Ximena Hartsock is the co-founder of BuildWithin, which provides software and services for employers to find, onboard, and accelerate the productivity of “new-collar” workers. BuildWithin was founded on the principle that when given the proper access, resources, and training, anyone can move into a career they are passionate about and be successful in it – a philosophy they sum up in their motto, “Potential over Credential”!

Ximena was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, where her father instilled in her a love of books that led her to pursue a degree in Spanish Literature and Philosophy at the University of La Serena. Upon graduating, Ximena moved to the US and started over from the ground up, working a series of service jobs while pursuing a teaching license. She would go on to work in the DC Public Schools for several years, starting as an aide and working all the way up to Deputy Chief for Teaching and Learning. In 2009, Ximena was promoted to Director of Parks and Recreation by then-DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, where she was tasked with the completion of numerous major construction projects such as the Wilson pool and Washington Nationals Baseball Park.

When the Mayor’s term ended, Ximena left local government and became the National Director of Mobilization and Outreach at StudentsFirst, a nonprofit focused on education initiatives. At StudentsFirst, she had the idea for Phone2Action, a technology for civic engagement, and wrote a patent for connecting people to their lawmakers that was granted by the USPTO in 2021.

In this episode, Ximena and Bryan discuss:

  • Ximena’s path from a government career to startup
  • The value of apprenticeship
  • Decision-making as leaders and team members

The show is shared on the following platforms: