Jon Purizhansky Of Joblio: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO

Charlie Katz
Authority Magazine
Published in
12 min readJan 25, 2022

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No successful company becomes successful without teamwork and getting everyone on the same page.

As a part of our series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO’ we had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Purizhansky.

Jon Purizhansky is the CEO of Joblio and a New York lawyer with years of international business experience. Jon is committed to upholding humanitarian standards in the international migrant labour industry through Joblio’s digital platform. He is focused on bringing transparency and efficiency into otherwise non-transparent ecosystems globally and was awarded the Excellence Innovation Award in Human Rights Protection in 2021.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

All my life, I’ve either been on the move myself or helping other people achieve social mobility by moving from country to country. I happened to be a refugee from the USSR as a teenager, stateless and undocumented. I lived in a refugee camp environment in Italy, and before that was in Austria. All of these experiences help me connect deeply with the plight of migrants on the move.

The industry of global labour migration is potentially the biggest in the world. Unfortunately, the migrants within this industry are faced with countless unknown variables that throw their futures into doubt. Who will you work for? Where? How much will you be paid? Will they abuse you? This creates a sort of PTSD, something I’m intimately familiar with myself.

I wanted to mitigate the unknown variables in this industry by bringing in compliance, transparency, and the protection of human rights that I wanted myself as a young man. That’s why I created Joblio, so that horrible human tragedies can become a thing of the past. By starting Joblio, I hoped to make upward mobility a real possibility for millions of migrants around the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Every day, we uncover an interesting new story thanks to our proprietary program called ACE — the Applicant Concierge Experience. The ACE program provides professional and cultural enrichment to those migrants who have been selected as job candidates through the Joblio platform. What would normally be a stressful period becomes a learning experience where the migrants can connect with one another and support one another.

Here’s one of the funny things about ACE — we’re taking migrants from all over the world and connecting them with one another through complimentary language learning services. The end result is an incredibly diverse group of people communicating with one another through the same language. This means that we have migrants from Nigeria, India, or Uzbekistan all speaking and joking with one another…in Polish!

That these migrants are always active and engaged with one another, and constantly provide learning opportunities for one another, is one of the best parts of the job. It’s why we’re so proud of the ACE program and why it will be a key part of Joblio as we move into our next chapter.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve learned much about migration and immigration law since I started Joblio. Here’s a curious quirk of migration law; all citizens in Moldova receive Romanian passports, allowing them to live and work inside of Romania. Moldova isn’t in the European Union, but nearly all of its citizens still enjoy access to an EU passport without living in an EU country!

This created something of a labour crisis in Moldova, which our original plans didn’t take into account. We had to quickly devise a flexible response and now help people from 12 countries — places like Nigeria, Nepal, and Uganda — find good jobs in Moldovan industries. These are often the first African migrants many Moldovans have ever seen.

As you get involved in this industry, you quickly learn that migration law is dizzying. There are peculiar rules — like the Moldovan passport exception in the EU — that you may never even know about until you get involved in the industry. You make mistakes, learn from them, and get better as you move forward.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

So many people have helped me get to where I am today, beginning of course with my parents. I also think of the friends and colleagues who have helped me create Joblio. I’ve been privileged to receive continuous and ongoing support, which is why I think we should be providing that same level of support to migrants aspiring to join our societies.

I’m also incredibly grateful to the migrants out there who are risking everything in the pursuit of a better life abroad. Without their tenacity, Joblio wouldn’t exist. Our global economy is so dependent upon their hard work, and they often go unappreciated. Every time we help migrants achieve their goals, we’re moving toward a more prosperous society for everyone.

As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

There’s a simple and obvious answer for why it’s so important for a business to champion diversity — you literally cannot succeed otherwise. Success in business is only possible when executives make decisions based on merit and fact instead of dealing with their personal preferences.

