We’re Ready to Expand: Canvas Welcomes John Jersin, Former VP Product at LinkedIn, to Our Board of Directors
When my co-founder Adam Gefkovicz and I founded Canvas, we shared a vision of making recruiting fair for all. We knew that candidates of all backgrounds were more than a resume. That everyone deserves to build a brilliant career, not in spite of where they come from, but because each of our backgrounds and experiences make us who we are, and those perspectives deserve to be counted. We saw that opportunity was given more freely to those who made it to the best schools, or got their foot in the door at the biggest companies, and that left millions of equally talented candidates out of the picture.
We focused the first steps of our journey where many candidates start their own career journeys: campus and the early career industry. Said plainly, interns are your future full-time employees, and those full-time employees become your future CEOs. Starting at the source (excuse the pun) just made sense.
Well, two years later it’s not to say that we’ve “fixed” university recruiting, but we’ve made incredible strides to democratize access to early career talent at every corner of the country. Our success paved the path for our next chapter and we stand excited and energized to expand our product marketplace and offerings to candidates of all stages. Inclusivity is at the absolute core of our business, and we are setting our sights on including the entire working world.
In order to do that, we know we need the right voices and minds at the table. I made the acquaintance of John Jersin, former Vice President of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, and CEO and Co-Founder of Connectifier, years ago; in fact, I helped to hire his first few engineers. From those first conversations, we found a shared passion about the data that drives hiring decisions, and the ability for the right data to power diversity strategies for all hiring teams. Today, we’re so pleased to announce that John has joined our Board of Directors, and will help take us to this next level as we pursue our Series B fundraising round this month.
As more companies are looking for diversity solutions in the face of renewed focus from the Black Lives Matter movement, and as COVID-19 pushes recruiting from in-person events into virtual space, now is affirmatively the right time for us to expand our capabilities to all companies looking to grow and diversify their workforces; not just those with internship programs.
After Connectifier was acquired by LinkedIn, John became Vice President of LinkedIn’s largest business unit, Talent Solutions, and there he launched the world’s first diversity features to limit bias in recruiting. To share why he chose to lend his expertise to our Board in his own words, John shared,
“The direct diversity data that Canvas provides is unparalleled, and can finally power effective diversity efforts at every step of the recruiting process. Continuing to use the same tools will not lead to different results. Every company needs to adopt exactly this kind of serious approach. COVID-19 has accelerated a change we’ve already been seeing for years - in-person events leave people out; people who might have to move for the job, people who might work remotely, people who don’t have childcare that allows them make it to an event in person, and those are the candidates that might be a perfect fit, but that you’ll never get to meet. Canvas is positioned to help every employer host live events virtually and personally connect with all candidates. With COVID-19, virtual events went from important-to-do-soon, to essential-right-now, and Canvas was ready for it.”
While we are more excited than ever for this expansion and for new partnership opportunities, I personally take our current longstanding partnerships so seriously, and cherish the relationships we’ve built in our first chapter of Canvas. Adam and I wanted to take the utmost care and consideration for our partners; when we asked Katelyn Amidon from the Lyft lead, who's one of our longest-standing partners, her response bolstered my confidence that this is the right move for us, right now:
“We’ve been using Canvas successfully for over two major recruiting seasons now, and it has completely reshaped and upleveled our strategy. The events suite has been one of the biggest game changers for us, and we know that these virtual events capabilities paired with actionable diversity analytics are going to mold the future of recruiting. The top candidates can’t be found in one geographic location anymore; recruiting is going virtual whether we were ready for it or not. Canvas has been the platform that kept us ahead of the curve up until now, and we’re ready for the rest of the industry to catch up.”
With the support of John, our partners, and the incredible team we’ve built, I’m so thrilled to be taking on this next chapter, scale, and ultimately bring our vision to the world. Welcome, John!