What a year.
Rewind to the beginning of 2016, and we found ourselves hearing one amazing story after another from our community of professionals and students. There seemed to be no shortage of perspectives and advice that inspired us, through both the wins and the trying moments, to unlock opportunity and be our best professional selves.
What was missing was a single place to share all of this inspiration. So in April, after a lot of brainstorming, planning, testing, reading, writing, and building, we launched The Well.
Nine months and 182 posts later, it’s been a whirlwind (the good kind). Here’s a highlight reel of the stories shared:
- Earvin “Magic” Johnson weighed in on workforce diversity; Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. spoke to what it’ll take to achieve equal employment in tech; chef-entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson dished on his success; Olympic fencer Nzingha Prescod reflected on her road to Rio; and Viola Davis’s then-assistant gave us a behind-the-scenes look at navigating a career in Hollywood.
- We grabbed a whole lot of coffee (30 cups and counting …) with leaders everywhere from UBS to Upward Bound to the United Nations. Meanwhile, employees gave us a glimpse into their day-to-day, touring us around some pretty cool offices (see: a Day In The Life at Giphy, Google, Venture for America, Vanity Fair, and more).
- We got practical, because killing it in any career means knowing the unwritten rules and getting smart about how to play the game. Experts advised us on how to network without being awkward; ace that interview; take a dope headshot; craft the perfect email; and, yes, also ask for help.
- Students – from Georgia tech aerospace engineer Tiffany Davis, who brought President Obama to campus, to the winners of Jopwell's $15,000 student essay grant – gave us hope] for the future. You opened up about going from being homeless to finding a home in the Ivy League; took action to help others break into Silicon Valley; launched companies; beat down stereotypes; fostered understanding; and overcame cultural barriers. You explored what it takes to find confidence where diversity is scarce, and you challenged us to think about what that diploma really means.
- Entrepreneurs shared their successes and their failures, collectively demonstrating that the limits society places on us are challenges we can overcome. Shout-outs to SELF MADE author and founder Nely Galán; actor and mathematician Justin Key; podcast founder and host Dennis Worden; Chopped champion Danielle Saunders; and high schooler Steven Udotong, who’s on his way to becoming the first African American to build a nuclear reactor to promote clean energy.
- Leaders in attendance at some seriously legit events helped open-source the highlights for those of us not on the ground. See: The White House’s inaugural South by South Lawn and United State of Women festivals; Blavity’s Afrotech conference; this gala honoring media trailblazers including Vivica A. Fox; and the annual United Negro College Fund HBCU Innovation Summit.
- "Diversity" was 2016’s buzzword, and you unpacked it, speaking to what building inclusive company cultures can actually look like; creating art and film to fuel key conversations; and exploring how race, as well as money and class, can influence our daily interactions.
At times, 2016 made us more than a little weary. But we found words, took a stand, honored legacies, and came together to create change. We also reminded ourselves to appreciate that, in the words of poet Azure Antoinette, wherever we are is, in many ways, exactly where we need to be.
So thank you to our contributors, writers, editors, commenters, readers, and the entire Jopwell community. You make Jopwell what it is, and we’re very excited for the year ahead.
The Jopwell Team
p.s. Have a story or topic you’d like to see on The Well in 2017? Hit us up.
We want to hear from professionals and college students in all industries and at all stages of their career. Email [email protected] with your pitch. Be sure to include your first and last name and the phrase “story pitch” in the subject line. More details here.