Soft skills and middle-skills gaming app company skillsgapp has hired John Zwolinski as its Chief Experience Officer. The new position is responsible for the development and performance of skillsgapp’s internal teams, sponsorship sales and partnership platform, and game deployment and player engagement programs. Zwolinski comes to skillsgapp from the global niche housing company Valeo Groupe, where he first served as Vice President of Culture, Brand and Experience, then Senior Vice President of Brand & Experience. Valeo Groupe has developed student housing communities in the UK, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, while focusing on senior housing communities in the US.
During his stint at Valeo Group the company attracted more than $700 million in investments in Europe and the US and in 2020 it was listed number 378 on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. Internally, Zwolinski focused on building a culture and growing teams, setting up a development program for employees to encourage their physical, financial, emotional, professional, and personal health, and sculpting the company’s core values, cultural norms, and frameworks and systems as a part of Valeo’s brand as a “wellbeing company.”
Prior to his work with Valeo, Zwolinski was a founding partner and CMO at ZWO, a branding and marketing firm that concentrated in targeting the youth market for apparel, sports, student housing, retail, and other brands. Zwolinski began his career as a public school teacher and coach in football and soccer, as well as a marketing, event, and operations manager for a national sporting goods company.
“As I look back at my career and my history, it’s truly shocking to see how well the past thirty years have prepared me for working with skillsgapp,” said Zwolinski. “I was the first high-school graduate of my family, and a youth pastor took an interest in me in my junior year of high school. Since then I’ve always wanted to work with kids, helping to develop them, and always wanted to reach the students who were a little bit like me — who didn’t know what they wanted to do and didn’t have a purpose or knowledge of their potential. I went from the classroom, to the coaching fields, and then to ZWO, which was growing and doing youth-oriented work. While at ZWO I was able to work with Campus Crest as a client, founded by a friend and mentor Ted Rollins, who was a great entrepreneur and visionary. Campus Crest went from a small student housing startup in 2003 to a publicly traded company with $1.8 billion in assets, and the second largest student housing company in the world. Ted was a man who thought without limits and I was very privileged to watch him found and grow two companies, and to be able to work with him both externally and internally. Experiential marketing was how ZWO helped make Campus Crest different — we always said ‘it’s not about the pool, it’s about what happens at the pool.'”
“At skillsgapp we are able to create experiences and reach kids through mobile games, helping them become aware of other pathways and also create some access to those paths whether through pointing to post-secondary education scholarships and apprenticeships, helping to develop their skills, or someday connecting them with potential jobs at local businesses who need them. We are connecting youth to life-changing careers through game-changing play, but we’re not a “gaming company” — we’re a life-changing company that helps develop kids and create career paths for them.”
“John will be a superb addition to our leadership team,” said Tina Zwolinski, CEO and Founder of skillsgapp. “Skillsgapp has grown faster than we had predicted, and as my co-founder Cynthia and I discussed our need for somebody to help build a culture and team that would drive our partnerships, game deployment, and player engagement, and as we developed the job description for such a leader, we realized that somebody with all of that experience and that we’d worked with before was right there in front of us. John had been traveling the world making investor presentations, working with student and senior housing markets, building an internal culture, and developing teams — everything that we needed. We feel as if we’ve come full circle, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Skillsgapp fields mobile, engaging interactive apps that help middle and high school-aged youth achieve career awareness and pathway access, as well as develop the middle and soft skills necessary to pursue jobs in skills-based industries, including aerospace and automotive manufacturing, life science, cybersecurity, construction trades, and other technical industries. Skillsgapp gaming apps are ideal for States and broader regions, economic development organizations, industries, and public sector agencies dedicated to building a qualified workforce pipeline.
To find out more about skillsgapp’s gamified skills development through mobile apps and much more, visit http://www.skillsgapp.com or contact us at 864.469.9340. To connect with skillsgapp CEO, Tina Zwolinski, reach out at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinazwolinski.