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Creating Opportunities

By Tiffany Truong, director of marketing and communications
Adam Saven ’08 is the co-founder and CEO of PeopleGrove, a technology platform that offers college and university students and alumni access to virtual mentorship and career opportunities.
Access to an alumni network is one of the advantages of belonging to a college or university community. In today’s complex and interconnected world, leveraging connections and mentorship is important for career success. Adam Saven ’08 co-founded PeopleGrove, a technology platform, to help strengthen the connections and communities in colleges and universities.

Founded in 2015, PeopleGrove helps institutions connect students and alumni with mentorship-focused opportunities, including personalized career connections, internship/job listings and career readiness resources. Stanford University, Wellesley College and Johns Hopkins University are among more than 350 institutions worldwide that utilize PeopleGrove.

In 2020, PeopleGrove earned two prestigious accolades. Saven and co-founder Reilly Davis were celebrated as top entrepreneurs on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Later in the year, the company earned the No. 112 spot on the 2020 Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list, recognizing the fastest-growing private companies  in America. 

“Most often, our university partners rely on their alumni community to be the resources that students and fellow alumni can connect with to improve their likelihood of getting a good job or making a career change,” says Saven. “Since the majority of jobs are never publicly posted, these networks are crucial for job seekers to discover and access opportunities. The lack of this social capital has been referred to as the ‘outsider problem’—something that we’ve worked to address with our 350-plus higher-ed partners.”

Higher-education institutions face increasing pressure to demonstrate their value proposition and ROI for their students. “That return is primarily defined as a good job,” shares Saven. “Higher ed has to visibly demonstrate its value and must do so by ensuring that students are confident in their employability and have a good job waiting for them at graduation.”

Saven is passionate about leveling the playing field for first-generation students and graduates who may not have an inherited network from parents or guardians. “Given how important social capital is to a student’s path of study and eventual career, it is crucial that first-generation students have immediate access to resources to help them catch up to the level of their peers,” says Saven. 

Amid the pandemic, PeopleGrove launched a new, free software called Bridges in direct response to the employment challenges caused by COVID-19. Bridges is a marketplace for alumni to offer students opportunities to fulfill short-term projects, in turn allowing students to gain work experience. 

“Students and recent graduates were faced with  postponed or canceled internships and even rescinded  full-time employment offers,” Saven shares. “For students, this meant that many lost the opportunity to gain crucial, real-world experience that proves to be the cornerstone of their résumés as they graduate. For recent graduates, it meant the loss of income and the delayed start of careers.”

At the core of what it does, PeopleGrove is investing in students—the future of the nation’s success.  “I personally feel very fortunate in the investments my parents made in my education at LJCDS and beyond,” says Saven. “From these investments, I was fortunate to be exposed to career paths and possibilities that I would not have had access to otherwise.

I wanted to pay it forward and ensure all students and young people regardless of their background—who your parents are or where you’re born—have access to the mentors and social capital needed to unlock opportunity. This remains our mission today.”
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