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Canvas's Advisory Board

We at Canvas are honored to officially welcome an absolutely incredible advisory board helping us to achieve our mission of creating a more equitable world. This group of thought leaders in the Talent and DEI space has seen the evolution and shift in the recruiting industry. They have been working on solving problems in diversity hiring far before it was ever front stage. Many of them have been customers of ours, so they understand where we have come from to help guide us to where we are going. 

By working with our advisory board, we are able to stay on top of what is happening in the space and, as a result, not only build for it, but help define it as well. They have experience in the trenches & can lend insight into our product roadmap. 

There are so many approaches to talent & DEI that it is crucial we have multiple perspectives. We know their efforts, individually and collectively, will help us achieve our mission. 

Get To Know Our Advisory Board 

Alexandria Spiva

Alexandria Spiva is the Head of Workforce Inclusion at Converge Firm. Alexandria has worked in tech for 13 years — at Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and currently Lyft. Alexandria has carried roles of Recruiter + D&I thought leader to elevate programs and partnerships, along with re-designing approaches to hiring.

Beyond her day-to-day, she does her knowledge-sharing through think tank sessions with various non-profits and panels such as Black Girls Code, Grace Hopper Conference, and Expat Women. She is passionate about diversity engagement and community building.

Caroline Escalante

Caroline Escalante has over 17+ years of experience building and leading high-performing Global Talent and People teams and Organizations with a focus and lens on Culture and DE&I at both large (Google) and small (Headspace) companies. Her expertise lies in creating infrastructure for scale to support mass growth with increasing organizational complexity.  She now owns and runs a successful consulting business aimed at helping companies employ strategic Talent and People operations amid rapid growth. 

What is the biggest challenge today in the recruiting world?

Caroline shares, “It’s an extremely hot market, escalated and only made more competitive by the past year (Covid) with businesses pausing and now in high growth. If you do not have a streamlined recruiting process, you lose out on talent. You need to move fast, have a compelling recruiting pitch and employ cognitive recruiting techniques to attract the best talent and be able to close them.”

What is the one thing you would recommend a company do when starting out their diversity hiring strategy?

She reveals, “It’s essential to have Executive level buy-off and sponsorship.” Caroline also recommends, “putting a solid diversity sourcing platform or solution in place (i.e Canvas). And, build out a diversity events and actions roadmap for the year ahead, will help attract and then articulate (via action) to incoming prospective talent that you are serious about diversity and culture at your company - this will enable interviewers to be able to speak to diversity commitments and strategy.”

Why did you join our advisory board?

Carolines explains, “I believe in Canvas' mission. The intentionality of the work. I want to help however I can and spread the word about the platform to lower the blockers for companies when it comes to finding diverse talent.”

Colby Berger

Colby Berger is Cloudera’s VP of Global Talent Acquisition & Operations. Prior to that, he was the Senior Director Talent Acquisition at Chewy and the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Pivotal, where he led a team of 50- 60 Recruiters, Sourcers and Recruiting Managers. 


Emily Cardner

Most recently, Emily Carnder was the Senior Manager of Campus and Recruiting Programs at MongoDB, where she was responsible for Global Intern and New Grad Programs, as well as other recruiting programs such as Employee Referrals. She is passionate about building new programs, helping students navigate the jump from academia to industry, and increasing diversity and inclusion efforts within tech.

What is the biggest challenge today in the recruiting world? 

Emily shares, “The biggest challenge in recruiting, especially for a high growth company, is rethinking the way we hire to create an equitable recruiting process. To hold a magnifying glass to your process and to be willing to disrupt the process can be challenging and uncomfortable but is absolutely necessary to make sure we are creating more equity in recruiting and diversifying our workforce.”

What is the one thing you would recommend a company do when starting out their diversity hiring strategy?  

Emily explains, “One piece of advice I would give talent teams looking to increase their D&I recruitment strategy is to set goals and track your progress. Examples can be partnering with more affinity groups on campus, creating a more equitable recruitment process for candidates, or increasing your employer brand with folks from different backgrounds. Regardless of your strategy, you need to write it down, identify owners, track your progress and communicate it clearly with your stakeholders.”

Why did you join our advisory board?

“I joined the advisory board because I really believe in the product. I was a beta user a few years ago, messaging Adam and Ben daily the things I liked and didn't about the product and they actually listened to me and incorporated the feedback. I feel like I have been a part of the Canvas journey from the beginning, and excited to see where it goes!” Emily reveals. 

Jason Miller

A recruiting leader with experience at companies including Roblox, Cloudera, YAHOO, and VMware Jason has been hiring Engineering and University talent for over 20 years.  When he is not trying to figure out what makes Engineers tick he can be found in Austin, TX where he spends his time as a father of three daughters, two dogs, and a tortoise; most recently in the backyard working to perfect wood-fired pizzas.

What is the biggest challenge today in the recruiting world? 

Jason explains, “Figuring out what a post-pandemic hiring landscape will look like. Everything from what a candidate values to how they will choose their next role has changed and it’s up to the TA teams of the world to not only predict that but be flexible when we need to pivot.” 

What is the one thing you would recommend a company do when starting out their diversity hiring strategy? 

