Compatibility is a Chicago-based, WBENC-certified company that develops evidence-based, responsive SaaS technology solutions that match users to key developmental relationships that foster engagement, persistence and success in the communities where they work, live and learn. The proprietary Compatibility Method optimizes intrinsic motivation and productivity by matching pairs and high-stakes teams in virtually any environment.

Take a look at our interview with Co-Founder & CEO, Andrea Meltzer.


How did you find yourself interested in this type of work?

Over the course of 20 years, I had the opportunity to recruit middle to senior level executives for a broad range of clients across industries and grew compelled by why people left companies and the challenges of employee retention. What I came to understand is that employees most often leave jobs because of people, not under-developed skills or competencies.

Similarly, Dr. Kim Rubenstein, Compatibility’s Co-Founder and Chief Research & Product Officer, in her faculty role, observed similar trends in higher education. Students were leaving college (despite strong academic fortitude and financial resources), attributing their decision to leave to a lack of finding community. She was particularly concerned by the high number of under-represented students who did not persist.

No one can grow and thrive in any system without meaningful connections. These are the hard facts about soft skills.

The costs are staggering: $11 billion is lost annually to employee turnover, and the cost to recruit and train a lost employee is approximately equivalent to 6-9 months’ salary. In higher education, the annual cost of student attrition for colleges and universities is $16.5 billion, and the cost to the government and taxpayers is $14.5 billion annually. The average loss per school per student is $10,000, with an average cost of student acquisition at $5,500 per student.

Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Rubenstein and I developed a research-based SaaS solution that generates customized matching algorithms for best fit matches that optimize productivity, goal attainment and accountability - each of which are essential for engagement and retention. Not only are users matched, but together, work towards identifying and setting goals within a platform that allows for goal setting and monitoring, discussions, delivery of curriculum and real-time analytics to evaluate impact.

Tell us about your professional background.

I began my professional career in retail, traveling the world to buy merchandise for a chain of Chicago-based stores. After completing my MBA in the first cohort the weekend program of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (aka, Booth). Knowing that ongoing, frequent travel would not be ideal when raising a family, I sought to identify a career that would give me autonomy and flexibility.

I became the President and Owner of Executive Options, the first executive search and organizational consulting firm in the Midwest to place middle to senior level professionals in part-time, consulting and full-time positions across all areas of organizations.  In addition to identifying talent for clients, we also helped companies maximize their talent by providing training and coaching in conflict management, leadership development and strategic team-building.

Dr. Rubenstein is a clinical and organizational psychologist with a wealth of experience in  market and academic research, consultation, program development/evaluation, and assessment, not only within clinical settings, but also in the corporate and higher education sectors

Dr. Rubenstein and I first began working together at Executive Options, where she was  instrumental in building the organizational consulting arm of the Company.

How does Compatibility use technology to provide services?

Compatibility’s matching algorithms and data analytics are delivered via responsive SaaS technology. Mentor Connect offers a centralized platform through which any number of unique mentor programs in an organization may be customized, monitored and measured.  

Since no two mentor programs are alike, program managers are able to customize a matching algorithm via an assessment that recommends best mentor/mentee matches and generates a communications report to inform and enrich the mentor/mentee relationship.  

As mentors and mentees engage and track goals through the platform, Compatibility’s analytics dashboards allow managers to track and monitor engagement (in real time) and gain insights into how users are responding to the program goals and expectations. Program managers are also able to monitor participation and intervene where necessary.

While Compatibility developed the science and analytics of our solutions, the functionality and design of the platform is informed by our customers, who we regard as having true subject matter expertise, as they are the ones who oversee and manage programs day in and day out. In fact, client feedback and direction is what informs new features and functionality. We deeply value these partnerships.

How is Compatibility’s impact measured?

Within our platform is an analytics dashboard that measures user participation, engagement, goal attainment, quality interactions and impact.  Not only can administrators measure program outcomes, but they can monitor user interaction and intervene in real time.

Are you collaborating with similar organizations on a local, regional, or national level?

We co-present with our client-partners at national conferences and seek opportunities to  work together towards contributing evidence-based research findings, stories, and data within the larger mentoring community.

We are poised for API integration with other technology companies, such as HRIS, learning management and talent management software, that our clients may be using in order to facilitate single sign-on.

Who would you say your main competitors are? How do your results compare to theirs?

There are numerous companies in the market that offer technology solutions to facilitate and manage mentoring programs.  Compatibility is the only company that offers an evidenced-based solution that matches according to unique combinations of similarities and differences that when paired, are likely to poise mentoring relationships for success.  Another key differentiator is that Compatibility’s platform learns about each user and generates individualized communications reports that are based upon underlying personality, attitude and behavioral characteristics, thereby informing and enriching mentor/mentee relationships.

What is a favorite app of yours? One that many people may not know about?

My favorite app, What’s App, is one that is widely known and used. It’s my favorite because one of my daughters lives overseas, and this is our primary method of communication.

What Chicago neighborhood are you from? Do you still live there?

I was raised on the South Side of Chicago and also spent a great deal of time in Hyde Park where my grandparents lived for many years.  My family moved to the northern suburbs in my early teenage years, but I remain a “South Sider” at heart.

My husband and I live in and raised our children in Skokie, a diverse community in close proximity to Chicago that offers “the best of both worlds”.

Who is a Chicagoan you admire and why?

Michelle Obama is someone who I admire not only as a fellow Chicagoan (and South Sider), but also as a mother and wife who brought grace, authenticity and eloquence to her role as a First Lady. As a mother of two daughters, I appreciate that she was fiercely protective of her daughters and concerned, first and foremost, for their privacy and well-being.


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