We are excited to announce Jeffrey Spector, Co-Founder at Karat has joined Ada’s Advisory Board. As the creator of a company focused on giving software engineering candidates predictive, fair and enjoyable technical interviews, Jeff’s expertise will be an incredible tool for our students as they navigate the hiring process.
Read below to learn more about Jeff in his own words:
What drew you to serve in Ada’s Advisory board?
“I believe deeply in the mission. I am passionate about making access to opportunity more equitable, especially in technology.
Building a more inclusive tech industry is not only the right thing to do but also will result in better, more inclusive innovation for society. All companies are becoming software companies and software engineering is one of the key enablers of this transformation. We need to make sure that the people designing the products and experiences of the future are as diverse and representative as possible.
My career has been focused on helping build organizations that sit at the intersection of business and social good, and Ada fits squarely in this realm. I am particularly drawn to the fact that Ada has the chance to become self-sustaining, which means its ability to scale is only limited by the willpower and execution capabilities of the organization itself. It’s a fantastic model and I am excited about the potential to dramatically scale the organization’s impact. “
How do you see your role on the board; and how will it help Ada move forward?
“Lauren (Ada’s CEO) and the team are probably already sick of hearing me talk about scale! It’s so rare to find an organization and team that is as good as advertised, but Ada just keeps getting better the more I dig in and learn. Now it’s all about bringing this incredible experience to hundreds (thousands!) more qualified students while staying true to the Ada values that made the organization so great in the first place. “
What aspects of your background and experience tie into the Ada community?
“I had the good fortune of serving as Melinda Gates’ Chief of Staff at the Gates Foundation, which was not only one of the most incredible experiences anyone could possibly hope for but also gave me great insight into how to drive real, long-lasting change at scale.
I also deeply respect their ROI-driven approach to creating social impact. Like them, I am an impatient optimist about what we can accomplish. After the foundation, I co-founded Karat, a Seattle based startup which conducts technical (software engineering) interviews on behalf of leading companies like Roblox, Indeed, Intuit, Pinterest, and Wayfair. The interview is a hugely important moment with potentially dramatic consequences for both the candidate and the hiring company–it shouldn’t be left to chance or done in an ad hoc manner. Our aim is to make every interview predictive, fair, and enjoyable.
We’ve conducted over 70,000 interviews to date and so have a close pulse on the hiring needs and demands of top tech companies. We are eager to share that information back with Ada/Adies and just started conducting practice interviews for students to help them better prepare for jobs.
What gender-diverse person or woman in STEM inspires you?
“I may be biased, but I’ve always been inspired by Melinda Gates. In addition to rising up through the mostly male-dominated Microsoft leadership ranks back in the 90s, she (and Bill) have also saved and improved millions of lives, not only through their capital but also through their tremendous hard work. Now, she is leading the way helping to improve the plight of women and girls around the world and driving change in pivotal sectors here in the U.S. She is funding female-led VC firms and companies, helping build inclusive tech hubs, arguing for federally mandated paid leave, and is committed to accelerating women’s power and influence. She’s had a tremendous and direct impact on my life, ensuring that I concentrate on what is most important and showing me that the best leadership is compassionate. “
What is your vision for Ada?
“My hope is that Ada is serving at least twice as many students a year from now. In the future, aside from doubling every year(!), I hope to see the organization leverage its unique community of talented alums and its strong relationships with companies to help significantly overhaul the way those companies hire, retain, and treat their talent so that it is more inclusive and just. I also hope that Ada continues to support Adies throughout their career so that they become the next generation of tech leaders (if they are not already!). “
Do you have an initial message to the Ada community you’d like to share?
Yes! I’m so honored and proud to now be a part of this community–thank you for having me.
Also, please reach out to me if I can be helpful at all. If you are interested in social impact, start-up life, entrepreneurialism, tech hiring, or want some career advice, I’m just an e-mail or Linkedin connection away. Also, if you want technical interview practice + feedback ahead of your next career move, let me know and we’ll get you scheduled.