James Gutierrez Presents SEO Achievement Award to Kenneth Lin — Paparazzi Blogger
James Gutierrez credits the SEO Global Career Program for giving him the opportunity to rise above the struggles of his LA youth to be a successful entrepreneur in California’s Silicon Valley. SEO Global (“Seizing Every Opportunity”), is an organization that provides mentorship, education, and positive peer pressure services for inner-city high school students. To give back to the community and help others achieve success as entrepreneurs, James Gutierrez is an active participant in the SEO Global community. James Gutierrez sits on the organization’s San Francisco Advisory Board.
The SEO Global program includes an annual awards dinner and the annual SEO Scholars Corporate Leadership Award, which is given to an entrepreneur who shows leadership in the corporate world, and in the community. This year’s recipient is Kenneth Lin, the founder, and CEO of Credit Karma. Like Gutierrez, Lin, a Chinese immigrant, grew up poor. In his case, Lin spent his formative years in a rough area of Las Vegas, an environment he says was not often kind to non-whites. In part, because he saw few positive role models in his youth, Lin has made it his mission to act as a mentor to young entrepreneurs and to be a role model for them. As part of the virtual awards ceremony, Gutierrez asked Lin a few questions about how he views his role and responsibilities as a successful entrepreneur.
When asked about his leadership style, Lin reported that there weren’t a lot of Asian role models when he was growing up. That makes him even more dedicated to mentoring young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, especially those with immigrant backgrounds. He expanded on his evolving view of what makes a good CEO, saying that the goal is not to be tougher, but rather, to be true to oneself and being sincere. Lin finds it crucial to connect with others and have integrity in the professional sphere.
Much like Lin, Gutierrez has relied on his belief systems and integrity to guide his professional trajectory. For experienced Finance Tech leader James Gutierrez, his drive for inclusive banking led to his development of innovative lending companies. James Gutierrez, like Lin, touts the importance of maintaining a connection to the community and works diligently to establish trust with customers.
Racial Justice And Equality
Gutierrez pointed out that the awards ceremony was taking place at the same time as one of the presidential election debates. He emphasized how important the issues of racial justice and equality have become, not just in the election, but in our broader society. James Gutierrez, a proponent for inclusion, asked Lin about his views on the subject.
Lin responded by saying, “Racism is out there and we have to speak out against it”. Lin is certainly doing his part. He explained how his 1,300 Credit Karma employees recently launched an initiative to register people to vote. The effort resulted in more than 400,000 people starting the voter registration process. Lin is adamant about the importance of voting, not just in the presidential election, but in local elections.
Like Lin, James Gutierrez has fought to create systemic change in a system that has traditionally excluded individuals from opportunity. Through his professional ventures, Gutierrez has leveraged technology to assist underbanked communities in getting access to liquidity to improve their financial wellness. Additionally, James Gutierrez has worked on the development of important legislation to forward the mission of inclusivity, racial equality, and access to financial services for all.
Advice To Students and Budding Entrepreneurs
Finally, when asked what advice he would give to SEO Global graduates, Lin offered three pieces of advice. First, to never stop learning, because you never know what life will throw at you. Next, to follow your passion, and finally, to remember to pay it forward. In Lin’s view, there’s a social obligation for successful people to help those less fortunate and give them a leg up so they, too, can eventually pay it forward.
About James Gutierrez
James Gutierrez is a successful social entrepreneur. In addition to his role at SEO Global, Gutierrez is the CEO and Co-Founder of Insikt Ventures, an early-stage investment fund. Insikt’s notable investments include OnDeck Capital, Listo!, and Blend Labs. James Gutierrez, an experienced VC investor, was also an early investor in StubHub, Trulia, and OkCupid. He sits on the boards of Talent Inc., Listo!, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
A graduate of Yale University, Gutierrez has served on the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council and on the Centennial Advisory Committee. He is frequently invited to speak at financial industry conferences on financial services innovation. Gutierrez has also co-authored and helped to pass several pieces of state and federal legislation designed to “increase the availability of safe and affordable small dollar loans” to individuals.
About Kenneth Lin
Kenneth Lin founded Credit Karma, a free online credit score monitoring service, in 2007 and serves as the company’s CEO. Born in China, Lin emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was four years old. He graduated from Boston University with degrees in mathematics and economics, paying his tuition by working several service industry jobs. He was the first one in his family to complete college.
Lin started Credit Karma after trying to monitor his own score and realizing how expensive the process was at the time. Today, Credit Karma employs more than 1,300 Karmites (as the company’s employees are known) and has more than 85 site users.
Originally published at http://paparazziblogger.com on December 17, 2020.