Infinite Careers is a collaboration between Career Services (CAPD) and the MIT Alumni Association to explore career paths and the non-linearity of career decision making. Read profiles of alumni with unique career paths, hear their stories and network at a series of talks.


  • MIT, Brain and Cognitive Sciences. B.S.

Joy Ekuta is Co-Founder and Chief Strategy & Operations Officer at Retrospect. A serial founder and former People and Operations Leader in the tech industry, she is passionate about working in spaces that sit at the intersection of people, technology, and culture.

An MIT alumna, she has an interdisciplinary background with roles that span research, program management, and recruiting at Pinterest, Two Sigma, Humu, and Exos Financial. She has operated in building fully integrated recruiting processes end-to-end; and has scaled teams from seed, Series A, and Series B Startups to medium and enterprise level companies. She also previously founded Hostowambe, an end-to-end marketplace to hire affordable party planners; as well as a Co-Founder at  ImpactLabs, a non-profit organization based in Nigeria that teaches hands-on engineering skills to high school and early college students. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and traveling.

What influenced your choice of undergraduate major? How has it shaped your career choices and professional ability?

I’ve always been intrigued with learning about people – what makes them do the things they do, why certain people are attracted to others, how we learn – things like that. So Course 9 gave me a solid foundation in understanding how we operate.

I’ve taken a non-traditional path, but that foundation has proven valuable directly through some of my roles in recruiting, and in-directly as a founder, within product management and applying that understanding of human behaviors to building a business, a team, or a product.

In my current role, I continue to use this understanding to guide how we strategically bring in an understanding of human behavior and decisions into who we authentically connect with different groups and audiences through branding and marketing.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently or more of while you were at MIT?

Went off campus more! There are so many great things about and at MIT, but there’s also the broader community outside of it in the Cambridge/Boston area (especially students from other schools) that I wish I would have connected with while there.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Starting and building Retrospect. It’s been really rewarding to work with different businesses and teams that are looking to make an impact in the world, and get to be a part of it.

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

The people. When I leave this earth, I want to know that helped make a “shift” in as many people’s lives as possible. So any work I do is built on htat.

Making decisions, especially important-feeling career decisions, is really challenging for people at all stages of their career. What strategies have you used to make career decisions?

I have my personal advisors, mentors, and sponsors that I’ll go to to share what decision I’m thinking of, the direction I think I want to head, and how I’d like to get there. I usually go to them for feedback and guidance:

  1. My advisors: These are close friends who know both my personal and professional goals, and will give me candid feedback or just be a good listener (depending on what I need in the moment)
  2. My mentors: These are people who give me more professional advice, places to learn, keep me accountable to my plan in progress.
  3. My sponsors: These are people who are in some position of power where I share my plans (after getting feedback from my advisors + mentors), and ask directly for an opportunity.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

Never stop learning! What you’re doing today could look very different tomorrow. And how your interests play into that will change – so don’t be afraid to learn something new.

What career advice do you have for current MIT students, or those interested in entering your industry?

Be curious about how things work outside of your immediate role / industry. The best collaborators or people who are most successful within the creative industry are able to see things from a unique perspective – and they are not afraid to try things differently.

Do you have any tips for networking or job searching for current students and recent graduates?

Don’t take networking (peer and upwards) for granted. It should be a two-way street in actively learning about and helping someone with what they need (referring a great connection, article, product, etc.); and also sharing what you need so that people can help you directly (with an opportunity they directly have) or indirectly (passing your name on)

What do you like to do outside of work for fun/relaxation/inspiration?

I love to cook, dance, and travel for fun. I try to go to a new country every year to fully immerse myself in a space and try to learn about a culture directly from being in and with the people within that culture.

Last edited: February 2024