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Welcoming our new VP of Community & Talent Success!

Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
1 of 31

We are pleased to introduce Fran Murphy, our new VP of Community and Talent Success! In this role, Fran is focused on building upon the already thriving Upwork Community as a place to connect around a common purpose, values, and objectives. Community members have helped to build a robust Community. Now, we invite you to come along on the journey as we work to make Community even better—a place where all voices are amplified. Read more about Fran and his vision for the Upwork Community.

21-08 Blog Header Image for Fran M.png


Ask Me Anything session with Fran - August 11 through August 13

Have a question or suggestion you’d like to share with Fran to help make our community the best it can be? Post your questions here and Fran will answer them until Friday! 


Welcome Fran, we are excited to see what’s next for the Upwork Community!

~ Valeria
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
2 of 31

I'd really love to hear about Fran's freelance career and how he will use that experience to build a community of freelancers. 

Community Manager
Fran M Community Manager Member Since: Jun 29, 2021
3 of 31
Amanda L wrote:

I'd really love to hear about Fran's freelance career and how he will use that experience to build a community of freelancers. 

Thanks for the great question Amanda and apologies for the long answer!

My background is building Community, and driving value for the members of those Communities. I have not been a Freelancer, but let me tell you a little bit about what i want to achieve with the Upwork Community, and why i joined Upwork in the first place.


I truly love the Upwork mission, it was the thing that hooked me. As someone who had a loving childhood, but equally did not grow up with much financially, the idea that i could be part of an organisation that wants to democratize work and provide economic opportunity on a global scale, was something i had to be a part of.


We have a huge opportunity to create a differentiated experience for our Community and to enable, elevate and amplify the incredible talent using our platform. 

This is a journey, and like i said, i haven't been a freelancer before. But luckily i get to lead a team filled with incredible freelance talent, and i get to be part of a Community with nearly 8 Million talented freelancers. It's that team and this Community that will make sure what we build is something that adds value.


The vision we have for the Upwork Community, is for it to become the World's  Work Community. This sounds great, but what does that mean?

It means that our north star, is a Community that transcends just Upwork. A Community that can be the place for everyone embracing the massive shift in how we are choosing to work. Supporting our Upwork talent will still be core to what we do, but our talent should be positioned as the thought leaders of the next phase of how the world works.

Community means we're in this together.

So my ask of you and all the members is to let me know what you like, what you don't like, and what you think we should be doing.

What i will do in return is make sure we embrace the ideas from the Community, never settle and continually work to make this Community the platform you deserve.


So, as we continue to figure out more formal ways to get your voice added to the vision, you can post in the forums, or message me directly with any, and all your ideas. I can't promise we can do everything, but i can promise i will read them, and i can promise i will hear you. 

Thanks, Fran

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
4 of 31
Fran, no offense but that sounded like a bunch of nonsensical jargon. We are real people here who have successfully built businesses. It's getting tiresome that Upwork keeps hiring people who are going to "transform" things for us when they don't have experience doing what we do. It also doesn't feel like democratizing when Upwork is trying to stick its nose into every facet of how we work. I'd much rather you focus on addressing fraud on the platform, which clearly not enough resources are spent on.

This kind of jargon filled propaganda makes it hard for me to take Upwork seriously and makes me reconsider being affiliated with the platform.

If Upwork is so proud of the "talent" then why doesn't Upwork hire from that talent? Also, stop calling us talent. We are business owners.
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
5 of 31

Amanda L wrote:

If Upwork is so proud of the "talent" then why doesn't Upwork hire from that talent? Also, stop calling us talent. We are business owners.

I have come to the conclusion that "talent" refers to all the wannabe freelancers that either have no talent for freelancing or only a talent for scamming clients and fellow freelancers.

Community Leader
Gergana K Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
6 of 31



Adding on to what Amanda has said, and as a communications professional myself with a feel for how words come across on the other side, I can confirm that your choice of words to address us is quite unfortunate. Let me count the ways you´ve used tired, trite managementspeak mumbo-jumbo in your message:


- "building community" (by the way, "community" should be spelled with a lowercase "c" - same as "freelancer" with a lowercase "f" and "million" with a lowercase "m") 

- "driving value"

- "enable, elevate, and amplify"

- "an organization that wants to democratize work"

- "create a differentiated experience"

- "never settle"

- "this is a journey"


Fran, any freelancer with a modicum of self-awareness and experience in the corporate world or working with corporate clients knows these are empty slogans. Drop the wannabe inspirational TedX/investor pitch soundbites, please. We are not cattle that awaits to be ushered through the gates of enlightenedment by a shepherd like you. If Upwork wants to be helpful and "add value", it can start by rethinking a couple of aspects that would actually make freelancers' experience on the platform more rewarding:


- rethink the "black box" approach to JSS and rethink giving so much evaluation power to clients, who can tank a top-rated freelancer's rating at the drop of a hat with a single arbitrary private feedback, while same clients rarely experience such effects on their own


- seriously retrain Upwork's recruitment specialists and Talent Scouts, who often have no clue how to interpret job fields, how to engage with highly specialized freelancers, or even how to appropriately set up milestones and contracts in the case of Enterprise clients


I hope this helps and I wish you smooth sailing on your journey engaging and empowering the Upwork talent workforce! 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 31



You didn't actually answer Amanda's first question, which is about your background. Even if you have never freelanced (though that would help greatly towards understanding what it is about), we would love to know is what experience you have (in any domain) in "community building" and "driving value". 


As to what we do and don't like - you can trawl through these very  pages of community likes, dislikes, rants, and other items of interest to your heart's content - it will take you a while. And if you want more, I am sure people will not be shy in coming forward! 


Good luck!  Smiley Wink

Community Guru
Maria T Member Since: Nov 12, 2015
8 of 31

Well, in addition to everything that you have already been told, I would like to know exactly what your role is.

Please, with simple language, there are people here for whom English is not their first language and all that jargon is not too understandable.


On the other hand, in addition to what Nichola has said about all the information you already have in these forums about our opinions, I think it would be more appropriate for you to raise the points you are supposed to work on and wait for the opinions of the FREELANCERS about from each of them.


Keep in mind that many of us are a bit tired of giving opinions and that we are ignored.

Community Leader
Fortune A Member Since: Feb 3, 2020
9 of 31

To be honest here, a community manager for a place like UW is not going to be an easy task because a lot of seasoned professionals who have encountered alot of challenges through the years will not be pleased to see mistakes being repeated. The leadership of UW would have found one of its business owners who has had more years of freelancing  and pair him with Fran, this way the both of them can have a great time to show how things can be improved. 

All the best on your huge task Fran.

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
10 of 31

I see the forums as a fun way to spend occasional time, trying to help serious freelancers who have valid questions, tearing my hair at the naivite of newbies falling for the oldest scams, ignoring people who send me private messages asking for jobs. In short, they are entertaining. 

I have no idea how to improve them. They are just message boards. Yes, it is truly nice to get to know some other freelancers virtually, but to go beyond that? I don't know. 

Many many posts are from newbies that haven't taken the time to read ToS, are complaining that they can't find a job, etc. IMO, the most important thing is to have a real test before they get approved, proving they have read and understood ToS. Make it with rotating questions, so they don't just copy/paste. 

Lastly, I agree with everything Amanda said.