Hi everyone! My name is Jade and I’m excited to share my career journey with you. I joined the Handshake team as an intern just over three years ago, back when #HandshakeHQ was a house in Palo Alto. Since our early days, Handshake has grown and evolved, much like my role at the company has as well. I now work on the University side of our business as a Product Manager. More on that later. While I now live in San Francisco, until the rest of my family moves to the West Coast, I will continue to call Michigan home. When I am not working, you can usually find me running, reading or brushing up on my ballet technique. If you are looking for a new book, I would highly recommend picking up The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt!
Let me start by taking you back to beginning of my time at Handshake. On my first day, I held the proud title of ‘Customer Success Intern.” We were in the very early startup phase at the time and just about to launch our first large cohort of colleges, growing from 5 to 60 campuses. My main goal was to ensure every single college career service office was able to successfully launch Handshake. I’ll be honest — it was stressful. A lot of pressure was riding on those early days and we wanted to make sure every student who joined Handshake had a good experience. So, off I traveled from one college campus to another, personally helping universities get up and running on Handshake. Once these training courses proved to be successful, it created a position that I stepped into as an Account Engineer dedicated to scaling our training and education for universities. It was rewarding to grow professionally just as Handshake was growing as a community.
Now, I am sure you’re wondering — what exactly does a Product Manager do? I can assure you that as a little girl in Michigan I didn’t say “when I grow up, I want to be a Product Manager.” But, here I am today doing what I love. I get to spend my day thinking about how to make Handshake better for universities and career center staff. I take the feedback from our partners on campus and see how we can work together to grow and adapt Handshake to meet the needs of career service and students. Alongside our Customer Success, Design and Engineering teams, we work together to build a product that empowers universities to make informed decisions about how to prepare students for careers of their own.
I have always had a passion for education and helping students realize their potential, but I didn’t realize right away that it could be my career. In 2013, I walked across the graduation stage of Central Michigan University and stepped into the real world with a B.A. in Mathematics. Good news: lots of paths for math majors. Not-so-good news: I was overwhelmed with which path to take. Large insurance companies were active on my campus, so I ended up accepting an offer as a Software Developer, where I was maintaining systems in COBOL (a programming language which first appeared in 1959!). It wasn’t the most exciting start to my career, but I was eager to learn something new. I quickly started to crave a role that was more aligned with my interests in education, so I began volunteering at a local Boys and Girls Club. This experience affirmed for me what it meant to feel connected to your work, and it was a turning point professionally. From there, I began researching and exploring ways I could connect the technology and education world in my career — which is why Handshake was the perfect fit for me.
Alright, everyone! Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit about me and my journey to Handshake. I am proud to work with a team that is always up for a challenge and focused on educating students on how to find meaningful careers. If you’re passionate about making a difference, #TeamHandshake is hiring! Check out our open roles at www.joinhandshake.com/careers