Jess Von Bank: A Businessperson Disrupting in Now of Work sphere

Inspiring Women in HR Tech


‘Luck is a convenient term for payoff.’ Perhaps the chances of being in the right place at the right time are really the outcome of long trial and error endeavors leading to the milestone. This thought-provoking idea is the brainchild of Jess Von Bank. Jess’s leadership style is to inspire followership. She blazes trails, identifies obstacles on behalf of others, such as leaders and teams, and inspires innovation. She is a massive advocate for identifying power skills, finding your voice, taking up space, challenging the expected, and thinking outside the box. Developing this voice for herself made her visible and influential in conversations centered on women, leadership, and DEI.

Jess is the General Manager of Luminate, Mercer | Leapgen’s vendor services practice created to provide brand strategy, thought leadership, go-to-market support, and solution advisory services to help HR technology providers best position themselves in the market. She also leads the company’s NOW of Work community with over 20,000 HR, talent, and technology professionals who come together to learn, find inspiration and connection, develop professionally, and innovate together. She is both a dreamer and an achiever. Although she is aware that human capacity for a variety of pursuits has its limits, she will always strive to do more, faster. In fact, she has a conviction about thinking bigger and striving for more. Even to the budding leaders, she suggests thinking bigger to have a bigger impact. “All your efforts aren’t going to hit, but one of them will. You’ll think you finally got lucky, but that moment is the payoff for all the little stuff you did along the way,” she states.

Having said that, Jess also points out that dedication and hard work are required to attain desired goals. She once raced the Spartan Beast World Championship in Lake Tahoe, where she finished in the top 9% of women worldwide. It took her more than six hours to complete thirty-eight obstacles spanning eighteen miles at 12,000 feet of elevation. She finished with a broken foot and hypothermia, yet she would do it all over again. Like everything else she does, Jess races that course and dozens of others to show her girls what’s possible — that is, anything.

"It’s important to learn to think, to unlearn what already exists. How else will we create a future that doesn’t yet exist?"

A Journey Worth Appreciating

Jess excels at connecting the dots—between HR technology solution providers and their ideal buyers, between their messaging and go-to-market strategies, and especially between where the market is heading and what that means for brands and people. Her favorite thing is aligning messages with the market; she claims to be a storyteller at heart, although telling the stories of people and work is not simple. This takes the form of influencer and thought leadership activities, public speaking, content development, message development, and marketing strategy, but it boils down to distilling a technology provider’s value proposition down to its most compelling and relevant form. 

Jess started her career as a recruiter in the human resources industry before even realizing the vast segment of HR and talent acquisition technology—before employer branding was a buzzword and while recruitment marketing was beginning to spin off from its consumer and brand marketing relatives. She was good at both the art and science of connecting people to brands, so it didn’t take long for her to run high-volume recruitment teams and begin to design the tools and processes. She started by delivering best-in-class candidate experience and eventually found her way to the vendor side.

Jess saw a huge opportunity to influence change more broadly by influencing the technology itself, and since then she has never turned back. When she joined Leapgen, it was to elevate the company’s brand and message in the market, and when that was accomplished, she took over its vendor services practice to assure the overall industry’s growth in the right direction, including the solution providers.

Jess Von Bank

A glimpse of Leapgen

Leapgen is a global digital transformation company shaping the ‘Now of Work’. Since its inception, it became a highly respected visionary partner to various organizations looking to design and deliver a digital workforce experience that will produce valuable outcomes. Leapgen joined forces with Mercer on March 1, 2023, to provide digital HR strategy globally, and Jess’s work continues to extend valuable support to the industry’s HR technology vendors. 

Leapgen’s foundation was laid on the values of Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof with a bold mission to shape the ‘future of work’. Jess says, “We lead digital transformation in an industry poised for the most significant change it will see in our time.” Business and transformation leaders who bring Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof (the LEAP in Leapgen) to their work and lives to make a radical difference in the world. Mercer | Leapgen consults enterprise organizations on their HR transformation journeys, “but we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach,” adds Jess. She has contributed by meeting organizations where her venture was with bespoke solutions that recognize change as part of the strategy, not the enemy. It takes a human-centered approach to reimagine solutions for the workforce, applying whole-person design thinking when she and her team coach enterprise transformation leaders as well as vendors who design technology solutions to make work better. “Work wasn’t designed for people; it was designed for profit. We believe people can win, too,” Jess proudly says. 

Moreover, Mercer | Leapgen founded Leap4All, its social giving program, to ensure its impact is far-reaching. This includes group and individual volunteer efforts and their charitable activities for several organizations that support mental health and community outreach. Besides Jess’s role at Leapgen, she is also the volunteer president of Diverse Daisies, a non-profit organization that provides enrichment and empowerment activities and opportunities to girls ages 11 to 15. This is a big part of her personal mission to change the world by changing the conversation around women, girls, and their place in the world.

Paving path in a new direction

Jess, in a way, is changing the world as we know it—not only the world of work but also for girls and everyone else. “I do this by being a visible leader for change, by challenging conversations and conventions that don’t serve us any longer, and by encouraging and uplifting as many voices of support as I can,” she adds. She requests championship often and asks for participation and followership to pave paths in new directions. “That’s the constant goal, and the means to that end change as often they need to,” Jess continues.

Further, she states that when leadership breaks down or leaves something to be desired, it’s usually a lack of communication. Transparent, respectful, and bi-directional communication is so humane. It’s the first and best way to see a person: “I see you; I acknowledge you; and I care,” she quotes. A culture of connection relies on trust, and that’s exactly what communication builds when it’s reliable, consistent, accurate, and personal. “Good communication is the single most important ingredient to a well-aligned, highly engaged, inspired, and loyal workforce,” she mentions.

Moreover, Jess believes mentorship is powerful. She asserts that when one is influencing change and driving innovation, they have to be able to imagine and put faith in a future that does not yet exist. Thus, being surrounded by tried leaders, sources of inspiration, and mentors helps to gain better coaching and insight. They can assist in mitigating risks, thinking more broadly, and envisioning new opportunities. She developed her own Personal Board of Directors, a trusted circle she harnessed as a sounding board every time she considered a career move, a personal opportunity, or asked for feedback or advice. To those who aspire to develop their careers in any vast industry, she advises seeking people who can question them and will challenge them for the better.

To conclude, Jess’s greatest accomplishment is found in daily moments, and that’s in the form of raising girls. “Everything I do is for them,” she asserts. She is reshaping the world, including the world of work, every day—for them. She leads a non-profit to change the future for girls. “I know how my work matters and why that makes a difference, and that fuels me to keep going. To make the world better than how I found it.”

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