“My career has always been founded on people”

by John Hilton08 Aug 2017
Jason Laufer, outlines his journey from McDonalds to director of talent and learning solutions, Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn.

1986 – Steps into hospitality

Jason takes on his first job whilst at high school at McDonalds at age 15. Between taking extra shifts and working every station, he becomes an assistant manager while still a teen; this leads to an early career and study in hotel management

“It was a great grounding in life: managing large teams, developing future leaders, dealing with ambiguity on a daily basis in a multi-faceted business. The lessons I learned were the development path for what I’m doing today.”

1996 – Changes lanes

On his return from his overseas working experience for a couple of years, Jason sees the time to be ripe for changing industries and joins Westpac as an inside sales manager. Despite the vast difference in business, Jason finds the kernel of his work to be very similar.

“The skills to do with managing teams were transferable. My career has always been founded on people; my passion has always been around people and developing people.”

1998 – Crosses over into tech

A desire to drive a tech career aligns with the much-hyped Y2K and Jason’s early adopter status when he snags a position at Gateway.

“I bought my first PC in 1995 and was amazed by the access to info online. I had a big curiosity about tech personally; I was very excited by it. When I randomly saw an ad on a job board for managing sales teams in technology I thought I would apply. It was an amazing springboard.”
2000 – Manages the managers

Jason joins Microsoft, where he ultimately remains for six years.

“My career blossomed at Microsoft. It led to managing a large team where I started managing managers: it was a quantum shift in my thinking. Creating great leaders and coaching them on how to coach their teams was exciting -- imparting knowledge to help others is something I am very passionate about.”

2006 – Goes international

Jason is approached by IBM for an APAC role; it is to be the first of several APAC and international roles with Big Blue.

“It was an amazing time and a phenomenal experience leading teams across multiple markets. Managing leaders and teams across numerous cultural nuances and being sensitive to this was a life changing experience. It was a bigger jump than I expected and helped me develop deeper compassion for others and their culture.”

2012 – Stays closer to home

After years of working every time zone and regularly traversing the globe, Jason steps into a role that allows him to stick close to home and to be present for his family.

“I had a huge territory and felt like I was consistently on a plane. It was not sustainable. I was fortunate that a role became available on the ANZ leadership team, and being present at home was a big part of wanting to step into it.”

2015 – Joins LinkedIn
Despite being initially passive – Linkedin approach him after, fittingly, finding him on LinkedIn -- Jason declared himself ‘hooked’ early in the process. He joined as director of talent and learning solutions, Australia and New Zealand.

“I went to the interview out of curiosity. I was sold by the way the talent acquisition partner articulated the culture and values, as well as the instant rapport generated in that one hour. I thought ‘this is somewhere that I am aligned to and I could blossom.’ And I have.”

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