Jeff Jones – President & CEO of H&R Block

Episode 107

Jeff Jones, president and CEO of H&R Block, has an incredible entrepreneurial and leadership story. Son of small business owners, Jeff has been learning about leadership, business, and entrepreneurship for a lot of his life. Jeff has been an entrepreneur and business owner, and he's worked as an executive at Target, Uber, and now, H&R Block. His career has been full of diverse endeavors, and each piece of his work life has taught him to lead through uncertainty and change in our world. On this show, Jeff talks about the most important leadership lessons that he's learned, the advice he gives to young people in their career, how he's gotten through 2020 and much more.

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Kara Goldin: Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin Show. And I am so excited to have my next guest here. We’ve emailed over the years, and finally get to be somewhat face-to-face here together over our Squadcast recording, but this is Jeff Jones who is currently the president and CEO of H&R Block.
Jeff Jones: Hey.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, nice to sort of see you here and hear your voice.
Jeff Jones: Exactly, yeah.
Kara Goldin: Super, super excited. I mean, Jeff, for those of you who don’t know, he came from 28 years of executive management and leadership from amazing top companies, including The Gap and Target and Uber and when he made that shift, and literally that move to H&R Block, I was like, “Wow, what’s going on over there?” That was incredibly innovative and bold on both sides to bring in somebody with no experience. I’m all for passion and creativity and bring in smart people. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have the experience. So this was definitely something that I really believed was ultimately a great move, but so Jeff has gone in and really being tasked with leading a company that is around taxes, for those of you who don’t know what H&R Block is.
I can’t imagine that anyone listening to this doesn’t know what it is, but he’s going to share a lot of his just life advice and again, he was… Actually where I first heard about Jeff was at Target and he was running merchandising, which I’m sure he can talk a bit about that. Really during a time when there were some really instrumental changes that were going on at Target that I just admired you from afar watching that whole thing go on.
Jeff Jones: Yeah, thank you.
Kara Goldin: So, anyway, welcome, welcome.
Jeff Jones: Thank you, thank you.
Kara Goldin: So take us back to Jeff, when Jeff’s just starting out. Where were you, what were you doing?
Jeff Jones: Oh, man, where to begin? I mean, I’m so thrilled to see you and to be on the show. I think my life story really began with entrepreneurial parents and it’s funny because people oftentimes start with their parents and my parents had an enormous impact on me. They were mom and pop entrepreneurs. They owned a lot of different kinds of small businesses over the years, never went to college, and they taught me so much. They taught me hustle. They taught me work ethic. They taught me resilience. When I was in high school, we went bankrupt as a family. We lost everything because of one of their ventures. I was a kid in a little town in West Virginia, first-generation college student, had a high school class of 42 kids. Not everybody had a chance to get away and go to school. I was a pretty good baseball player and that was my escape to go to a place called Fork Union Military Academy to play baseball. Then I got my dream job out of college in Chicago at Leo Burnett. I was fascinated as a kid with why people do what they do. Just insane curiosity.
I had a creative spark in photography and advertising, for me, was a way where all those things came together. That was in 1990. Now, over the last 30 years, I’ve just been really lucky to work for incredible companies, take a lot of risk, hopefully have some impact. You’re right, when I came to Block, and I’ve said this to so many people, but I joked when I got this call because I have no tax experience. I’ve never done my own taxes, no financial services experience. I said, “I have a really common name. You must have called the wrong Jeff Jones.”
Kara Goldin: Oh, that’s awesome.
Jeff Jones: What I ultimately realized was Block is a retailer. We have 10,000 locations in the United States. We have franchisees, which are small business owners in and of themselves. They own this franchise called H&R Block, and we have a massive digital business. So even though I didn’t have financial services experience, this is a retailer in transformation mode and that fits my skills quite well.
Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. So you went from Leo, was it then to that little beverage company in Atlanta?
Jeff Jones: That’s right.
Kara Goldin: Or was there [inaudible 00:05:10] in between. So Coca-Cola, great training program, obviously there as well.
Jeff Jones: Incredible.
Kara Goldin: Then were you out here in San Francisco where I am, at The Gap?
