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Aug 17, 2022
Team Spotlight: M'Chelle R, Director, Upwork Academy

Earlier this year, we announced Upwork Academy where we’ll provide tools for success to help you build and grow your business. Through our easily accessible and interactive suite of resources, you can access guided learning paths, deep-dive courses on specific topics, group coaching, videos, infographics, and more. You can quickly get to these features from the “Academy” menu at the top of any Community page. 


As Academy continues to grow, I reached out to the team that’s making the magic happen to share about themselves and their roles. And what better way to start this series than with the Director of Upwork Academy, M’Chelle R! M’Chelle joined Upwork just 10 months ago and her team has already made incredible progress. Learn more about M’Chelle in her own words below!


M'Chelle and her familyM'Chelle and her family

How did you come to join Upwork?


M’Chelle R: “My professional background is in higher education, and I spent many years in career services connecting students to employers and developing job and internship opportunities. My experience was in very large/diverse, research I institutions, so providing support and services at scale was a skill I brought to my position at Upwork. Upon learning more about the mission for Academy, and Upwork as an organization, I knew that I could bring a learning and development perspective to the team and we'd be able to create an interactive and meaningful space for talent to learn and grow on the platform.”


What do you do in your role?


MR: “I oversee the Academy team within Community, supporting our on-demand content development (courses, learning paths), our talent coaching team who work with talent across all industries, and our Upwork Skills Certifications that allow [freelancers] in [Web, Mobile, and Software Development] and [Design & Creative] industries to receive certifications to display on their profiles for clients. A big part of our Academy mission is creating social impact through strategic partnerships and global outreach. We are working to make the talent pool on Upwork more reflective of the global workforce and we hope to leverage our Academy resources to help more talent build successful businesses on the platform.”


What’s your favorite part of your role?


MR: “Our social impact partnerships are currently my favorite part of the Academy roadmap. We've been developing partnerships with incredible organizations who serve communities across the world, and it is an honor to be supporting those communities on Upwork. We have partners skilling talent in Gaza City, partners who are supporting displaced refugee talent from Ukraine and other countries, and partners dedicated to empowering women in tech. We are also embarking on a new initiative with colleges and universities to bring in younger, diverse talent through Academy and provide a high-touch level of support to those students joining the platform. We have made incredible connections so far and are only just beginning to see the outcomes from this work in Q3.”


What’s your favorite part of working with/for Upwork?


MR: “The community of staff and talent at Upwork has been a huge surprise. I feel very connected to the mission of our organization, to the teams and colleagues across the business, and am honored to be led by a CEO as inspiring as Hayden. This is my first completely remote role, and I assumed it would be difficult to feel a sense of work community, but Upwork goes above and beyond to make everyone feel part of the larger team. I am also really proud to be part of an organization that is so transparent and vocal about their mission and values. It is refreshing to be part of a company that takes the lead in declaring our support for causes that matter to me and my family.”


What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?


MR: “I am a major bookworm, and am usually reading multiple novels at once via different apps on my phone. I live in LA, by way of NYC, and having access to incredible public library apps and resources is something I never stop appreciating. I also have a toddler who loves to read, so we are basically drowning in books around the house, which is a dream my pre-teen self would be proud of.”

We have an amazingly talented team behind Upwork Academy and next week we’ll feature another team member who’s playing a key role in bringing Academy to life.


Which part of Upwork Academy will be most valuable to you?