PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JJ Xu, founder and CEO of TalkMeUp was profiled by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) in their video series “Immigrant Founders In Their Own Words” focusing on skilled immigrant entrepreneurs. Ms. Xu was raised in China, moved to the United States to pursue a graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University, and stayed in Pittsburgh to launch TalkMeUp, an award-winning tech startup.
The Economic Innovation Group is a bipartisan public policy organization dedicated to forging a more dynamic and inclusive American economy. Headquartered in Washington, DC, EIG produces nationally recognized research and works with policymakers to develop ideas that empower immigrant workers, entrepreneurs, and communities.
According to the EIG, immigrants represent:
- 14% of the US population,
- more than 30% of US inventors, and
- 38% of Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine, and physics since 2000.
Xu is a shining example of the positive results that can be achieved when immigrants are encouraged, supported, and enabled to strive toward their goals as opposed to being stifled in lower-level jobs. Many immigrants bring with them ideas, knowledge, expertise, passion, and motivation to create.
“I could live in many other places, but I chose America because the American dream appealed to me,” said JJ Xu, founder and CEO of TalkMeUp, Inc. “People work hard to fulfill themselves … that’s the kind of life I wanted to live.”
Developing a Passion for Communicating Effectively
Growing up in China, Xu had a supportive mother who helped her learn English and further challenged her to speak and present publicly in English while also instilling leadership characteristics. Xu recognized early on that she wanted to be an entrepreneur.
While pursuing her first master’s degree in microelectronics at Peking University, Xu interned for Groupon where she was quickly promoted after achieving superior results. After graduating, Xu worked for Huawei in China, gaining valuable public speaking and interpersonal communication experience in roles as an internal consultant operating across international boundaries. These experiences helped to fuel her understanding of the importance of communicating effectively to a variety of audiences to share knowledge and influence decisions from various constituents.
Taking a risk, Xu left Huawei and moved to Pittsburgh to earn another master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon, where she began to synthesize her passions for communication and entrepreneurship. Xu started TalkMeUp to fulfill a degree requirement, which placed her on the path she confidently follows today.
Xu understands people need communication skills to advance: learn how to “manage” your boss, manage expectations, gain buy-in, show your own value. It's all about communication – a skill she believes anyone can learn.
“Public speaking training resources are considered for the elite not just in China, but globally,” said Xu. “I realize how important it is for people to have such skills not only for public speaking, but interpersonal communication skills to form healthy relationships to get things done. Through TalkMeUp, I am trying to make it accessible for everyone.”
Fulfilling a Dream: TalkMeUp Empowers Users to Be Effective Communicators
TalkMeUp leased offices within walking distance of Carnegie Mellon, making it easy to attract talent from CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. The company has not only created local full-time employment and contractor opportunities, but also made TalkMeUp available for free or at an extreme discount to not-for-profit organizations to help less advantaged individuals gain confidence in speaking and advance their station in life.
A communication effectiveness coaching and validation platform, TalkMeUp users practice and develop critical communication and presentation skills needed to advance in their career, transition into new roles, and more. The patented, AI-based platform analyzes practice videos recorded in private, as well as online meetings containing multiple participants, to gauge the performance of the host and the engagement and enthusiasm levels of the audience.
TalkMeUp was recognized with three gold Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology awards, including Best Advance in Unique Learning Technology.
TalkMeUp, Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh with business and engineering roots in Carnegie Mellon University, develops and markets solutions that drive business success through effective communication. The company’s patented, AI-powered platform enables professionals to see how effective they are in everyday conversations by analyzing their communication skills as well as the engagement level of their audience during video calls. TalkMeUp users practice delivering their message and can take courses on any of the communication attributes being measured. TalkMeUp’s mission is to empower every person and every organization all over the world to communicate their message effectively. (talkmeup.co)