Originally published on Medium
Moving to the US when he was just twelve years old, from Saint Lucia, he worked hard through school and college, landing a coveted job on Wall Street. But for Rhoden, he was yet to find his true calling. “While working for one of the largest banks in the world was rewarding, it felt like something was missing, and I tried to fill the void by working harder, but it wasn’t the answer.”
So, in 2011, he joined forces with a few of his colleagues and friends to volunteer time, talent, and money to make an impact through nonprofit engagement.
Growing up in Harlem, New York, Rhoden learnt early about the immense impact nonprofits can have. Through mentorship and support from nonprofits, he was able to attend some of the best schools and colleges in the country. Having these opportunities early in his life helped him aspire to more and pursue his ambition. “I never would’ve been able to get to where I was, without help from non-profits. So, when the time came for me to give back, I found so much value in joining the associate board of Row, an NY based non-profit, it gave purpose to my life outside of work.” It also planted the seed for Rhoden’s startup, CariClub.
CariClub, founded by Rhoden in 2015, is a technology platform where young professionals have the opportunity to be matched with junior boards in nonprofits that align with causes they care about. Not only does this benefit nonprofits by being able to access talented candidates, but young professionals also get hands-on experience to develop leadership skills, propelling their careers forward.
For CariClub’s customers this a game changer, they are able to offer their high potential talent an opportunity to contribute beyond the office and to provide experiential skill development opportunities at scale. Says Rhoden, “Our customers really believe in CariClub, they are thinking about employee engagement and social impact in a completely new way, particularly as a program to grow and develop future leaders of the firm. The nonprofit board experience is a great way to do that, while helping their employees grow as leaders and citizens of their communities.”
And the numbers are testament to the effectiveness of the model. In their recent case-study CariClub found that for every 100 millennial employees, CariClub customers save $3.8 million each year on employee leadership development, retention, and engagement costs. Clients have in fact seen an improvement in retention by 30–50% vs. the industry average.
The incredible impact is also echoed by the employees themselves, 60% believe they now have better work life balance, 87% believe companies are able to better retain talent and almost every single member felt more connected to their organization.
In January this year Rhoden joined the Enterprise Social Impact cohort of the SAP.iO Foundry in New York, SAP’s early stage startup accelerator. Through rigorous mentorship from experts within and outside SAP and dedicated programming to help startups succeed, CariClub has been growing from strength to strength. “Our partnership with SAP.iO Foundry New York has been incredibly fruitful, I’ve especially appreciated the opportunity to understand tools like SAP Success Factors and enhance my understanding of the HR-tech space. As a small but growing company at the nexus of people operations and social impact SAP.iO Foundry has been an invaluable resource to us”, says Rhoden.
As he looks to the future, Rhoden is enthusiastic about CariClub’s growth. “Our clients love CariClub and have been public in their support for nonprofit board service (Citi actually just tweeted about us!). We’ve experienced great traction and no churn — and we want to see our market presence grow. At the moment we have 22 corporate clients, 1,000+ nonprofits, 1,000+ young professional membersand by the end of 2019 we hope to be in 30 cities nationally.”
We are also recruiting for our Enterprise Health cohort, if you are (or know) an early stage health tech startup click here for the application.