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From Wall Street to Lebanon: Roy Baladi’s mission to create equal job opportunity for all

From black leaders who aren’t given a fair shot to the the blind and vision-impaired. From refugees to single mothers. From the neurodivergent to former prisoners. With Jobs For Humanity, Roy Baladi is on a mission to create equal job opportunity for all. “My biggest inspiration in life comes from seeing people succeed, especially when they come from difficult circumstances”, he says in an interview with ToTalent.eu.

Jasper Spanjaart on April 07, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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From Wall Street to Lebanon: Roy Baladi’s mission to create equal job opportunity for all

After Lebanon was hit by a financial crisis in 2019 — Roy Baladi couldn’t help but feel drawn to the situation. Baladi, a native Lebanese who moved to the United States aged 17, began building an online employment search site called Jobs For Lebanon. Powered by the expertise and platform-building abilities of SmartRecruiters, the site started amassing thousands of visitors and, more importantly, applicants. Within weeks, the site was listed as the #1 option on Google for every search result including ‘jobs’ and ‘Lebanon’.

Then, on August 4th, a devastating explosion rocked Lebanon’s largest city and capital, Beirut. Jobs For Lebanon quickly came with a fundraising option for its growing network — amassing $400k in donations — and serving as a middleman for the distribution of supplies being flown to Beirut. The role Baladi’s new-found organisation plays in the rebuilding of Beirut — both physically and economically — is insurmountable.

The role Baladi’s organisation plays in the rebuilding of Beirut — both physically and economically — is insurmountable.

Just give them a chance

But Baladi wasn’t satisfied in just helping those from his native country. On March 22nd, he launched yet another initiative: Jobs for Humanity, with which he seeks to help underserved job seekers everywhere. “There are so many communities in the world that need the kind of support we’re offering”, Baladi told ToTalent.eu. “But we chose six causes as the starting point: black leaders, the blind and vision-impaired, the neurodivergent, refugees, returning citizens and single mothers.”

“Try Googling jobs for the blind; there are barely any. For this community, unemployment is at 38 percent.”

When asked for a reason behind each target group — Baladi cites unemployment rates that are worrisome to say the least. “Try Googling jobs for the blind; there are barely any. For this community, unemployment is at 38 percent — six times the national and global average. And on earth, almost 1 billion people are neurodivergent, a term that refers to a variation in brain composition that affects things like learning, sociability and mood.”

Whether it’s the 88% of single parents who are moms, raising children on a single income or refugees with marketable, valuable skills, Baladi’s mindset is simple: “Just give them a chance.”

Among those who were neurodivergent — Einstein, Newton and countless other geniuses. “For this community, the underemployment rate is a whopping 80 percent”, Baladi says. And whether it’s systemic racism preventing more black leaders, or the formerly incarcerated who work hard on making amends. Whether it’s the 88% of single parents who are moms, raising children on a single income or refugees with marketable, valuable skills, Baladi’s mindset is simple: “Just give them a chance.”

From the mountains of Lebanon to Wall Street

After graduating from Virginia Tech in computer science, math and finance — Baladi took his talents to Wall Street, attempting to make it as a financial broker. Which he did — even after the ’08 crash. “Twice, the teams I was a part of were all let go, and we had to rebuild during unbelievably tumultuous times”, he says. “I survived the crash, but wondered why I was in this field in the first place. I loved computers, I enjoyed building things, none of which I was really doing.”

“Twice, the teams I was a part of were all let go, and we had to rebuild during unbelievably tumultuous times. I survived the crash, but wondered why I was in this field in the first place.”

Slowly, but steadily, Baladi’s career veered towards recruiting technology. In 2012, he co-founded FreshGrad, an algorithm that helped thousands of students with their job search. The company didn’t quite make it, but it all led up to Baladi’s new-found career, at the intersection of algorithms, tech — and helping people. Later, he joined SmartRecruiters in a full-time capacity as Product Manager and later as the General Manager of SmartRecruiters Foundation.

“My penchant for social work stayed with me in every job I did.”

“My biggest inspiration in life comes from seeing people succeed”, Baladi tells ToTalent.eu. “Especially when they come from difficult circumstances. The experience I look up to most in my childhood was seeing my mom and dad build a boarding school in the mountains of Lebanon. Later in life, I had a chance to do the same in Puerto Plata, a city in the Dominican Republic. My penchant for social work stayed with me in every job I did.”

‘Productive employment and decent work for all’

As for the short-term goals, Jobs for Humanity hopes to simply make its early customers successful. Among them: Nielsen, Spectrum, Checkr and others. “As an employer, Jobs for Humanity makes it easy for you to connect with qualified candidates from any of six under-represented communities”, he says, “and the coaching to interview, hire, and create an enjoyable workspace for them. Our goal is to ensure they hire qualified candidates who thrive in their organisation. Our top focus is delivering hiring success and seeing success stories in each community.”

“By 2030, when world leaders reconvene to see how they performed, we plan to be a or the leading producer for Goal #8: productive employment and decent work for all.”

In the long run, Jobs for Humanity seeks to be a frontrunner for the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. “We are motivated by the promise world leaders made back in 2015 towards a more sustainable and fairer world”, Baladi says. “By 2030, when world leaders reconvene to see how they performed, we plan to be a or the leading producer for Goal #8: productive employment and decent work for all.”

Jobs for Humanity is a volunteer led global movement of job creation for historically underrepresented communities. You’re welcome to join if you feel inspired to volunteer, refer candidates, or invite your organisation to participate. You can also reach them at contact@jobsforhumanity.com.

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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