Jane Leu

Ashoka Fellow
San Francisco, United States
Fellow Since 2005
My work: creating systemic change in the labor market by shifting awareness around immigrant inclusion.


This profile was prepared when Jane Leu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
U.S. employers need the skills of foreign-born professionals but are not hiring them, while immigrant professionals are unable to secure positions that utilize their training and expertise. Through Upwardly Global (UpGlo), Jane Leu offers a new way for corporate America to recruit, hire and integrate foreign-born professionals into the U.S. workforce, while helping highly skilled immigrants, refugees and political asylees reclaim their careers. UpGlo is educating employers to adopt immigrant-friendly hiring practices, while preparing candidates with winning strategies for getting and keeping higher-paying, more fulfilling work. It is the only organization working to increase employment opportunities for skilled immigrants.

Jane is pioneering an employment model that builds understanding on both sides of the hiring equation. Her idea is to build demand for foreign-born professionals among leading companies, and help meet this demand with screened, qualified candidates who are prepared to succeed in the American workplace. This will enhance economic opportunities for and reduce discrimination against immigrant and refugee professionals. UpGlo addresses the problems of underemployment of immigrants by promoting global diversity among employers, and helping newcomers with professional backgrounds understand how to enter and succeed in the American workforce.

Faced with an impending labor shortage, the case for companies to hire immigrant professionals is compelling: immigrants are 50 percent more likely than Americans to have a graduate degree. Jane is positioning Upwardly Global as the Fortune 1000’s premier resource on immigrant inclusion. When these companies add the hiring of immigrants to their diversity goals, other employers will follow. And, when individuals placed by UpGlo succeed in senior level positions, they can change the attitudes of their co-workers, break down stereotypes, and open the way for the next level of immigrant-employees.

Jane envisions an America that once again values the innovation that newcomers bring. Her big vision is to create an American labor market that is not limited by ethnicity and values foreign education, expertise and talent. She hopes to break through the insularity of many American communities to welcome the diversity of other cultures.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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