Jeff Jones: Well, yes, ultimately, but there’s a part of my career that gets skipped over sometimes because it’s not big brand, but it was actually some of the most powerful learning in my whole career. So I left Leo Burnett to go to Coca-Cola, as you mentioned. I had a really close high school friend who, at that time, was working in the consulting business. He ultimately started a consulting firm and I joined him and we did systems integration consulting. We really, at his lead, started a company and I was part of helping to establish and build that company. Then we sold it to a publicly traded company in Chicago. So you know what it’s like as an entrepreneur, I joined John at a time when we’re buying office furniture and getting established and we sold the company, I think, way faster than we ever thought we would. It really happened because we were about to begin the journey of raising money.
We met somebody who said to us, “If we invest in you, you guys have never…” We were about a $20 million company at that point. And he said, “You’ve never run a hundred million dollar company. So we’ll probably bring in a new management team.” He consulted us that raising money might have an outcome we didn’t want, depending on the investor and long story short, that prompted us to ultimately sell to a strategic investor. We exited the company. I stayed through my earn out. So that was a chapter that gets overlooked and then Gap. That’s when I was in San Francisco, really the first time in my career that I was in a job I wasn’t ready for and then the classic chief marketing officer career path, I was there a little over two years. A new CEO came in, pushed out the whole management team, and here I was two years later looking for a new job again.
Kara Goldin: Crazy. That’s wild. So you went… I mean, that is a big leap. You’re at this consulting firm in Chicago and you get to The Gap. I mean, that’s incredible. You really hadn’t been in apparel.
Jeff Jones: No, I hadn’t been. There was a connection, an old Leo colleague who had gone when I went to Coca-Cola, she had gone to Old Navy as CMO. When she saw all this go down with this company in Chicago, she called me and said, “I think you should come here. Gap is looking for a CMO.” And again, made the introduction. I ultimately got the job. I think if I step back from that in my whole career journey, I look like a career mutt. I’ve done so many different things, but I think what I’ve learned now at this stage of my career is that range has been incredibly valuable.
Kara Goldin: Totally, yeah.
Jeff Jones: Just constantly learning new things, building new skills, approaching problems from different perspectives. That’s what I try to teach to my team today is there are no more easy problems. So we all face problems that are harder than ever, there’s no clear answer, and to be able to step back and see a problem from different perspectives and remember experiences that are similar, but not exactly the same, I honestly think has helped me become a better problem solver over time.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, totally. Well also to use your baseball days, I mean, I feel like you just said, put me in the game, right? You were just like, what’d you have to lose, right? As my dad used to remind me all the time. I just wrote a book and came out a few weeks ago and it’s called Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters and something I talk about in there that I just always had this ability to show up and just say, “Put me in.”
Jeff Jones: That’s exactly right.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. Everything from moving from Arizona to New York because I thought it’d be just really exciting. I didn’t know anybody when I did that. Then you and I are the same age and for me, moving from Scottsdale, Arizona, which was like 100,000-ish people to New York City with subways. It was a big deal. That’s when I was working in media and I’ll never forget, I got a call from CNN and they’re like, “Oh, we’re thinking of doing this thing called the Airport Channel. Do you know how to write a business plan?” I’d written a few in school, but not really, and somehow Ted Turner had equated copies of magazines that we were putting in airports with putting monitors, like hardware up in airports.
Jeff Jones: Oh, that’s interesting.
Kara Goldin: So, I was like, “Uh, well, they’re kind of different, but I could probably do it.” I had no idea whether or not I could do it, but I was like, it’d be a great story anyway, if it doesn’t really work out and we’ll see what happens. I mean, I’ve very much been in that kind of head space of like, “Well, if it fails, it’ll be a great conversation.” In the meantime, it’s like, I don’t know, it’s kind of worked out along the way as I’ve just gone and tried things and just gone and figured it out ultimately, which it sounds like you clearly did [crosstalk 00:11:01].
