Let’s humanize hiring.

Our mission is to fundamentally change how hiring is done. We see a future in which people are hired for the entirety of their experiences and expertise, valued for all that they bring.

As a core element of our Social Purpose, we seek to promote economic justice through the use of tools, processes, and education that aim at eradicating hiring inequity.

We want to live in a world where the hiring process illuminates our humanity and values the entirety of our experience. A process that brings us together in authentic connection. A process that builds empathy through the power of story. And a process that improves hiring.

WholeStory is a technology platform that integrates job seekers’ pivotal life experiences into the hiring process revealing critical soft skills not found on a resume. These skills—the ability to learn, adapt, and navigate challenges—drive organizational success.

The platform provides a standardized, scalable process where job seekers choose their most formative experiences to share and employers receive rich data, ensuring the right hire every time.

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”

— Brené Brown

Picture of the first WholeStory community event
First WholeStory community event, fall of 2016

Our origin story

In the summer of 2015, I had a powerful vision. It was the morning after a mind-expanding visit from my sister Michelle and her friends. I was washing dishes on this sunny summer morning in Pasco, WA and was charged with this:

If there was a place for people to safely share their stories about the things in life that made them better people—despite or perhaps even because of the challenges faced—not only would that change their career opportunities, it would change their lives.

I recognized the truth of this immediately, in my own personal transformation, formative experiences, and in the ancient wisdom around strength through struggle. When I shared this vision with my wife Zahra that night, she said, “John, you have to follow your inspiration.”


After much discernment, come October, I was ready to make things official and incorporated WholeStory as a Social Purpose Corporation. As part of our Articles of Incorporation, we declare our Social Purpose as this:

WholeStory exists to raise the quality of authentic leadership at all levels of the organization and broader society.

We provide tools that bring businesses and job seekers together for meaningful interactions through story.

I believe business is a tool to be used for the betterment of society. We can create systems that benefit all stakeholders. My greatest hope is that WholeStory will be a powerful vehicle for change in the hiring space.



John Roach
Cofounder & CEO

Founding team

John Roach

John Roach

Cofounder & CEO

I’ve come to know wholeheartedly that the key to understanding peoples’ full professional capacity comes from understanding who they are as a person and how they came to be that way.

I’ve led big and small technical teams on challenging journeys of transformation and change. Consistently, my strongest team members have been those who developed their most important capabilities in ways that never would have shown up on a resume.

— John

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Darren Varnado

Darren Varnado

Cofounder & Head of Business Development

I believe WholeStory offers a unique opportunity for people with non-traditional and less privileged paths to stand out in the hiring process. I joined the WholeStory team because I wanted to do work that is purpose-driven with smart people that I like and respect.

I am an idea entrepreneur and am passionate about developing new and innovative business services and products.

— Darren

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Erin Anacker

Erin Anacker

Cofounder & Head of Product

We spend more time at work than anywhere else (except, let's hope, sleeping!), yet most people do not enjoy being at work. I joined WholeStory because I believe work should be a place we enjoy, feel seen and supported, and co-create together.

In my experience in both business and design strategy, I’ve learned that the experience people have with the brand, the product, and the team is the most important thing.

— Erin

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WholeStory Founders

Our advisors

David Boninger

David Boninger, PhD
Social Psychology

Rich Cummins, PhD
Organizational Leadership

Rich Cummins, PhD
Organizational Leadership

Sean Green

Sean Green, PhD
Data Science

Max Hunter

Max Hunter, PhD
Narrative & Community