If you look at the world’s most successful companies today, they’re based on inclusion and recognition of talent irrespective of background. Merit is the only way to achieve true success, and merit means inclusion.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day recently passed us by in the United States — it was the Reverend King who famously proclaimed that he dreamed of living in a world where people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Achieving that dream means recognizing merit wherever you find it.

We’re also promoting these principles by bringing people from all around the world to companies that are in desperate need of qualified workers. We bring candidates from Nigeria to Moldova, for instance, where immigrants and tourists from Africa have seldom visited in the past. The most successful countries in the world are saturated with immigrant labour because they want the best of the best.

When labour migration is handled ethically in emerging economies, we foster inclusion and prosperity for everyone. Joblio also has an ambassador program with representatives from all inhabitable continents — we’re already deriving incredible business benefits from being inclusive.

As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.

At the highest level, we always try to remain open minded while treating everyone with the basic respect and dignity that we all deserve. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your personal choices are, where you come from, everybody has to be treated with basic respect.

For an example of taking real steps to foster inclusivity, look at our global ambassador program. Our program is on all inhabitable continents. Joblio is adding value to remote, impoverished communities around the world by increasing the amount of financial remittances they receive and allowing their labourers to earn higher wages than ever before. We can only achieve this thanks to a stellar team of ambassadors who come from every walk of life and showcase how Joblio values diversity.

Our ambassadors represent every major continent, religion, race — we are the example of inclusion and diversity and respect. This is why Joblio’s mission is to become the global standard for cross-border hiring.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

The executive is the captain of the ship. When the ship sinks, the executive is the last person to step off the ship. They set the tone, strategy, and culture of the entire organization.

The executive is the person with the responsibility at the end of the day. The executive is the person who, while delegating to others, is still responsible for everything that the company does. It means responsibility. Responsibility to everyone — to the employees, to clients and shareholders, responsibility to investors and society as a whole.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?

The myth is that the CEO does nothing and tells other people what to do all day! In fact, the CEO is the person who is very often, especially in a startup environment, the DNA and engine of the company.

In a startup environment, the CEO is the person who sets strategies, goals, vision, mission, and establishes the company culture. Look at all the successful companies out there! The Amazons and the Teslas, and the Microsofts — the CEOs provided critical leadership to stellar teams.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

I don’t know if I expected anything different than what I’m actually going through! Here’s what I expected:

I expected this project to be challenging, very exciting and personally engaging. I also expected this project to generate lots of good karma for many people. While there are plenty of challenges in front of us, and while what we’re doing is very difficult, I think that I expected most of the things, events, and energy that we’re going through right now. That makes it easier to succeed.

Do you think everyone is cut out to be an executive? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive?

You have to be very good with people. You have to have good intuition. Everything is about interacting with other people. Without that, you can’t succeed as an executive.

Avoid being a negative person. Did you spread the blame to others? Did you fail to take responsibility for your own mistakes? Failures don’t only blame other people, they sometimes blame events or market circumstances.

A good executive analyzes what leads to success versus failure and acts accordingly, capitalizing on their successful experiences and mitigating any potential downturns.

What advice would you give to other business leaders to help create a fantastic work culture? Can you share a story or an example?

It’s about the people that you’re spending time with. It’s about collective goals, and teamwork. No successful company becomes successful without teamwork and getting everyone on the same page.

It’s also about overcoming personal traits that may clash with one another. Can you help people advance and become better? Can you move forward as a team? This is part of the game.

So I’ll give you an example related to Joblio. In the tech industry, you have two ways to proceed — sometimes, you outsource your technology projects to third-parties, which is a method that’s enjoyed by many companies out there. Sometimes, you build in-house teams — this takes a long time, but once it’s done it’s your own team.

Joblio went down both paths, outsourcing when necessary but developing its own internal team as well. I realized I needed to make an executive decision to build everything in-house, as this creates culture and teambuilding and it’s the Joblio team.