Jeff Jones: Absolutely. I don’t know if you agree with this or not, but if you know exactly how you’re going to do something, it’s not quite that interesting.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, totally. I think that that is definitely what I talk about in this book too, that part of the reason why my subtitle is, well, it’s called Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters, but the doubts side of things it’s like for a minute, you think, “Okay, yeah, I’m going to go try it.” Then you’re like, “Eh, I don’t know if it’s going to work out so well.”
Jeff Jones: Right.
Kara Goldin: Then the more people you talk to, especially your family, they’re the worst because they just don’t… They don’t want to see you hurt. They don’t want to see you fail. So they’re like, “I don’t know, you probably shouldn’t do it.” Anyway, what I found is that at the end of the day, you got to just have smaller goals and smaller tries and listen to the customer as well. Not necessarily ask the customer, but start to listen. Because I think as I was creating Hint and I had all these doubters, like, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s a tech executive, and now she’s started this beverage company with no experience.” I can’t lie like that. You definitely hear when people from Coca-Cola are like, “This thing’s going to fail, not going to go anywhere,” but today we’re the largest non-alcoholic beverage company in the US that doesn’t have a relationship with Coke [crosstalk 00:00:12:32].
Jeff Jones: That’s so incredible.
Kara Goldin: Right. It wasn’t supposed to happen. But if I would have said, “I’m going to go be the biggest and I’m going to take on Coca-Cola,” it really wouldn’t happen because I did have these doubts that I was wrestling with, but you just go try and you didn’t know whether or not the Gap was going to work out, but you had a friend that was pulling you there and you’re like, “I don’t know. It seems kind of cool. San Francisco’s fun. Why not?” I can imagine that was kind of your mindset. So you get to Target, and during a really fascinating time when there were so many changes going on. I also remember, in addition, there was some crisis going on with data breaches and…
Jeff Jones: That was one of them. Yeah, that’s right.
Kara Goldin: That was one of them. Great times. So tell me, what do you think you really learned when you got there?
Jeff Jones: There’s no question. I mean, Target, and one of the reasons I went to Target, again, a little bit of a story about it. At that moment in time, I was a partner and owner of a marketing services firm and loved what I was doing, really had a great challenge, quality of life. Everything was really good. I get an email from a recruiter and I just quickly wrote back and said, “I’m just not interested. I love what I’m doing.” Then a little bit later he sends me another one and I’m like, “Listen, I own this company. I can’t just leave. It’s not that easy.”
Then he sent me a third email and you know when you get an email and you can see the attachment and you can read the file name of the attachment, and I could tell it said Target. So I double-click it, I open it. It’s the job spec to be the chief marketing officer for Target. I wrote back to him and I just said, “Okay, now you’re messing with me.” I talked to my wife and obviously, we’re big fans of the company. She said, “You absolutely have to talk to them.”
Kara Goldin: Yeah.
Jeff Jones: So long story, I get the job, I go there and it’s a giant, giant company, and now you’re one of the top three or four executives in a, at the time, $70 billion company. So you learn scale, you learn leverage, you learn that when you have thousands of people or more that you’re responsible for, it’s about the talent around you and how you hire and the team you build. That’s the only way to get leverage. I was there and had a really specific role to help navigate the company out of the data breach, far and away, the biggest crisis in the company’s history. I was also there when there was a social attack on the company being accused of allowing people with assault weapons to come shop at a Target store.
I was there through the transgender bathroom, which we thought was a wonderful decision that became a crisis for the company. So you just learn the punchline for me was we live in a tumultuous world and you have to learn how to deal with uncertainty, make the best decision you can, get a lot of input from people, be a great listener, but ultimately make decisions and move forward because then I leave and go to Uber, lots of tumultuous times. Now I’m leading Block through this world that we’re in today. So trying to build skills to lead through uncertainty and crisis and change, I think, is one of the ultimate things. We all have to learn how to do.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. People so frequently have said to me over the years, some directly to me, but some sort of just in passing, “Never look back,” and I’ve always felt like, “Oh no, you should look back. You can learn a lot when you look back on history.” Clearly, do you agree with that?
