Photo via: Jopwell, Pictured left to right: Ryan Williams and Porter Braswell
What did Ryan Williams and Porter Braswell do when they noticed a gap between top companies and underrepresented minority groups? The University of Pennsylvania and Yale graduates left their jobs on Wall Street and founded their own career platform called Jopwell. The career switch made Williams and Braswell the first in their families to pursue entrepreneurship.
"When we first started Jopwell (in 2014), we wanted to build a platform to directly connect Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American candidates to exciting career opportunities at leading companies," said Williams.
Since then, the platform has become a useful tool for professionals and students navigating their careers. Jopwell has helped tens of thousands of talented minorities land internships and jobs with Jopwell's partner companies like the NBA, Conde Nast, Pinterest, BlackRock, Northwell Health and more.
"As we grow, we spend a lot of time thinking about how Jopwell can be a true resource for our community members at all career stages – that still means connecting people to companies but it goes beyond that as well,” Williams explained.
On top of bridging the gap between some of the nation's brightest minorities and leading employers, Jopwell is also on a mission to show what the next generation of diverse leaders and employees in the workplace looks like. They hope to accomplish this through initiatives like "The Jopwell Collection", which includes over 100 free-to-download stock images that depict a representative workplace, because you can't be what you can't see, right? Jopwell also provides its community with helpful content through their digital magazine, "The Well", and other resources like networking events.
"The students and professionals in our community and on the Jopwell platform are definitely my biggest motivator, " Braswell said. "Sometimes I’ll get messages from candidates reaching out to share that, because of Jopwell, they received a job offer for a role or were exposed to career resources and opportunities that they didn’t previously know existed."
Braswell added, "I have a folder in my email dedicated to these notes, and I look at them when I need to get re-energized and motivated."
Williams and Braswell's incredible vision and passion to connect minority groups to top employers has led both of them to be recognized on "Fast Company’s" list of Most Creative People and "Entrepreneur’s" list of 100 Brilliant Ideas.
Braswell said his advice to young entrepreneurs of color would be: “Embrace mentorship. It’s so important that you find someone you trust and feel comfortable with -- someone who understands where you are coming from and where you want to go. Then foster that relationship."
As for Williams, he advised: "If you’re passionate about something and are willing to wake up and work hard at it every day, it is absolutely worth pursuing. But make sure that the problem you are looking to solve is one that you are intimately familiar with. There are plenty of people out there looking to discredit you, particularly if you are a Black founder, so you really need to be an expert and know your stuff."
Visit Jopwell.com to "unlock (your) opportunity" in the workforce today.