Win the Talent War: Carlton Walker – Head of Supplier Diversity at Jopwell
As head of supplier diversity at Jopwell, Carlton Walker is passionate about matching the top talent of underrepresented minorities with jobs in tech, finance, management, and other industries. Walker discusses Jopwell’s origin, goals, and the unique corporate culture that positions the company on a continued upward trajectory. This interview includes résumé tips for job seekers, networking groups to explore, and how to best leverage underutilized resources.
Time-Stamped Show Notes
[00:50] Ryan Kellogg welcomes Carlton Walker, head of supplier diversity at Jopwell, a technology platform that connects underrepresented ethnic minorities with companies of all sizes.
[02:40] Origins of the company and how the name “Jopwell” was created.
[03:30] Walker discusses the challenges of a young startup company and the high demand for recruits in software engineering.
[05:45] Jopwell’s success hinges on utilizing new media opportunities and exposure via entities such as TechCrunch and Business Insider.
[08:05] Advice for young tech professionals and caution against relying on a single source for networking.
[11:00] Walker names specific networking groups that focus on diversity and technology.
[14:00] The benefits of leveraging not only your own networks, but your friends’ networks.
[16:15] Jopwell’s corporate culture blends innovation, fun, honesty, and respect.
[19:00] The importance of a clear, readable résumé.
[21:30] Jopwell functions as a hybrid company between traditional recruitment and innovative networking.
[23:00] Walker shares what motivates him to strive for success.
Carlton Walker: Bringing Innovation and Diversity to Modern Tech
Carlton Walker is the head of supplier diversity at Jopwell, a technology platform that facilitates the recruitment of diverse individuals to companies of all sizes. Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students and professionals sign up at Jopwell for free, while Jopwell partners with companies who care about diversity and seek access to those candidates. It’s a digital diversity recruitment platform that’s “creating some really great connections between that diverse talent and what corporations are looking for,” says Walker.
The name “Jopwell” came from a brainstorming session. In search of a creative title for their company, the founders came up with Jopwell and ran with it. It serves as the company’s moniker for “Job Opportunities Well Done.”
Walker understands the challenges Jopwell faces as a young startup, beginning with the difficult task of gaining visibility. “People have not heard of us as much as maybe they’ve heard of LinkedIn; maybe they’ve heard of Indeed.com.” Jopwell hopes to innovate to connect with potential candidates by not doing what everyone else is and skipping the status quo. “We like to utilize new media opportunities,” Walker says, including various social media methods. TechCrunch and Business Insider articles on Jopwell have helped get the word out.
Another challenge is getting candidates in highly competitive fields. Walker is continually on the lookout for diverse individuals with engineering talent. Despite the competitiveness of the field, he sees plenty of entry-level opportunity and asserts, “Software engineers are in demand everywhere.”
Taking Advantage of Resources
A parallel exists between the challenges Jopwell faces as a company and the difficulties ahead for young tech professionals. “Knowledge is power,” Walker advises, encouraging candidates not to rely solely on LinkedIn or any one site. Instead, prospects should use all of the resources available to them to find out information about companies and who they’re looking for. “Know your opportunities,” he adds.
Walker takes pride in not only advocating for Jopwell, but also other organizations promoting diversity in the tech world, including Code 2040, which he calls “a great program that does some amazing things,” and Black Valley, a Silicon Valley network of Black interns. Networking is key. Walker encourages engaging with as many groups as possible to learn about the industry. There are some “very cool opportunities to meet different people,” Walker says, and getting into those communities is beneficial long term.
There are other “open opportunities to meet people” that young professionals might not be considering. Instead of limiting a person’s network, one can leverage their friends’ networks to broaden their circle. These open opportunities occur through university events and alumni meet-ups, and Walker advises going to as many as possible. “It’s not just about who you know but about who you reach out to.”
Back to Basics
While the Internet and networking opportunities are paramount, Walker cautions against dismissing the importance of a clear and concise résumé. Creativity can sometimes hinder this, and greater emphasis should be placed on readability, formatting, and “being succinct and being to the point.” When constructing a résumé, prospects should consider “how easy it is to understand what you’ve done and who you are.”
The Road Ahead
“We are a very small team… we really love each other as coworkers… we love what we’ve built,” Walker says on Jopwell’s corporate culture. “We have core values that we like to stand behind.” These include respect for one another, but also a level of honesty he describes as “practicing radical candor.” The Jopwell team strives for “a sense of accountability and a need to make sure we’re always getting better and better.” Though attentive to the imperative need for the startup to grow, the company also pays heed to the need for a fun and enjoyable work environment, which they manage with free snacks, occasional dance parties, and a Ping-Pong table.
“We’re always learning, we’re always growing,” Walker says, not only of Jopwell, but also of individuals. His motivation lies in the effort to “be better today than you were yesterday.” With this mindset, the future for both Jopwell and Walker himself is one of infinite possibility.