Jeff Jones: Well, I do. I mean, I’m always looking forward. I’m definitely a forward-focused person, but I think when you are really curious and you’re trying to build a set of skills based on your experience, being able to look back and reflect and remember and draw on those experiences, I think, is super important. I totally agree with you.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I think, especially when people sort of get down on themselves because they’re like, “Oh, I failed.” They won’t move forward because they’re so afraid of doing things. I think that what you did, that was just so remarkable. I mean, I remember when you were leaving Uber, even. It was like, people are like, “Wait, what? Where’s he going?? You just decided that it wasn’t your thing. You left with dignity and then later on, obviously they’ve got new manager and everything, but you find out that there were some real challenges, but I think also it sort of speaks to you kind of knowing where you can kind of do your best work too, which is not what everybody can do or thinks about. They get so mesmerized by a brand more than anything else.
Jeff Jones: I think it, when do you just think about leadership, for me, one of the most important things I’ve learned is you can’t lead others if you’re not really comfortable and confident with leading yourself. That starts with just, what do you value? What’s important? What are you not good at? I think over time, you just, you get more comfortable understanding the importance of the team around you and the kind of place you want to be at. I mean, I was so lucky in my very first job to have an incredible boss and he taught me a few things. One of the things that he taught me was this idea that job security is just knowing you’re good enough to get another one.
Kara Goldin: So true.
Jeff Jones: Right? So I think when I talk to people, so many young people at different stages of their career, that they’re afraid of getting fired, or they’re really working more defensively than offensively because they’re uncertain or lack confidence. I think it’s easy to say, when you look back, to your point about looking back, it’s easy to look back at your career in the earlier days and see it a certain way. But now that you and I are at these stages of our career, I think the greatest gift we can give to other people is learning and teaching and the experience to help people shortcut and grow and realize that… If you’re in your early twenties today, you’re going to be working for probably 40 some years in some way, maybe longer. So it’s a really long game and you’re going to get stuff wrong, but be a learner, take risks, put yourself out there, work offensively, not defensively. I think over time, you just, I don’t know, [inaudible 00:19:52] just so incredibly important because so many people have so much to give, but they’re afraid to be vulnerable and put themselves out there.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s another thing I talk about frequently is, at every level, just because you’re a CMO or you’re, a CEO of a company, I think that the best leaders I know are always craving being taught. If you’re a smart 21 year old and, I don’t know, maybe you know a ton about Twitter, and you get into a company and you do your job really well, but people start to pick up on this other stuff that you’re really good at. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody who is a leader, for example, that wants to know how to get on Twitter, Tik Tok, or whatever, that you go and work closely with these other people to kind of mentor them just because they’re in a higher level role or they’re older have a lot more experience. I feel like that’s where a lot of this…
I always talk about mentorship as when people have asked me to mentor them. I’ve said, “It may sound sort of self-serving in some way, but I actually want it to be two way. I want to know what I’m going to learn because I think I’ll get more excited about having this relationship back and forth.” It’s not to say that they can’t learn a lot from me. But when I say, when people say, “How do I find a mentor?” I’m like, “Figure out what you’re good at. Figure out what you can bring to the table because you can. You can bring things to the table that other people with more experience don’t have.”
Jeff Jones: Yeah. You’re reminding me right now, I’m mentoring a woman who is the head of marketing for [Bombas 00:00:21:39], and we have regular phone calls and she comes so prepared with incredible questions and she’s such an incredible learner. At the end of the call, she always says, “Gosh, I feel like there’s something I should do for you. You’re helping me work through these things.” But what I always remind her is the question she’s asking me is making me learn too.
Kara Goldin: Totally. Yeah, I agree too. It also just keep your mind going on different things. When I think about the education side and sort of the need to learn, then we jumped to H&R Block. So you get recruited out of Target to come over to H… Or sorry, out of Uber.
Jeff Jones: Out of Uber. That’s right.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. So what exactly, like, obviously you talked a little bit about your name and you weren’t sure if they were actually looking for you or not, but what really excited you about this role?
