Want to work in the front office of the reigning NBA champions?
NYC-based recruiting platform Jopwell can offer you the opportunity
The National Basketball Association led all professional athletic leagues in diversity hiring this year. And on June 15th, Jopwell announced a partnership with the league to actively connect talented young undergraduates and professionals of color to the front offices of top-flight NBA teams including the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and L.A. Clippers.
The partnership includes exclusive access for qualified individuals on Jopwell to a network of opportunities within the NBA parent organization, as well as front office positions in areas such as business operations, finance, software engineering, and marketing. Talk about a slam-dunk.
I had the fortunate opportunity to hear from Jopwell co-founders Porter Braswell(Yale College ’11) and Ryan Williams(Wharton School ’12) on the inspiration behind Jopwell, their recent NBA partnership, and most importantly, why YOU should enlist Jopwell’s support in advancing your career.
What does the NBA partnership mean for Jopwell?
Porter: “The NBA partnership, as well as our recent partnership with the USTA and our existing relationship with the San Francisco 49’ers, marks an exciting expansion in the sports industry. Despite playing sports my entire life and being an avid fan, I had very little visibility and context as to what it would look like to work for a professional sports team or league. It didn’t occur to me that every team I followed had a workforce behind it. At Jopwell, we strive to surface opportunities for our community that they might not have otherwise been exposed to, so we are particularly excited about these partnerships and the avenues they will present.”
Braswell is quite familiar with the hurdles of breaking into elite corporate circles as a young individual of color. He previously spent three years on the trading floor of a leading financial institution — an opportunity many ambitious students dream of.
As Braswell states in an interview with NBC, his path to finance began in high school, when he managed to get a foot in the door at Morgan Stanley through a diversity recruiting program.
Since then, he worked on Wall Street every summer while studying and playing Division 1 basketball at Yale University. Upon graduating in 2011, Braswell dove full-time into high-finance, where he soon befriended eventual Jopwell co-founder Williams.
At a world-class financial institution, it is easy to set one’s sights skyward with aspirations for greater responsibility and influence. In such a highly competitive environment, exceptional performance is well-rewarded.
For Braswell and Williams, however, the allure of future opportunity in finance was tempered by an appreciation for their good fortune and a desire to give back.
How did the idea for Jopwell come about?
Ryan: “When we first [came up with] Jopwell, we wanted to build a platform to directly connect Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American candidates to exciting career opportunities at leading companies. We were laser-focused on doing that really well.”
Braswell and Williams decided to test the market for a platform to bridge high-achieving college students from diverse backgrounds with the world’s best companies. And in the summer of 2014, after significant soul-searching, the two left Wall Street to launch Jopwell.
At what point had you both convinced yourselves to leave finance in pursuit of your visions for the platform?
Porter: “After Ryan and I had first discussed our similar career paths and desire to create an impact, we continued to map out our vision and plan for about six months before we made the leap to work on Jopwell full-time. It was definitely a difficult decision to leave stable positions at a prestigious firm to start Jopwell on our own, but we were passionate about our vision.”
Their leap of faith paid off. Jopwell not only succeeded — it flourished. Soon after officially launching the platform in January of 2015, Braswell and Williams were accepted into Y Combinator’s 2015 summer class.
With a well-defined mission and ambitious team, Jopwell soon attracted partnerships from the likes of The New York Times, Pinterest, Blackrock and Goldman Sachs — companies that have made concerted efforts to expand diversity hiring practices.
In early 2016, Jopwell collected a $3.25 million seed round from world-class venture firms including Andreessen Horowitz and Kapor Capital, as well as ex-Laker Magic Johnson’s Magic Johnson Enterprises.
And the company continues to expand its roster of brand names across technology and finance, recently adding buy-side heavyweights such as TPG Capital and Two Sigma.
In light of recent high-profile partnerships, has your vision for Jopwell changed?
Ryan: “As we grow we spend a lot of time thinking about how Jopwell can be a true resource for our community at all career stages. We are specifically exploring how to best provide mentorship and career advice at scale. We want to make sure Jopwell helps each member advance in their career no matter their level of experience, whether they are actively seeking a new position or happy in their current role.”
Perhaps Jopwell’s greatest strength is the experience — the network, resources, and opportunities — it tailors to each individual. Immediately upon sign-up, for instance, students are asked to include information regarding their interests and backgrounds. A holistic picture of each candidate is gathered to ensure facilitated connections are meaningful.
Most importantly, however, are the results. Students and young professionals looking for an edge in the job market have neither the time nor patience to experiment with multiple recruiting platforms. And there are certainly many options.
Aside from a potential fast track to an NBA front office, why should you choose Jopwell?
Porter: “Jopwell is different [from other platforms] for a few key reasons. If you are a Black, Latino/Hispanic, or Native American student or professional, Jopwell acts as your personal referral. If you are qualified for a position at one of our partner companies, our goal is to help you succeed by putting your résumé in the hands of the right person. In addition to connecting candidates to exciting job opportunities, we also host community events and deliver personalized content and career advice through our digital magazine, The Well.”
The company has reportedly facilitated more than 30,000 “connections” between companies and job seekers to date.
Evidently, Jopwell’s track record and unique approach to career advancement have also made a lasting impression on NBA executives. The NBA’s chief diversity and inclusion officer Oris Stuart had this to say about the company: “Jopwell, like the NBA, believes that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that engaging with a diverse group of candidates — at various levels in their careers — is essential to our success and the growth of our game globally.”
Navigating today’s job market can be an especially daunting process, but some mentorship and encouragement can make all the difference. In this regard, Braswell, Williams, and the entire Jopwell team are committed to guiding you through the job search. From start to finish. And as re-affirmed by the NBA partnership, Jopwell may very well be the game-changer you need to achieve your loftiest professional goals.
“If you’re passionate about something and are willing to wake up and work hard at it every day, it is absolutely worth pursuing.” — Ryan Williams