Jason reveals, “Take time to learn what diversity means to your company first. Every company is unique and the way they define and approach a D&I Strategy should be as unique as they are. All too often the TA industry falls into trap of cloning one another. Unless you are true to what your company is your risk designing and leading an authentic program.”

Why did you join our advisory board?

“I got an InMail out of the blue from Ben and set up a quick call. When he and I connected I could hear in his voice how passionate he was about leveling the playing field for early talent. Seeing how authentic he and Adam were as Jumpstart grew and evolved into Canvas it was clear that their passion grew over the years,” reveals Jason. 

Katelyn Amidon

Katelyn Amidon is Head of Early Talent Programs at Lyft. Over the last four years, she has scaled recruiting efforts for internship, new graduate, and non-traditional early in career programs while implementing diversity-focused development programs, leading international expansions, and being a strong advocate for inclusive hiring practices and best-in-class candidate experience. Before Lyft, she found her passion for recruiting and was drawn to creating an internship program at a fast-paced startup. Prior to her career in talent acquisition, she spent time practicing in the medical field with a degree in behavioral neuroscience after retiring from a brief professional basketball career overseas.  

What is the biggest challenge today in the recruiting world? 

Katelyn shares, “To me, the challenge that unites recruiting professionals across industries, pipelines, and organization sizes is effective candidate pipeline management. While there are many solutions out there, the most effective way to attract the best and most diverse talent, strategically source inbound and outbound talent, manage a seamless recruitment process, drive brand awareness and ultimately hire the talent your organization needs lives within one solution that scales. This, on top of leveraging data to understand and drive recruitment strategy, is the key to not just hit hiring goals, but drive impact on the quality of new hires and the culture of a company.”

What is the one thing you would recommend a company do when starting out their diversity hiring strategy? 

Katelyn reveals, “In order to first create a diversity hiring strategy, you have to take inventory of your current workforce, which requires data to illuminate the makeup of an organization. Once you can have a benchmark of your organization, you can then start to understand where the gaps are to inform your hiring needs. Starting out with this foundation, along with using tools and strategies to assess the diversity of your talent pipelines, analyze your interview processes and key metrics to see where change needs to occur, all comes from being empowered with data to drive bold new ideas and decisions.”

Why did you join our advisory board?

“I joined the Canvas advisory board because I have been a proponent of the mission from day one. I have always believed that the impact Canvas can have gone beyond being a diversity recruiting platform, but truly is a product that can provide access in a landscape where opportunity is not equally distributed. As a talent leader, I believe it's my responsibility to break the status quo of traditional hiring practices to build the diverse workforces we all want to see in the world. That starts with forging a new way to attract, engage and hire talent with Canvas being the best product to create accessibility for all,” reveals Katelyn.

Sean Cervera

Sean Cervera (He/Him) is a recruiting whisperer and certified belonging architect. With over a decade of talent and diversity experience at leading companies like Google, LinkedIn, Twilio, Curology and now Facebook, Sean has worked on building recruiting processes and cultures that celebrate and empower the whole self. He is fueled to shatter systemic oppression and create open access points to opportunity because diversity is not a pipeline issue, it’s a mentality and process issue. 

What is the biggest challenge today in the recruiting world?

Sean reveals, “The largest recruiting challenge institutions are facing in the modern day is creating a truly inclusive process that mitigates bias, redefines the actual need and corresponding skills, ensures representation at each stage of the hiring process, and creates outcomes where the best talent can rise. It’s important to build an inclusive process that meets people where they are, which is significantly evolving in this remote work era.” 

What is the one thing you would recommend a company do when starting out their diversity hiring strategy?

Sean advises, “Never start hiring right away. I like to call it inclusive recruiting versus diversity recruiting, because in my opinion, it’s about an inclusive process, not hiring someone strictly because they are diverse - that leads to tokenism and a horrible candidate experience. I believe that at the foundation of inclusion recruiting is ensuring your company, your leadership team, and your culture are ready. In order for diverse talent to thrive, it’s important to have a workplace that will empower them, support them and champion them. Not “tolerate” them. Starting with your values, mission, benefits, trainings and so on to give recruiters something to speak to while ensuring the success and support of diverse talent. Retention issues will be the demise of inclusion recruiting regardless of how structured it is if you don’t work on both culture and hiring simultaneously.”

Why did you join our advisory board?

“I have been a proud board member for 4 years. I joined because of what Adam and Ben wanted to build. From the very start, they asked about Diversity & Inclusion, and how that could be manifested into the platform. That showed me that they were ready to heavily lean into their privilege and allyship to really build something magnificent and game-changing. How could I not want to be a part of something that could change lives and build bridges to opportunity?” reveals Sean.  

SteFan PremDas

SteFan PremDas is a biomedical engineer turned analytics & process improvement nerd. He switched over to HR 7 years ago, when he realized that the most interesting problems are the ones tied to people. Now, as Head of Talent Operations, my team is working to strategically position Noom as a leader in the identification, attraction, and hiring of talent. They accomplish this by partnering with stakeholders to introduce human-centric processes and technologies to disrupt the talent acquisition industry.

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