Jake Champion grew up in Petoskey, MI and throughout high school really had no intention of going to college. "I always did ok in school but had to work extremely hard to achieve average results. At the time, this was a big source of frustration, but I didn’t realize that the additional effort would be the foundation for a very strong work ethic in my professional life."
Jake ended up attending Alma College, where he majored in business administration, minored in English, played football, and even had the opportunity to study abroad in London.
Three months after graduating, Jake followed his then-girlfriend, now-wife to New York City so she could attend graduate school at New York University. He moved with no job and just enough to pay three month's rent on the two year lease he had signed. Shortly after, Jake connected with a former teammate and Alma grad who made an introduction and helped launch his sales career.
Six years, three jobs and one more Alma alum introduction into LinkedIn later, Jake is working as an Account Executive at LinkedIn and feels lucky to work for an organization that has a positive impact on the lives of individuals around the world every single day.
Failure. Growing up an athlete and now working in sales, there are plenty of times where you don’t make the block, win the game or close the deal. I try to see each “failure” as a learning opportunity and apply what I learn in the future. It’s also helpful to use this tactic throughout the rest of my life.
My latest accomplishments
I got married in June to my best friend and fellow Alma grad. We met at Alma during our freshman year, started dating our sophomore year and have been inseparable since. We also are in the process of closing on our first home in Chicago, IL after deciding to move back to the Midwest to be closer to family and friends.
Next big goal
Continued development and growth. I was unsuccessful this year in reading a book each month, which was a goal I set at the beginning of the year. I’m not far off, but this is something I would like to hold myself accountable for in 2017. I also would like to establish a mindfulness practice a part of my daily routine.
Why is choosing your own path important?
I once heard a joke that went something like this: When adults ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, it’s because they are looking for ideas. No matter what you choose today, choose it because it plays into your interests and abilities. Also, understand that components of the path you choose will change many times. However, if the core of what you choose is something that you are passionate about and are good at, you will get more fulfillment on a daily basis than you would in a lifetime spent on someone else’s path.
Favorite place on campus
Bahlke Field (football field)
Share this profile
View Previous Honorees
Nominate an Alum or Student