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Serving the underserved: GSMCON keynote Joey Zumaya’s passion at LinkedIn

Mar 22, 2021

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Joey Zumaya’s passion is to empower underserved communities, and every day, he gets to do exactly that at LinkedIn

LinkedIn might seem like an unlikely place for his calling, but as the Public Sector Manager at the social network, he leads public sector teams focused on using the platform to “create economic opportunity” for communities throughout North America, including working with local government and nonprofits to serve their communities, a topic he’ll also be sharing as a #GSMCON2021 keynote speaker.

“LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, and we emphasize that word ‘every,’” Joey said. “This includes governments and the communities they serve. My team’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every agency and every citizen they serve.”

When he was younger, that same opportunity Joey works hard for others to have, he didn’t. Joey was homeless, living in a Salvation Army shelter for 9 months as his “family was going through a very rough patch,” he said. The shelter allowed him to get back on his feet, get back to school and drastically change his story, which he said was “paramount” to his career.

“I’ll never forget that if somebody like me needs a little bit of help, to give that to them,” he said. “ Just at that right moment, when I got that help, it allowed me to figure out what I needed, how to do it and become who I am.”

And now, he’s in positions to help change other people’s stories as he serves on the National Board of the Salvation Army — the same organization that helped him — and daily at LinkedIn.

“Besides being a really good and cool place to work — that part’s awesome — it’s an added bonus to my passion of helping the underserved, and being in a position to use this platform and resources to do so makes me a very lucky person. I think very few people are able to reconcile with what they want to do outside of work with what they do inside of their work,” Joey commented about working at LinkedIn. “Am I proud of our mission? On a day-to-day basis, to help people who help people, it’s incredible.”

Joey’s team is uniquely positioned, he said, in the ways that they have plenty of assets to share with government agencies and how they partner with the agency to find their talents and how to most effectively use them. This mission-based work doesn’t come without its challenges, but Joey says it’s just part of the fun of working in the government space.

“Government agencies are at an inflection point right now because they know that they can no longer afford to be stuck in the ways of yesteryear, but they’re limited with the systems they use and the budgets they have, and it definitely poses some challenges,” he said. 

Joey continued to explain that those limitations don’t stop governments and nonprofits from connecting and doing their good work using LinkedIn. 

“There’s the Washington State Library that gives LinkedIn Learning to every unemployed person in the state to help them get trained and find jobs,” Joey continued, explaining this happens through a multi-year partnership of a government agency using a public/private company to help their community.

Then, there’s the State of Missouri that’s using the power of LinkedIn to expertly develop their staff. Joey says the State uses “LinkedIn as a resource to not only attract and retain talent, but to develop their over 50,000 state employees. The State integrated this learning tool to say to their employees that not only we want you to be up-to-date, but we want you to get promoted and have internal mobility. In fact, we’re going to pay for it.”

Another few favorite government profiles Joey mentioned were both Bexar County, Texas and Golden Post Awards winner Kern County, California. Both agencies excel at branding themselves and using the platform to genuinely share and reproduce the work that they’re doing for their communities. 

“For us, if we can help these people help people — that makes us smile.”

Being passionate about what you do and helping people succeed is the biggest similarity both Joey, his team and government agencies have to each other. By serving others, doing good work and helping your community right where you are, Joey says the best place to accomplish those goals are on this platform many government agencies might not be fully using, yet. 

“Agencies have a unique opportunity to engage all those who matter in a professional context on LinkedIn, and it’s only going to grow, and grow quickly,” he said. “Two people join LinkedIn every second. Virtually every category and metric LinkedIn uses to measure engagement is having records broken as we speak.”

“Agencies need — not should or want to, need — need to have a strategy on what it means to be on LinkedIn, yesterday.”

Learn more from Joey about using LinkedIn to its fullest potential, how his team works with government agencies and much, much more at his keynote fireside chat at the virtual Government Social Media Conference, March 23-25. Here’s how you can be a part.

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