with multiple cultures and languages within a workforce leave us little direct competition. Other firms specialize in Hispanic issues, or provide a la carte services such as training, translation or interpretation."
"What is the biggest challenge facing your industry? A challenge for us has been starting not just a new company but a new industry. Especially in Middle Tennessee, the population growth of immigrants and refugees increased so drastically in such a short period of time that many employers were caught off guard and were unaware of possible solutions. We've seen quite a change in the employers' mindset, from refusing to hire people who don't speak English to wanting to become an employer of choice for all workers. The effort to educate employers is an ongoing challenge as the immigrant population continues to grow and change."