Why I joined Handshake: A letter from our Chief Legal Officer

Valerie Capers Workman shares how a personal and professional encounter with Handshake led her to this role with the company.

I am so excited to start my new role as Handshake’s Chief Legal Officer!

Two years ago, I was tapped to lead the People function at Tesla after a decade of legal leadership roles. It was a new challenge, and I was inspired by Elon Musk’s vision for a better future made possible by sustainable energy to take on this new role with the company. 

After speaking with Garrett Lord, CEO of Handshake, I sensed a similar kind of inspiration about the future of work and career opportunity. Following that conversation and several fortuitous encounters with Handshake from both the student and the employer perspective, I took a closer look at Handshake and was truly impressed by what I learned.

Democratizing Access To Opportunity

Handshake’s mission to democratize access to opportunity hit home, quite literally. My son is a college senior and during his summer internship, I asked him about his experience and whether he would consider applying to a full-time position. He said he wasn’t sure because Apple had reached out to him on Handshake and he was going to respond to the inquiry.

As a mother, I was excited that my son was getting this kind of exposure and interest. I was surprised that a major company like Apple had discovered him as a candidate, particularly because he was an undergrad at a school that is not at the epicenter of tech recruiting. I knew then that I had to learn more about Handshake.

Expanding Employer Talent Pipelines 

As I did my homework, including watching Garrett’s interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC, I became increasingly impressed with Handshake’s solutions and commitment to closing talent gaps. Virtually every company today is wrestling with how to attract new talent, how to diversify pipelines, and how to intensify recruiting efforts while reducing the cost to acquire talent. The pandemic introduced a new challenge that Handshake is designed to solve: how to connect safely with students without setting foot on college campuses. As a former HR executive, I know first-hand how important it is to get recruiting right. And it’s clear to me that Handshake is a critical tool for recruiters. 

Mission-Driven Team Focused On Excellence

During my interview process, I had the opportunity to meet almost two dozen members of the Handshake team. From the C-suite to members of employee resource groups, including one called Wakanda, a community for Handshake employees of African or related descent, I was so impressed with the high bar of talent. Everyone displayed a keen focus on execution, and commitment to a mission that aimed to level the playing field for all students regardless of their background or lack of existing “connections.”

Come Join Us!

I couldn’t be happier to be joining Handshake. We are hiring across all groups, but I am particularly looking forward to building a world-class legal team. If you think that could include you, please get in touch!

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