While their meeting could have been considered serendipitous, it was Ryan Williams and Porter Braswell’s overlapping experiences that brought them together. Both products of diversity recruiting programs, they met while working on the same trading floor at Goldman Sachs. Ryan and Porter left Wall Street in 2014, inspired by a shared passion for changing the system and fixing inefficiencies in diversity recruiting in corporate America. They launched Jopwell, a platform intended to help companies diversify their hiring. What started as an opportunity led to a feeling of responsibility.
Together, Ryan and Porter found purpose. “I think Jopwell is a bridge between under- represented communities and the opportunities of the future.” Ryan says, “If you think about economic progress, [if] you think about trends in terms of the industries that are going to lead this country forward, it’s really alarming when you think about people of color not being represented. We are this bridge that hasn’t existed, [taking this] group of people over here and then connecting them over all of these obstacles that historically have been in their way.”
Porter is quick to add that “[t]he reason why we’re able to be an advocate on behalf of our community is because we have the mindshare of the world’s leading brands. They fundamentally trust Jopwell and our vision on how we can directly connect them with this [diverse] community. It hasn’t been because of a lack of effort, there’s just been this lack of authenticity between these two people being able to connect. We have a unique responsibility to be able to speak the language of our community while also being able to speak the language of the companies we work with, facilitating those connections and introductions in a really meaningful way.”
As the hard work and restless nights continue, Ryan and Porter have no plan to slow down. “We don’t have the luxury like other startups have to just do one thing. There’s a lot of different things we have to tackle to be successful on this journey, and we embrace that.”