I’m not saying this would always work for other companies, but I know it worked for us and we learned from this experience. It may take longer, but I’d rather build from within. Many disagree but I believe it’s worked for Joblio.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Every person who Joblio helps find a job makes the world a better place. Joblio creates a better world by giving workers good jobs with high wages. They can now send more money back home to their families, creating upward social mobility in their home countries.

Employers also benefit from having a great workforce of talented migrants who are eager to get the job done. Employers are enjoying newly found efficiencies and optimizing their revenue management cycles. Governments love it, too, because it creates taxable income, cuts down on crime, and turns illegal immigration into documented, efficient, and ethical immigration.

Fantastic. Here is the primary question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. “Nothing personal, it’s just business,” is always a false quote. We spend so much time working together and creating teams in order to facilitate business that it’s impossible not to become personally involved. There will be ups and downs — people getting excited or disappointed — and as the CEO I may have to make decisions that don’t make everyone happy. The best job we can do is working considerately with people’s feelings and ensuring a healthy culture always reigns.

2. Always expect the unexpected. Things don’t always go according to plan. The only thing we’re ever really guaranteed is that there are no guarantees in life! What this really means is we have to be practical and recognize that we can’t foresee everything that’s going to happen. So be flexible, be ready to roll with the punches and try to turn an unexpected situation to your advantage whenever possible.

3. Recognize you can’t control everything. CEOs can’t afford to labor under the delusion that they can control everyone and everything around them. The only person you can truly control is yourself, so exercise self-discipline while recognizing that some things are beyond your power. This also applies to your team — delegate whenever possible and don’t get in the way of their hard work. Set clear objectives and provide insightful instructions before fairly judging by the results.

Companies and countries fail when one person causes system paralysis by trying to control everything. It’s important to learn how to let go.

4. Prepare for harsh criticisms. You will be disliked and even hated by some. The amount of negative feedback you receive will grow exponentially as you and your business grow. On the other axis, however, there will be a lot of gratitude, respect, and even adoration. You won’t only gain enemies, you’ll also cultivate a fan base and a network of helpful partners. Be grateful for both. One will keep you humble, the other one will lift you up.

5. Make self care a priority. Some CEOs think that they have to dive into business full time, even at the expense of their own mental or physical wellbeing. The reality is that the company can’t succeed unless its leadership is taking care of itself. That starts with the CEO.

You don’t just belong to yourself anymore. Your mental and physical wellbeing are now company assets. Think of yourself as an Olympic athlete preparing for the games — you’ll need healthy eating habits, a consistent sleep schedule, familiarity with meditation and breathing exercises, and a physical fitness routine that you can stick to. Keep yourself happy, learn to relax and prepare yourself for upcoming challenges, and remember that your company needs you in top shape.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would like to inspire a movement for equitable labour migration that is based on transparency, trust, and ethics. People should no longer be cheated.

Don’t forget that all human trafficking, or nearly all of it, begins with a promise of work somewhere. In fact, I believe that because of the unique way that the Joblio platform works, we’re already becoming a global force for good.

I mentioned ACE before — just take a look at this program and you will see, this is completely different, quite unique, and I’m not sure I can adequately articulate how it’s becoming an organic movement. Migrants are taking control of their own destinies and this will trigger an avalanche of innovation and positivity that we can only begin to dream about right now.

Can you please give us your favorite Life Lesson Quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you will it, it’s no longer a dream.”

As a former stateless person myself, I understand the importance of fostering hope and struggling toward a distant goal. If we all remember the sheer force of human willpower, we can achieve tremendous things by working together.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

You know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Elon Musk!

I don’t know him personally but I’d love to meet him. He developed ideas that transform the world and then he executes those ideas brilliantly. There are many people with great ideas who are incapable of executing their ideas.

Elon has shown that, in my eyes, he’s the most brilliant business developer out there who completes the circle — he developed the idea to change the world, then he actually implements the plan of action, all the while maintaining a commercially viable and profitable business enterprise. It’s amazing.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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Charlie Katz
Authority Magazine

Executive Creative Director at Bitbean Software Development