National Start Up Exec to Keynote BRAC Signature Speaker Event

VP to focus on leveraging Handshake to increase higher-ed talent retention

Baton Rouge, LA (April 14, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced that Christine Cruzvergara, vice president of the rapidly growing technology startup Handshake, will serve as keynote speaker at its May 5 Signature Speaker event presented by IBERIABANK, a division of First Horizon Bank. In addition to the keynote, BRAC will make an exciting announcement about its regional Handshake partnership and provide an update on its progress with LSU and Southern University to promote Handshake as a resource to local businesses. Details and registration are available at

Cruzvergara’s keynote, Democratizing Opportunity, will focus on Handshake’s story to become the top connector of college students and jobs in the country, how it is reinventing recruitment, and how embracing the platform locally can transform the Baton Rouge Area’s talent narrative. Over the past seven months, BRAC has collaborated with LSU and Southern University to better leverage Handshake and more seamlessly connect the region’s business community with the more than 50,000 students at the region’s colleges and universities.

The initiative is of particular significance for small to mid-sized employers, which make up 88 percent of the Baton Rouge market. Baton Rouge college students are most frequently connected with experiential learning opportunities at large businesses, those with formalized human resources departments and budgets, according to a study conducted by SSA Consultants for BRAC on the region’s internship ecosystem. Smaller employers often have less internal resources to invest in a traditional strategy for recruiting university talent. Handshake allows those companies to recruit on a level playing field and better engage with university career centers, while also increasing awareness among students of the diversity of career paths available to them in the Baton Rouge Area. 

“We’re excited to have Christine join us to share Handshake’s story. Moreover, for our entrepreneurs and executives who think about recruiting talent for their companies or keeping our graduates in Louisiana, it’s one they can’t afford to miss,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “Handshake is a game changer for businesses, and it has a fascinating story that we can’t wait for everyone to hear.” 

BRAC’s Signature Speaker event presented by IBERIABANK, a division of First Horizon Bank, will be held virtually via Zoom from 11 a.m. to noon. Registration for the event is $10 for BRAC investors and $20 for non-investors. More information and registration can be found at Information about BRAC’s regional initiative around Handshake can be found at

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber 

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at


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