Buffalo Startup Week 2021 Buffalo Startup Week 2021
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Building a Scalable Talent Strategy for Startups

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Melanie DellaPietra
Nextcorps, Program Coordinator, Embark Program

The first 15 years of Melanie’s professional career were spent supporting small, local technology companies and a large, global corporation across all aspects of HR.  In 2018, she took the leap to start her own business – a people-centered HR consultancy. During the past 2.5 years, Melanie has worked across multiple industries including Market Research, Managed Services, Construction and the Arts and while the variety has been interesting, her heart and passion lies in tech.    

She has recently come full circle, returning to the tech industry as Program Coordinator for the new Embark Program and incubation services at NextCorps.  Melanie now fulfills her WHY of maximizing the potential in people, organizations and the community by combining her experience as an HR professional and a business Founder to support local start-ups on their journey.

 As Co-Founder of DisruptHR ROC, Melanie strives to inspire new ways of addressing persistent challenges in organizations and the community. Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management from St. John Fisher College, a Change Leadership certificate from eCornell and is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Practitioner.

Justin Johnson
Operations Executive

Justin holds an MBA from the University of Rochester and was the first person in his family to graduate college. His most recent role was as the Vice President of Operations for a capital equipment company just outside of Atlanta, GA. In previous roles, he has led the successful creation of an inside sales team, led the flourishing turnaround of an aftermarket division, and led the customer service organization within a telecom start-up that went from $10M to over $100M in four years. 

 People are at the center of any strategy that Justin develops, whether it's a turnaround situation or a start up. Justin is passionate about recruiting and retaining top talent as the key to unlocking an organization's true potential.


The “old school” methodology for hiring plug-and-play talent to make a business successful is quickly eroding. Employers must evolve to the changing talent landscape and mindset, or risk not only losing the players they already have, but also face finding themselves unable to attract new members. The events of the past 18 months have provided a catalyst for this impending reality, as expectations have changed while high-level talent has become scarcer with the availability of endless options to choose from.  Startups have a unique opportunity to build a scalable talent strategy from day one, that meets the demands and realities of the current and future talent market, while also optimizing talent use for their business.  In this session, we’ll explore a real-life case study of wins, losses and lessons learned from both a hiring manager and HR perspective and provide a framework for building a scalable talent development and optimization strategy- no matter what your business is.