About JD Gershbein

Drawing upon his extensive background in neuroscience, psychology, marketing communications, sales, broadcast journalism, public speaking, and improvisational comedy, JD Gershbein is blazing a trail as one of the most original personalities in social media. Since the moment he discovered LinkedIn, he has studied it like a calling and dedicated his life to helping others realize its immense potential. As social media became the vogue, JD transitioned away from his traditional marketing communications practice and established a consultancy focused on LinkedIn profile writing and the teaching of LinkedIn best practices. The word on JD quickly spread, and he soon became an in-demand speaker at conferences, trade shows, sales meetings and symposia.

As CEO of Owlish Communications, JD provides unrivaled strategic direction to individuals and companies seeking to harness the power of LinkedIn and translate those efforts into real world business results. Considered a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn education, his ability to motivate people to embrace their uniqueness and sally forth on the site has earned him the moniker of “The LinkedIn Catalyst.” Through his innovative treatment of the LinkedIn profile, JD has expanded the scope of social branding, and built a sophisticated, trust-based platform that places him among the world’s top social business thought leaders.

Finding Owlish Communications

Revered for its historical significance, extraordinary physical attributes, instincts, and iconic links to wisdom and spirituality, the owl holds a special place in JD’s heart. When the time came to name his company, he went with his gut instinct and chose the creature he has studied so extensively and to which he most closely identifies. “The owl is the ultimate hunter,” explains JD. “She is built for speed. Firm in purpose, and with all senses engaged, she moves in stealth. At the right moment, she strikes with power, precision and resolve. You don’t see or hear her coming, but the impact is unmistakable. That is how I view my brand.”

The Neuroscience and Psychology of LinkedIn

As LinkedIn has risen in popularity, JD has tailored his service offerings to meet the needs of professionals in all walks of business. He provides his clients with a roadmap for success in using LinkedIn, one that is both cognitive and practical. A dedicated student of neuroscience, psychology, and the humanities, JD brings a deep understanding of how the brain processes and interprets raw data on an Internet page, converts it into usable information, and effects a positive behavioral change that drives business growth. “Leveraging one’s LinkedIn presence, “ according to JD, “is all about creating favorable impressions online and measuring up to them offline. This is accomplished through the fashioning an extraordinary LinkedIn profile and authentic, purposeful communication.” JD’s first book, The LinkedIn Edge: Creating a Psychological Advantage in Social Business, deals with the cognitive processes and behaviors around the successful use of LinkedIn, and is slated for release in 2014.

Broadcast & Print Media Contribution

Enabled by his extensive media training, JD expands public awareness of LinkedIn through both traditional and digital channels. His broadcasting skills, honed from his radio and television days in high school and college, afford him the opportunity to share his knowledge with a larger audience. Known for his razor-sharp wit and freewheeling, humor-driven communication style, JD has become a go-to source for television news outlets, radio talk show hosts, journalists, and bloggers seeking clarity and new insights on LinkedIn and social business. He has been featured on FOX TV News Chicago and CBS TV News; in print in the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Crain’s Chicago Business; and is a regular in-studio guest on WGN AM Radio. Additionally, JD is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post.


Advancing Social Media Marketing as an Academic Discipline

In April 2011, JD was hand-picked by his alma mater, the Stuart Graduate School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology, to design and teach the School’s first-ever social media marketing strategy course to the MBA candidates. His syllabus integrates social media principles with traditional marketing applications. By virtue of his experiential knowledge, JD prepares his students for real world challenges in business and enhances their marketability to companies looking to leverage the social media platforms. He is the only practitioner in the world who combines LinkedIn profile writing, corporate LinkedIn consulting to the Fortune 500 sector, and instruction at the graduate school level at a major academic institution into his value proposition.

Cartoons That Mean Business™

A chronic doodler since early childhood, JD is also a well-known business cartoonist whose artwork has been widely showcased across a variety of media. He has contributed business cartoons to Vine Line, the Official Newspaper of the Chicago Cubs’ (including the inaugural issue), as well as other professional sports publications. His business comics have also been featured in the trade journals of professional selling, financial services, real estate and health care as well as in books, advertisements and newsletters. He is best known as the creator of  The Handshake Club™, a universe of cartoon businesspeople who channel his tongue-in-cheek take on social media.

Fun Facts

JD is a product of Chicago’s North Shore. He grew up in Wilmette, Illinois and attended New Trier West High School in Northfield, Illinois. He received a B.A. Degree in English from the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. He earned an M.S. Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Psychology (where he successfully defended a thesis on humor in advertising as a determinant of buying behavior), and an M.B.A. Degree with Honors in Marketing Communications from IIT’s Stuart Graduate School of Business.