Porter Braswell
While diversity recruitment was the pain point Porter Braswell founded Jopwell on, he is also working to address the other half of the employment equation: retention. Jopwell

Porter Braswell left a promising career in finance practically on the eve of a promotion at Goldman Sachs--walking away from a career in which he'd amassed five years' experience--to found Jopwell, a career platform designed specifically for Black, Latinx and Native American students and professionals.

"Am I crazy to take a leap of faith and build a tech company while being non-technical, building a recruiting company [when] I've never done recruiting, and being an entrepreneur when I've never built anything?" he recalls thinking to himself.

In this exclusive interview for Social Capital, he is open about the soul-searching that led to his decision "to follow what I felt I was called to do" coupled with the insights he gained from consistently being asked to go back to his college alma mater and "recruit others that looked like me."

Porter shares, "So I thought, there had to be a more efficient and effective way where I can assist not just financial institutions but all institutions with diversity recruiting. I saw it was a major pain point. It was something I was passionate about." At the same time, a personal loss had generated introspection as to "What can I do with this time that I have?" Those two trains of thought converged as he realized, "Balancing business with making impact was something that was really attractive to me."

Porter is quick to give credit to the many nonprofits in the diversity recruitment space that had been "doing incredible work for decades." But the very fact that they were nonprofits limited their ability to scale. "We're solving a business pain point here. Any other business pain point that you're solving is not going to be a nonprofit, so why should diversity recruiting be a nonprofit? That did not sit well with me at all, and I refused to build a nonprofit because there's nothing wrong with making money when doing well in the world."

Proposing a capitalistic solution, Porter knew he would need capital, and he recognized he would need to show investors a return for their investment. He makes a great case in explaining how those returns come out of the same results he was striving for in the first place: hiring people.

While diversity recruitment was the pain point Porter founded Jopwell on, Porter is also working to address the other half of the employment equation: retention. For starters, he says, "You have to make people believe that they're being seen, that their voices are being heard, and that they are valued." His thought-provoking observations about being "the only" in an organization give those concerns an added dimension.

"Ultimately, what I've learned in this journey is, generally we all want the same thing. We want the ability to show up to work in spaces where we all collectively feel like we belong, where we want to work hard for our colleagues, where we all believe people have the right and good intentions. And I think where things get jumbled is that we don't understand each other's context and how we are entering in the space," Porter shares.

Watch the video below to learn more about Porter Braswell and his deeply moving reasons for taking such a dramatic turn in his career. (He is also the author of Let Them See You: The Guide for Leveraging Your Diversity at Work.)