MEET THE FOUNDER

JD Gershbein

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 LinkedIn’s early years 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 strategic frameworks to support the goals of professionals and organizations intent on tapping into LinkedIn’s immense potential.

From his upbringing in the healthcare profession, JD has honed a healer’s perspective. 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. JD has guided thousands of professionals to greater LinkedIn effectiveness through his exclusive instructional design, which underscores style, substance, and character over disingenuous, automated sales pitches.

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.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JD GERSHBEIN

Why do you concentrate your practice solely on LinkedIn?

I have always understood the value of specialization. In the early days of social media, while most professionals venturing into the education space did so as generalists, I strengthened my value proposition by focusing on LinkedIn and learning as much about the site as possible. As LinkedIn has evolved, it has become more complex, nuanced, and challenging to teach. As a specialist, I am well-positioned to meet the increasing demand for knowledge.

What attracted you to LinkedIn?

From my vantage point, the medium is the perfect blend of art and science, a way for professionals to heighten their personal aesthetic and make a significant intellectual impact on the business community. My work allows me ample opportunity to use every aspect of my academic training and leverage my public speaking, broadcasting, and media production background. LinkedIn also dovetails beautifully with my many creative outlets, including writing, cartooning, photography, and improv comedy.

How did you gain traction on LinkedIn?

For me, LinkedIn came along at the right time. Back then, I did not have a recognizable identity in the business world. The site energized me and enabled me to reimagine myself professionally. When I think back on how I approached the first iteration of my profile, I was like an artist laying fresh paint down on a canvas. I dug deep, found my best narrative, and everything clicked. Little did I know I was developing a methodology that could help others make similar discoveries. I answered a call to lead and went all in. 

You describe your proprietary process as “uniquely collaborative.” What does that mean?

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. 

Who is your ideal client?

Many folks who retain me feel like they have hit a plateau. They are on LinkedIn and have worked on it to some extent but cannot capitalize on their efforts. Most are rebranding and searching for the proper narrative for their LinkedIn profiles. They want to upskill on the site. I am the ideal advisor for professionals who have an insatiable desire to expand their horizons, want the deepest dive possible on LinkedIn, and are betting on themselves to win.

What keeps people from achieving their professional goals on LinkedIn?

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, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, and stress can set in and impede progress. Once people eliminate negative thinking and attach significance to their efforts, they can rise above inhibitions and become more competent, resourceful, and profitable LinkedIn citizens.

What is the most significant benefit you provide to your clients?

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 for LinkedIn that helps them gain context, play to their strengths, and execute confidently. Then, I guide them to new, revelatory insights—about themselves, the people they aspire to serve, and the community they wish to build—that drive growth. That is priceless. 

What can your clients do to ensure a successful engagement with you?

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.