Make Reality: Questions With Porter Braswell

Porter Braswell Photo

Porter Braswell is only 33 years old. But already, the young entrepreneur, who started his career at Goldman Sachs after attending Yale University, has discovered his life’s work: To create products and solutions that help underrepresented communities find opportunity.

Braswell is the founder and CEO of Jopwell, a New York, NY, USA-based tech startup that works to represent and advance careers for Black, Latinx and Native American students and professionals. He is also the author of “Let Them See You” and the host of the Harvard Business Review podcast “Race at Work.”

Speaking to PMI during the Virtual Experience Series (VES), Braswell discussed the challenges of entrepreneurship, the lessons he learned from the launch of Jopwell, and how he is able to prioritize his work so that he can continue accomplishing his goals.

PMI: What is the most challenging project you are managing right now?

Braswell: We are in the process of rolling out a new business line within Jopwell, and I've taken it upon myself to be the leader of this line to get it out into the world. Trying to balance that, alongside all the other initiatives that I have, is proving to be challenging, but it's a part of the job. It's also what really excites me about being an entrepreneur. As I tell folks, I'll always be an entrepreneur. So, while it's a difficult task to launch a new business line—and that's always something that's difficult to do—it's also what keeps me motivated to stay on this journey, constantly trying to push the boundaries forward.

PMI: What's the most significant project you've ever worked on?

Braswell: The most significant project that I’ve ever worked on was the launch of Jopwell. It was also the most impactful thing I've ever done, and I feel like I've grown the most through that process. There are many events involved in a project launch, but that was the most challenging and rewarding thing that I've ever been a part of.

PMI: What was a key lesson learned from the launch of Jopwell?

Braswell: The key lesson that I learned is that there are a lot of things you can be doing over the course of a day. But what I found to be incredibly helpful is when I start my day—and I still do this—I think about what are the priorities that can move this initiative forward. I write out the tasks that I need to accomplish, but I put them in order by what will be most impactful and get me closer to my goal. I think it's a really good method of ensuring that you're seeing progress is made every single day.

PMI: Do you have one piece of advice to help our community manage projects better?

Braswell: If there's one piece of advice that I can leave with folks when it comes to managing projects, it’s to be very clear on what success looks like and in what time line are you trying to find success. Once you’re explicitly clear on those things, then it's just about priorities. What are the biggest things you can do every single day to get you closer to those milestones?

PMI: What is your moonshot idea that you would love to assemble a team around and make reality?

Braswell: I think I've been fortunate that, at age 33, I've identified my life's work, which is to create products and solutions that help underrepresented communities find opportunity. That takes shape and form in many different things, whether it's a book, a company or a podcast. My personal moonshot is to continue to do that throughout the course of my life. If I can do that on a global stage, I feel I would have lived a fulfilled life. 

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