Jennifer Tardy: Growing Diversity in Workplaces

“I teach job seekers how to find the careers they were meant for and experienced recruiters how to create vibrantly diverse work environments.”

– Jennifer Tardy

Inspiring Women in HR Tech


Jenn Tardy, Founder, and CEO of Jennifer Tardy Consulting is a recruiting thought leader, diversity practitioner, and career success coach a brand in herself. She has dedicated herself to the mission of promoting diversity through coaching and working with companies to design a hiring process that provides an equal opportunity for candidates of diverse sexual orientation, gender, race, and other minority groups. She enables employers to find, attract, engage, and hire more job seekers from historically underrepresented backgrounds through her company, Jennifer Tardy Consulting. Jenn also hosts a popular podcast called ‘But What About Me?’

About Jennifer Tardy Consulting (JTC)

JTC is an internationally known, award-winning training and consulting firm specializing in diversity recruiting and retention.  Jenn founded her consulting company in 2017 after realizing underrepresented groups were often being overlooked in the workplace for career advancement. The company is headquartered in Maryland, with a team all over the globe: In the US – FL, GA, MI, NC and globally, UK, Spain, India, and Italy. 

Sharing her experience with diversity, Jenn says: “Humans are hardwired to make quick decisions, shaped largely by unconscious biases, which ultimately influence the way they perceive reality. The way we were brought up, how we socialize, and the media feed into our bias and decision-making process that ultimately form our judgments. This also extends to workplace hiring, where unconscious racism, sexism, and ageism can give rise to problems that extend beyond just recruiting the wrong person for the job. Most importantly, it can cause a lack of diversity and hinder overall productivity.” 

Jenn is passionate about creating a space where innovative diversity, inclusion, and equity are the pillars that support job seekers in their career planning and recruiters (and employers) in creating a talent pipeline for their organizations. The company’s mission is to forge successful career opportunities at the intersection of employers and underrepresented job seekers and build bridges to make hiring easier and more accessible for everyone. “At JTC, we believe deeply in increasing diversity without inflicting emotional harm on current employees, future employees, and even clients–especially those from historically underrepresented communities,” she shares. 

Jenn stays closely connected with her clients, setting up meetings to ensure that the clients and JTC are aligned in their goals. “One thing that I’ve learned is that your clients can never lead you wrong.” The company endeavors to normalize diversity recruiting and to make representation go viral so that all workplaces get to realize the benefit of Lived Experience Intelligence– which is the central value that diversity brings–through our lives–to our work,” says Jenn.

Driven by empathy for the experiences of job seekers and employers and a passion for increasing diversity, JCT is committed to excellence in research and implementation and fostering intellectual curiosity through lifelong learning. 

JCT’s next venture is to build technology around its consulting model. They aim to help organizations fully realize their potential to increase diversity and value Lived Experience Intelligence. (Lived Experience Intelligence (LEI) is the set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that develops out of life events and occurrences in which one has been engaged, ultimately enhancing insight and perspective).

Jennifer Tardy: Growing Diversity in Workplaces
Jennifer Tardy

Jenn’s Journey

Jenn is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration. She has received several certifications in Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion including her Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR), Certified Diversity Practitioner (CDP), and Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). She is also a Certified DiSC Instructor

When she was in her senior year in High School that she realized that she was “different.”  She shares, “In an advanced Biology class, I was the only black student. I didn’t even understand, at that time, why I felt so out of place.” The experience of being separate from the mainstream increased when she attended VA Tech to study Business Management.  “As part of the tiny 4% of people of color (out of 26,000 students), I began to understand what it meant to experience culture shock. My eyes opened, for the first time, to inequities in education background and preparedness.” In her early jobs- as a corporate trainer in Virginia followed by an HR position with the railroad industry in Norfolk- she encountered prejudice in the workplace.  Her experiences paved the way for her work in diversity. 

Jennifer gained vast industry experience as a Recruiting Thought Leader, Diversity Practitioner, and Career Success Coach with over 14 years of experience in the field of human resources and recruiting. She has recruited in the tech, healthcare, education, railroad, plumbing supplies, and professional services industries.

Jenn’s #CareerSuccess coaching programs for job seekers and #HiringSuccess diversity training programs for recruiters, further promote her mission. She is an official partner of LinkedIn and The Society for Diversity where she serves as a career coach to its members.

