Brandon Atkinson

Chief People Officer


Ladders for Leaders Employer

AppNexus first participated in Ladders for Leaders in 2016, and the company is signing up again this year. Brandon Atkinson conveys why the program is so important,

AppNexus is built on the belief that diversity, in all its forms, promotes innovation and creates better business outcomes. Through its ties with the local community, Ladders for Leaders has been an impactful addition to our Campus Program, introducing us to smart and motivated students, and strengthening our connection with New York City.”

The CYE team sat down with Brandon Atkinson from AppNexus to hear more about his experience with Ladders. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:

How is the Ladders program different than other internship programs AppNexus has engaged?

Each summer, AppNexus hosts a Summer Intern Program for college students in the hopes that they will land a full-time job and come back after graduation. Ladders for Leaders is the first high school internship program we have participated in. We refer to our program through Ladders for Leaders as the AppNexus Youth Fellows Program, and while we pull elements from our college-student-oriented summer program (onboarding, meaningful work, performance management, etc.), we focus more on mentorship, as well as college and career advice.

Have you found the Ladders pre-screening process helpful?

AppNexus’ University Recruiting team manages the program. The fact that the first vetting process is handled by a partner makes their job much easier, and we were sent resumes for high-quality candidates. That initial legwork saved us considerable time, which is valuable since we are a small team.

Are there any broader workforce development goals addressed through the program?

Yes – the program aligns with our hiring philosophy, one tenet of which is “seek diversity.” We believe that diversity, in all its forms, promotes innovation and creates better business outcomes. One objective of this program was to expand our talent pipeline with students from underrepresented groups and non-traditional backgrounds.

Why is diversity important to AppNexus?

Much research shows that a diverse workforce results in a stronger culture and higher-quality product. Groups that are homogenous will be limited in their perspective, but a variety of backgrounds and different personalities will ultimately help to improve the product and the brand.

Would you recommend the program to other tech companies?

I would absolutely recommend Ladders for Leaders to other technology businesses. Ladders offers high-quality high school and college students who are eager to learn and grow their professional skills. Beyond having access to bright, diverse talent, companies also see a return through the opportunity to build out an internship program which provides leadership and mentorship opportunities to employees.