High school gave Josh Fechter perspective.
Growing up in a conservative Jewish family, Josh was half-Israeli and spoke Hebrew fluently as a kid. His unique cultural upbringing also gave him a look that ensured he would stand out from others’ – with his traditional peyot sideburns and Tzitzit strings that hung from his shirt.
“I was probably the most awkward kid there,” he says of his first days in high school. As the outward expression of his cultural differences faded over time, however, his empathy for the outsider and his desire to spread inclusivity never did.
In college, Fechter founded a libertarian organization called Young Americans for Liberty that operated on the belief that people should be free to do what they want. He also founded a startup business around the same time. “I was very involved in politics until startup life got to me,” Josh admits, “and then I got sucked in.”
Today, Josh is a founder of the largest online network community for marketers and founders, called Bad Ass Marketers and Founders (BAMF Media for short). He’s seen the community he helped create skyrocket from a small group of 50 to over 17,000 members, with sub-chapters all across the world.
The explosive international expansion of the BAMF Media community left a gaping hole in the company’s staffing needs. Josh and his co-founder started hiring, focusing on community members who headed up brand chapters in international cities – in places like Spain, Greece, the Philippines and Australia. Since summer 2017, the company has hired roughly 20 new employees, and plans to more than double that before this year is out.
Recently, Josh acquired a massive following on LinkedIn. Much of his success on the social network is due to a series of meaningful posts he’s made, mostly centered around how to be a successful startup founder.
One post from December made a particularly big splash amidst national discussions of immigration policy and regulatory changes. The powerful post was about the possibility of deportation for Hendry, a highly valued foreign national employee and the very first employee hired by BAMF Media.
Hendry did have immigration red tape to cut through in order to stay in the U.S. to work. Turned away by Facebook, Snapchat and Google because the tech moguls “didn’t want to deal with visa issues,” as Fechter says in his post, Hendry was accepted by BAMF Media and helped take the company to new heights.
Josh’s words on this topic, which quickly went viral, resonated with many companies and foreign national workers across the U.S., and they helped elevate the conversation about why immigration matters.
Hendry’s complicated immigration issues may have been the reason big companies shied away from hiring him, but Josh and his co-founder saw through his visa issues straight through to his talent, ability and the perfect fit.
So they took a chance on Hendry. After all, “he was taking a risk on us,” admits Josh. “We were a young startup, and we didn’t have a lot of revenue at the time.”
It’s important to BAMF Media and others like it to hire the talent they need, regardless of their country of origin. “It’s rare to find super smart people that understand the type of work you do, especially when you’re dealing with growth,” says Josh.
Enabling freer hiring relies on changing immigration reform on the national level. Immigration policies and regulations that make sense are so important for companies to be able to hire who they want.
“I think hiring is the hardest part of any business,” says Josh. The talent pool in the U.S. is limited for many jobs across the country, especially if you’re looking for people who are very good at what they do. “So being able to make that easier just does wonders.” And sensible immigration is the way to do it.
Ready to hire foreign nationals? Watch our recent webinar, Creating an Immigration Policy for Your Organization for expert tips and strategies.