I still remember the moments when my parents sent me back to a strict teacher to “straighten me up” after my common entrance exam.

Sallyann Della Casa, Founder GLEAC

Why? My parents thought that I would definitely fail. To their utter surprise opposite happened. I ended up getting into the finest school in the country.

With this incident, the 9-year-old me developed a feeling that I am not smart enough for anything. I then spent about 20 years of my life trying to prove that I am smart. Just to prove this I accumulated 5 degrees and all kinds of ornaments of intelligence.

But boy!! I was wrong. Degrees were nowhere reflection of my creativity or my intellect. My real strength lies in how I make people feel good about themselves or how I connect with them in a matter of seconds or how well I simplify the most complicated matters and teach it back in a way one would never expect. But I learned this the hard way.

My strengths, not my degrees qualify me to be a teacher. I own this fact and I can tangibly measure it when I am asked to autograph copybooks after I am done teaching a class because I set students hearts and minds on fire with possibilities 🙂 Here is a video of my becoming me.

Fast forward to today, some 30 years later….I filed my patent on GLEAC and became one of only 4% of sole inventors who are females. Enough about me!!

So what is GLEAC you may ask?

GLEAC is a tool that dynamically benchmarks and maps soft skills. The tool then identifies the gaps in soft skills one may have for a particular job. It evaluates an individual on a series of parameters like critical thinking, creativity, mindfulness, etc. (think of it as a simulation game that monitors your soft skill performance in a real time job and suggests possible improvments).

Over time as you identify and build those skills, the tool gives you a chance to prove to employers that you have the necessary to succeed in the job. In short, it’s “see-through” and employers can see how you act in job-specific situations over time, giving them assurance of your success in their organization.

But I believe that my concept was a bit ahead of time. We had very little traction for the first 18 months. I believe sometimes users take time to realize a better way to fulfill their needs, especially if they are so used to of existing solution.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses

Henry Ford

Well, it’s been kinda the same road with GLEAC. Initially, it was difficult to make people understand that there is a way to measure your “soft skills” and there is also a way to fill that requirement gap. But the focus was too much on hard skills and soft skills took a side spot.

What is so special about GLEAC? Lets watch this video to understand

Then Covid hit and the entire world has now gone to a skills-based model for education and the workforce. Even the White House.

President Donald J. Trump is transforming the Federal hiring process to replace one-size-fits-all, degree-based hiring with skills-based hiring.

Whitehouse.gov

As a result, we are finally riding a wave with some of the biggest players in the market. We have now clients and partners such as the Monster job portal with 60 Mn+ users, Accenture Augmented Reality Division, Prada USA, etc.

I have to tell you that I almost cried when I got feedback from the PRADA US team on what Gleac did for them during Covid. Their sales in the same period also increased by 34% on a YoY basis.

When we started this journey, we had no idea all of the unprecedented events that would be coming our way. In a time of uncertainty, you and the GLEAC team were a constant, always present, and ready to help.  In addition to the positive trends in behavior we saw throughout the course, your positive energy and light gave our participants and our team much needed good vibes! We are so happy to see our team’s resilience, they have come back from these tough times even stronger and we want to acknowledge that GLEAC was a huge player in helping us overcome these tough times. Thanks to all of the soft skills exercised in the GLEAC pilot, our teams were better equipped to adapt and take on unprecedented situations.

Feedback from Prada US

Want to test your soft skills? Click here to do analysis.

GLEAC and I made strategic mistakes but we learnt together

It has not been easy to bring GLEAC to life. Here is a list of mistakes I made. I am sharing so that many others can avoid them.

  1. Hiring strategies should always take local culture in mind. Hiring a tech team in India without a lead Product Manager and Tech Manager was a strategic mistake as there was no one to lead and guide them.
  2. Speak investor’s language if you are looking to raise funds. I being an honest person would mention to investors openly about my thoughts of GLEAC being acquired by a large tech company like IBM or Microsoft in the future. Investors don’t like to hear that apparently…they want you to say you are going to be the next Byjus;-)
  3. Launch the product and don’t wait for it to be perfect. As it never will be. If you are attached to your idea, you would want it to be perfect and hence would like to delay the launch. Don’t procrastinate. Just do it. Have I just said a brand’s tagline? :p

But did these mistakes deter us to succeed? Hell No!! We hit just under $500k in revenues this year with global clients in the pipeline. I personally gave a demo in the last few months to large technology giants like IBM, Salesforce, Walmart, Linkedin, and the list goes on. I may not close all these deals but they all heard of GLEAC and invited me to their table.

And the thing I am most proud of is our insane focus on great customer experience. I just sent out this weekend a love letter to our mentors. We over-deliver and create raving fans.

Our high-quality mentors give real-time feedback on our platform to users on how they would apply the same skill set differently in the same situation.  And yes we even have a Nobel Peace Prize Winner on board 🙂 So see you on the platform soon !! Ciao!!

Interested in reading more such exciting stories of entrepreneurs. Check out our Startup Strategies Section.

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Shikhar Goel
Author

A passionate writer and a business enthusiast having 6 years of industry experience in a variety of industries and functions. I just love telling stories and share my learning. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Let's chat...

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