Interview: Chris Motley’s Favorite St. Louis Spots & What’s Next For Better Weekdays

Interview by Kelly Hamilton and Kelsey Waananen | Photo by Wesley Law

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

Chris Motley and his team at Better Weekdays have been getting a lot of buzz lately.

The platform, which Motley has called “eHarmony for jobs, with a special focus on Gen-Y talent,” matches job seekers with employers based on company culture and individual preferences in a workplace. The White House announced this spring it would use the Better Weekdays platform to help job seekers find jobs as part of its new job initiative, TechHire, which aims to empower 20 communities to get into the technology workforce.

The company received an Arch Grant earlier this year after going through Capital Innovators in 2014. As part of the program, the company moved its operations from Chicago to St. Louis, where it offices in Downtown’s T-REX.

We caught up with Chris to chat about his impressions of St. Louis since moving here, how he spends his time out of the office and what Better Weekdays is up to next.

Kunal Parbadia, Co-Founder and VP of Operations; Chris Motley, Co-Founder and CEO
Better Weekdays Kunal Parbadia, Co-Founder and VP of Operations; Chris Motley, Co-Founder and CEO | Photo by Wesley Law

How does Better Weekdays help young jobseekers?

We help them discover the most relevant jobs on their mobile device in a unique, engaging way. This helps university career centers (our clients) provide efficient services to their students and alumni.

The funding Missouri public universities receive is now tied partly to job placement rates. Currently, they don’t have an effective way to capture where alumni work. We provide a private platform for students and alumni to manage their career so that we track their data for universities.

What does success look like?

Career services is a lot like Blockbuster in 2001, and we’re trying to create Netflix. Success for us is collaborating with innovative universities in STL to make meaningful connections between graduates and companies.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

This is perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can give: Be very clear to people on how they can help you move your business/initiative forward, then let them self-select in or out. It’s my way of steering clear of folks that don’t have our best interests in mind because we’re always thinking about how we can add value to others. That alignment from the start is key. [Also read Chris’ advice to job seekers.]

You moved your operations from Chicago to St. Louis. How have you liked living here? What’s been your first impression?

It has been fantastic! Although St. Louis is smaller than Chicago and New York (where I’ve spent significant time), it is far easier to navigate. I’d never been to STL before moving here, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how culturally rich it is and experience how easy it is to get involved to make a difference.

Where you live and what are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?

When I first moved here, I lived in South City, right off of Cherokee St. My first meal was at a place call Melt, which has a lot of character and reminds me of eateries in Brooklyn.  Now I live downtown where I probably have the world’s shortest commute. I’m a big fan of Rosalita’s, Park Avenue Coffee, Rooster and Robust.  My business partner and I have spent a LOT of time at Over/Under as well. We pretty much know everyone there and they know us – which is pretty cool.

How do you spend your time when you’re not at work?

I’m always at work! That said, I do love to play basketball and stay in reasonable shape so I play pickup at 6am with a great group of guys in Clayton or at the YMCA. I’m also a fan of the Fitness Factory. In the evenings, I watch sports.

Any favorite STL restaurants or bars?

I’ve probably spent the most time at Robust or Bridge Tap House. The combination of great wine, space and wifi makes for really good idea generation. Three Sixty at the Ballpark Hilton is AWESOME. However, the downside of living and working so close is that I don’t venture out of Downtown much. My friends here are changing that!

Anything you wish STL had more of, from a cultural or lifestyle perspective?

I’m not qualified to answer this question because I’m still exploring and discovering things I didn’t know existed. Apparently, I have a lot of ground to cover.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

That my mom was 13 years old when she had me, raised me as a single mother and is the source of my inspiration and drive. She just spent her first weekend in St. Louis, and will be moving here within a couple of years!

A portion of the Q/A for this story appeared in the October 2015 issue of ALIVE Magazine.