Jordan Williams is currently a Business Leadership Program Associate at LinkedIn. We are also thrilled to share that he is a Work Wider Team Member, partnering with us on social media and webinar content. In his work with us, Jordan is a passionate advocate for voices that should and need to be amplified. When he isn’t working tirelessly for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Jordan loves fashion consulting and styling, in particular in menswear. And – yes – he is always raising the bar for us in both fashionable work attire and authentic expression. At Work Wider we are very proud of him and we can’t wait for you to get to know him better in this interview.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
My village. There are so many people that I can enumerate, but my family and my fraternity brothers are so integral to who I am. My parents and siblings made sure to instill great values into me when growing up. As a teenager and college attendee, having siblings that were 20+ years older than me was important because they were able to impart wisdom from their experiences to me. My fraternity brothers saved me. They helped me from engulfing myself into my worries as we sat the fell clutch of circumstance. The Sigma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated was the best decision I made and I am so grateful for all the benefits I have had in being a brother of this historical chapter. The poems that my fraternity instilled in me during my pursuit of Alpha helped me during the toughest times of my short, yet eventful, life.
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
One of the greatest achievements that I do not have on my resume is my Sophomore – Senior year in college. During that time period I was a college nomad, homeless to say. I spent many times on friend’s and fraternity brother’s couches, and sometimes in some not so great places. All while in school and trying to get a job. I told myself no matter the circumstance I needed a way to get out of this financial hardship. I willed myself to an internship at Target after my Junior year, which gave me the funds to help save for an apartment. After that period of struggle, I finally acquired a place to rest my head and claim my own. The determination and resilience that it took me to do that and endure was unbelievable, but I am forever indebted to that experience because it made me become the hustler that I am today.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
When I am in a position to hire, I want a hustler — someone that is going to find and exhaust all means to get it done, someone that can juggle multiple things, yet someone that can be extremely focused as well.
I do not like people that can’t share the ball. My belief is to lift as you climb. A lot of people do not understand that simple concept, but for those that do they have much success in their endeavors.
“I do not like people that can’t share the ball. My belief is to lift as you climb.”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
I consider myself young still (23), therefore one thing I tell myself is to “embrace my struggle.” It has become my mantra because I am going to experience a lot more struggle. I must embrace it, and through that embrace, I will learn from that struggle.
Which three books, podcasts, or news sources do you think everyone should read? Why?
Nigger by Dick Gregory is an autobiography that showed me a different aspect of the civil rights movement through a celebrity/icon. Dick’s life was filled with struggle and moments of hate but he kept running and fighting for his lane. The running analogy will make sense if you read or have read the book.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall was a book that I read with my girlfriend. The book changed my perspective on feminism from a modern approach. I knew about womanism and how there is a movement of black women trying to help reform what we think of now as feminism. This book also made me reevaluate myself as a black man. It made me look deep in and see how best we can support Black women and things we can do to make them feel safe.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of my favorite books. My cousin — Ash Stephens — gave it to me for my high school graduation. The book helped keep me grounded and spoke to me at a deep level as it is a letter from a father to a son, as well as a black father and son dynamic. This book can help show at a simple, yet eloquent, level the struggle and beauty of being black.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
I break each tenet down and try to understand how I can best complete one in my life.
Diversity: Surrounding myself with diverse individuals, listening and empathizing with other people’s experiences
Equity: How can I make everyone feel like they can bring their diverse self to work, amplifying voices of all those around me, and checking my bias
Inclusion: Make everyone feel like they have a seat at the table.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
Intentionality is extremely important and then understanding that tokenism is not intentionally but a way for talent to leave.