GigBlenderTM is a company on a mission to help organizations build a better workforce with each new hire. Technology designed with intent – GigBlender’s web app connects talent with opportunity through a unique profile-building approach combined with a proprietary algorithm that gauges the level of “fit” between the individual, the hiring organization and the job. We empower individuals and organizations to evolve with each new hire.
Finding talent has become a major concern for many organizations. Workforce demographics have changed dramatically over the last decade. Lack of workplace and workforce diversity is now among the biggest challenges organizations face. All the while, hiring and employment disparities continue to grow.
So what drives the GigBlender team? Being part of the solution.
Our Mission: To harness the power of technology and social enterprIse to bridge one of the most important gaps – the Employment Opportunity Gap. We empower individuals and organizations to evolve with each new hire.
Our Philosophy: We believe that a diverse organization is a better organization – one that not only values input from its employees, but wants to build a culture that sees the benefit in a range of perspectives, no matter one's race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, thinking style, language, religion, or abilities.
Our Vision: By uncovering and focusing on fit, GigBlender will be the preferred solution for organizations that are as committed to workplace diversity as they are to their other business goals. GigBlender will be the go-to app for individuals to find a gig they are passionate about.
"The typical job ad focuses on what the employer wants from the applicant. Ads that focus on what employers can offer job seekers ... result in better employee-company matches,"
– David Jones, University of Vermont
"66% of U.S. companies have been affected by a bad hire. 27% have cost the company over $50,000."
– Fast Company
Decades of experience across multiple sectors where we've been on both sides of the equation helps us understand the issue. As a start-up shaped by men and women from different backgrounds, ranging in age from 25 to 70+, we believe that a mix of old school wisdom and new school strategy is what's needed. It's not good enough anymore just to be in compliance — you need to be competitive.
The GigBlender team embodies our mission. We are a group of people of different ethnicities, ages, backgrounds, genders and perspectives — linked by a passion for progress.
Co-Founder/CEO: Mark Richardson
Richardson is a Chicago-area native with 25 years of experience creating new business models and is the driving force behind GigBlender. His career has centered on attacking market challenges within and across the Private, Public, and Nonprofit sectors. He has always asked the question "Why?"… and long believed that, "Because that's the way we've always done it." is not an answer, but an excuse.
Mark is, by nature, a connector of people and a team-builder. He has been charged with forging strategic partnerships in nearly all of his professional roles. Mark's passion for Diversity & Inclusion started as a youth and has now grown to drive his work in both corporate and civic arenas. He knows how to attract and develop talent. He knows how to succeed.
Co-Founder & Founding COO: Mark Clear
Mark Clear's career arc has spanned radio, television, Web software and politics. The common threads are innovation, challenge, and a desire to serve. A native and life-long resident of Madison, Mark founded IMS in 1995 to develop software for managing Web sites, is the consulting CTO for several non-profit organizations, and is an eight-year veteran of the Madison City Council. GigBlender was his third startup.
Strategist & Founding CTO: Emily Van Haren
Born and raised in the Madison area, Emily discovered her love for technology in middle school, filling her notebooks with handwritten HTML code. After accidentally walking into an iOS app development course at MATC (and staying), she entered an international contest hosted by Apple and won the prize – a week at the HQ in Cupertino with top Apple engineers. She was invited back for an internship, and was then offered a job once she wrapped up her degree at MATC (graduating May 2015).
People come to her with app ideas all the time, and she thought this one had huge potential.
Chief Science Officer: Steve Robbins
Robbins immigrated from Vietnam to L.A. when he was five years old. He and his mother faced many challenges during a time when there was much anti-war and anti-Vietnamese sentiment. Working through and rising out of the challenges of poverty and discrimination, Dr. Robbins now brings insightful perspectives on issues of diversity, inclusion and the power of caring.
A published author and highly requested keynoter, he has presented at numerous conferences and workshops around the world for organizations including Boeing, Cleveland Cavaliers, Department of the Treasury, HSBC Bank, Microsoft, NASA, Northrop Grumman, T. Rowe Price, Walt Disney, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he has worked with nonprofits and national associations, including the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
The core of his work is about understanding human behavior in a world full of human differences. With a Ph.D. in Communication Science from Michigan State University, his background in communication, socio-psychology and cognitive neuroscience drives his work with individuals and organizations.
Robbins brings his expertise, wealth of experience and unique approach to the GigBlender team. He has long been focused on engaging individuals in addressing issues of diversity and inclusion and inspiring people to rethink their own realities and the realities of others. His addition to the GigBlender team further strengthens their commitment to develop "Technology Designed With Intent."
Robbins currently resides with his wife and four children in Grand Rapids, MI.
Further information about Dr. Robbins can be obtained at his website
V.P. of Communications: Freya Reeves
Freya is a self-professed "startup junkie" who pursued multiple career tracks in Chicago while working with big brands in the lifestyle, fashion, advertising and editorial arenas. In early 1995 she said a hearty "Yes!" to Lands' End and a chance to become an e-commerce pioneer, as part of the start-up of landsend.com.
She has long harnessed technology to reach and serve customers and to help them find the "perfect fit" – (which applies to a lot more than clothing). As an entrepreneur, magazine founder and publisher – and as a practitioner of integrated marketing for Leo Burnett, Hallmark, McDonald's, Giorgio Armani and other luxury and lifestyle brands – Freya excels in helping companies create customer delight. She is eager to bring her perspective and love of "rocking the boat" to GigBlender as it redefines ways of matching people with opportunity.
Brand Strategist – Kesha Hatch Bozeman
A highly respected marketer, Kesha is known for her ability to create a compelling vision, solve complex challenges, and lead teams. While completing her MBA, she became enamored with brand management. Kesha has 12+ years of high impact experience at top Fortune 100 companies. She is affiliated with iconic brands that delivered on what they promised in a memorable way – the Kellogg Company, Frosted Flakes, Special K, The Disney Company, Kraft, Oscar Mayer and Lunchables, to name just a few. Kesha has a proven track record of driving market dominance, accelerating sustainable revenue and profit growth, creating world-class advertising, and translating strategies into measureable results.
At the beginning of her career it was all about success; she wants the next chapter to be about significance. The opportunity to work with GigBlender hits a sweet spot of applying her substantial expertise to bringing a new, mission-based brand to life while helping position the business for an epic win for all.
Graphic Design Director: Anne Hawley
Anne fell into graphic design rather unintentionally back in 1996 while earning her BA in Journalism at UW–Oshkosh. She happened to take an elective course in graphic arts, igniting her passion for design. Her first job after graduation was running ad proofs at a newspaper. She assumed that would be her way into an eventual writing gig, but when a design position opened up, she jumped at the opportunity.
Having spent most of her life in a smaller community, in 1999 Anne decided to move to Madison. While her career at a small ad agency has been quite stable, her personal life has changed considerably. Now married with two young children, life is a constant juggling act.
Finding the balance between her career and home life is something Anne strives for daily. Being able to do what she loves for a company that both values her and what is important to her is something she believes everyone should have. She is excited to contribute to GigBlender, whose mission is to help others achieve that very goal.