Jennifer is also co-owner of Proving What’s Possible, LLC (PWP), headquartered in Altavista, VA. PWP is a Mental Health Counseling organization that provides mental health skill-building services to help individuals cope with mental illness and achieve community stability and independence.

In 2013, she published a book, Letters to My Girlfriends: 365 Days of Pure Inspiration and in February 2022, Jennifer Tardy Consulting published the LEQ – Lived Experience Intelligence Report. 

On the personal front, Jennifer resides in Maryland with her two boys, Austin and Aiden.

Leadership Style

Jenn describes herself as a “servant Leader”. “I like to share my vision with the team and give them the space to build the vision.  She believes that if one enters interactions with others believing that their intention was positive, no matter the outcome.” Entering interactions in this manner helps to communicate better and thinking about one’s intention before, during, and after acting is a true game changer.

“I also have a mindset of “how can I?” versus “I can’t” and I work hard to instill that mindset into those around me…I live with an attitude that with the right kind and amount of support, the sky is truly the limit for what we can do and accomplish.”

Jenn believes that growing as a leader means continuous learning. “Years ago, I would read generic business and personal development books. Today, I read specialty books about specific aspects of marketing or sales, or customer relationship books. I also go to conferences that focus on these topics,” she shares

Women in Workplaces

“I am always thinking about how we can close the gap in access to opportunity. Not just access focused on getting into an organization, but also access to promotions. As a matter of fact, a recent McKinsey study found that only 87 women for every 100 men are promoted from entry-level to managers’ positions.”

As a woman, Jenn has learned that finding and using her voice is important for her work as well as to inspire and encourage other women who are trying to find and use their voices. “Not everyone will invite you to have a seat at the table, so learning to navigate your way into the room and to the table is a key leadership skill necessary for women, especially women of color,” she states.

As a woman leader, she has brought a unique perceptive to the workplace by infusing two impactful ideas into the diversity recruiting industry.  The first is creating a model that allows JTC to work with organizations to increase diversity without harm. The Second is to promote Lived Experience Intelligence with employers to empower employees to opt into using their LEI and for leaders to tap into it. 

Luck or Hard Work?

Like the Roman philosopher Seneca, Jenn feels that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.  She states, “Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare for the wonderful opportunities that we are benefactors to today. I cannot, however, deny the synchronicity and alignment of people, places, and resources that I never expected, but have experienced along the way, especially with how wonderfully engaged and committed our Increase Diversity community remains. It feels like more than luck. It feels like a blessing.”

"At JTC, we believe deeply in increasing diversity without inflicting emotional harm on current employees, future employees, and even clients–especially those from historically underrepresented communities."

Overcoming Challenges

“I often struggle with what I consider the “adulting” side of the business.” This includes learning about taxes to stay ahead, implementing information security to protect their data, and updating herself with business financials and business strategy so that this business remains sustainable and continues to grow.”   Jenn loves being creative and developing new solutions for clients. However, she shares, “My struggle tends to be my personal resistance to adulting in my business, but I do it and once I set the intention to dive all the way in, I also celebrate the success once I’ve truly learned or mastered the topic.”

Awards Galore!

JTC, and Jenn personally, have notched up several awards in the past few years, which include the 2021 Top Coach Award Winner; 2020 Top 20 YouTube Career Channel; 2020 LinkedIn Top Voices Award Winner; 2020 James W. Rouse Diversity Award Winner; 2023 Top 15 LinkedIn Experts in Washington D.C. Award Winner; 2022 Walk the Walk Award Top 100 DEIB Leaders; 2021 Tech Inclusion Conference DEI Champion; 2021 Tech Inclusion Conference DEI Champion

Jenn’s Legacy

“We believe deeply in giving back to the community which is why we are in the process of rebranding our work with job seekers to include more philanthropic support with the same level of quality support that they have already received from JT,” shares Jenn.

Sharing her vision for the future and the impact she seeks to have, she says, “Next in my life will be teaching others with similar lived experiences as me what it means to bet on yourself. I hope my legacy is one that teaches others what is possible when you combine faith with action. Too often people say that they have faith, but the real flex is what you do when it is time to take the actual faith walk. I want to inspire people all over the world to take their own faith walk.”

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