Having parents who worked in international development, Hayden Brown grew up seeing that there are “amazing and talented people all over the world who don’t have access to great opportunities” despite being very well educated. So it’s not surprising that Upwork’s mission to create economic opportunities so people have better lives resonates with her. Likewise, its philosophy that there is no skills gap; there’s really just a matching gap between where the talent is and where those jobs are.
As chief marketing and product officer, Brown’s role is to come up with solutions to bridge that gap, to enable clients of all sizes to find talent that meets their needs — near or far. Brown cites a recent initiative that enables companies to refine their searches based on location, because sometimes location really does matter. It’s something companies had been asking for, and Brown is proud her team was able to deliver.
Brown’s journey with Upwork began with oDesk more than seven years ago as director of product and marketplaces. She rose to senior VP of product and design in about four years, and assumed her current role in March.
Recognizing the advantages she’s had in life, from the educational opportunities to supportive family, she feels a responsibility to ensure the workplace is a place where women are embraced and thrive. Together with a colleague, she founded a women’s forum within Upwork a couple years ago to enable women to share experiences, knowledge and tools to help one another succeed.