JD Gershbein has earned a stellar reputation as a LinkedIn specialist and gained widespread recognition for his leadership in the LinkedIn educational space. He was a key figure during the early years of LinkedIn and its ascent as the de facto social networking site for business. As the site has evolved, JD has ushered in new, innovative approaches and developed powerful, well-organized frameworks to support the goals of professionals and organizations intent on tapping into LinkedIn’s immense potential.
Having grown up in the healthcare arena, JD brings a healer’s perspective to his work. Keenly aware of people’s challenges in understanding and extracting value from LinkedIn, he addresses the knowledge gap with unique learning experiences and customized programs steeped in neuroscience, psychology, emotional intelligence, design thinking, and applied improvisation. Through his exclusive instructional design, which emphasizes style, substance, and character over disingenuous, automated sales pitches, JD has guided thousands of professionals to greater LinkedIn effectiveness.
Born in Chicago, JD grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, and attended New Trier West High School in Northfield, Illinois. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of Cincinnati, he earned two post-grad degrees at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology (now Illinois Tech), a Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing Communications. JD has contributed written work to The Huffington Post, Forbes, and NBC and guested on prominent TV and radio news programs coast to coast. He is also a student and performer of improvisational and sketch comedy at Chicago’s famed Second City.
I have always understood the value of specialization. When I hung out my shingle as a LinkedIn consultant in 2006, I noticed that most professionals venturing into social media education did so as generalists. I focused my time and effort on learning as much about LinkedIn as possible, keenly aware that this site could radically benefit businesspeople and companies. LinkedIn has become more complex and challenging to teach as it has evolved. As a specialist, I am well-positioned to meet the increasing demand for knowledge.
I find the online world fascinating. When I first laid eyes on LinkedIn, it became an instant passion that has intensified over time. From where I stand, the medium is the perfect blend of science and art. My work affords me ample opportunity to use every aspect of my academic training and flex my creativity as a speaker, writer, broadcaster, and media producer. LinkedIn also dovetails beautifully with my creative outlets, including cartooning, photography, and improv comedy.
For me, LinkedIn came along at the right time. The site energized me, enabled me to reimagine myself professionally, and endowed me with a recognizable identity in the business world. When I think back on how I approached the first iteration of my profile, I was like an artist laying paint down on a canvas. I dug deep and created something fresh. I gained clarity and found my best narrative. Little did I know I was developing a process that could help others make similar discoveries. Then I answered a call to lead and went all in.
Individuals and companies retain me to improve their appearance and performance on LinkedIn, I view my clients as co-creators. Together, we chart the course. I have no cookie-cutter approach, no turnkey system, nor do I work off of templates or AI prompts. People vary in attitudes, personalities, objectives, learning styles, and risk tolerance. What works for one person might not work for another. Therefore, I customize each engagement to meet the specifications and characteristics of each unique client.
People who engage with me feel like they have hit a plateau. They are on LinkedIn and have worked it to some extent, but they cannot capitalize on their efforts. Most are rebranding and struggling to find context in the online world. They want to elevate, create, and be more agile on the site. I am the ideal advisor for coachable professionals with an insatiable desire to expand their horizons, want the deepest dive possible on LinkedIn, and are betting on themselves to win.
The sad reality is that many professionals cannot convert the information they view on a computer screen into intelligence. Or worse, they self-sabotage through indifference, procrastination, or neglect. Impostor syndrome, comparison syndrome, depression, anxiety, and stress can set in and impede progress. My mission is to help clients discard poor habits and eliminate negative thinking to become more competent, resourceful, and profitable LinkedIn citizens.
Businesspeople today are time-strapped, self-absorbed, and under immense pressure to produce. If they commit to doing LinkedIn, they want assurance that their efforts will generate results. I give my clients and students a cognitive framework that helps them acculturate well, play to their strengths, and create the kind of conversations that drive growth. Then, I guide them to new insights—about themselves, the people they aspire to serve, and the community they wish to build. From these insights, they gain the confidence they need to achieve on LinkedIn. That is priceless.
Attitude is everything when it comes to LinkedIn. Learning the site takes significant time and effort. A positive outlook is a must. Like any advisor-client relationship, both parties must set expectations and share accountabilities. I can take my clients from a place of aimless wander on LinkedIn to full proficiency, but they must be willing to migrate out of their comfort zones, trust the process, and do the work.