Jeff Jones: Yeah. Well, I mean, to be totally clear, I thought I would stay in Silicon Valley. That’s where the energy was. That’s where I was having a lot of conversations about what’s next. This call comes in. As I started to listen, what I basically saw was this incredible company that was not in trouble. It’s big, it generates a lot of cash, it has an incredible brand, it’s well-trusted. So on one hand, you look at it and say, “All right, well, what’s interesting about the challenge?” But the thing that got me most excited was that it was not growing anymore. What I saw from the outside and it’s turned out to be true, I just celebrated my third anniversary here was what I called at the time, a crisis of relevance. That crisis of relevance ultimately was about diversifying and serving more customers in more ways, how do you leverage this… The average American gets a refund and that tax refund is literally the biggest check they have in their hands all year long.
We serve people who need help. That sense of purpose, we literally say our purpose is to provide help and inspire confidence. I used to joke with people that most of my career had been trying to convince people to buy things they don’t need. H&R Block is this company that plays a very important role in America. It helps people at a really important time, but it wasn’t growing because of relevance. The relevance really had to do with two big things, overall quality and digital. As a retailer, those were things I thought I could really help with was digital transformation and modernizing the company and helping us get on a growth trajectory again. That’s what we’re doing and that’s why I’m here, and ultimately that’s what got me excited about joining.
Kara Goldin: So the pandemic hits, and it’s chaos and pandemonium for everyone. Tell me about H&R Block and obviously taxes, during 2020, what was sort of your life like?
Jeff Jones: Well, my life was chaos like everyone, as you said. I mean, so think about for us. So it’s in early spring, which is the height of tax season. We have a large growing digital business, but what’s not intuitive to most people is most Americans turn to someone for help with their taxes. So here’s a point in time when there’s financial distress, the economy’s bad, unemployment’s growing, people need their refund check, yet they’re being told not to leave their house. We have 10,000 offices and 80,000 people who we’re trying to protect and keep safe. Like so many retailers, you’re dealing with that first priority of protecting your people and clients. But what was extra hard for us was then the tax filing deadline got moved to July and that crossed into a new fiscal year for us. So now we’re faced with dealing with the pandemic, our fiscal year ’20 is going to be in trouble because so much of the business is literally moving to a new fiscal year.
That basically is the kind of the framing of the problem. We all had a version of that in our businesses, but like so many other companies, incredible silver linings from that. I’m sure you’ve talked to other entrepreneurs and CEOs that tell you the same thing. I saw faster product innovation in COVID than I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here. We shifted the business model. We had thousands of different business models happening across the country all at one time, never done that before. We had tax pros now working from home, never done that before. We had been investing in all these digital capabilities so you could get the human help and expertise from Block that you want, but it now all happens on your mobile phone. You don’t have to go anywhere. All of those things really got tested during COVID, but at the end of the day, that world is accelerating and I’m really, really happy we’re ready for it.
Kara Goldin: That’s amazing. So everybody did their taxes in July and it was like, what percent actually came in? Because obviously you had places that were open.
Jeff Jones: That’s right. What’s incredible about taxes, and this is a human thing. But if you think about 80 million people a year get assistance from somebody doing their taxes and every single year, our busiest day is the last day of tax season. No matter what. Even when people know they’re going to get a refund, even when they really want that refund check and they need it in their bank account, everyone waits until the last minute.
Kara Goldin: Yeah.
Jeff Jones: So we try to take that pressure off people and do the work for them, obviously. But even with offices closed, our business grew over 3% this year in COVID. So we served more clients than last year, even with that operating environment.
Kara Goldin: That’s amazing. That’s so great. Do you feel like that’s going to change for 2021? I mean, how do you plan for that? Do you think people go back to business as usual? Or do you think that… I feel like 2020 was just, it was a change. I’ve said to my kids, I have three in college and we’ve had this conversation, one in high school, that I feel like 2020 is going to definitely everyone… It’s memorable to say the least, but I feel like it’s a time in business where, for me, that was the mid nineties.
Jeff Jones: Yeah.
Kara Goldin: It was a huge change that just got accelerated and it just kicked into gear. I don’t think we’re going back. I mean, I look at the grocery industry, for example, and what Instacart… Instacart was there, but it got ignited by this pandemic.
Jeff Jones: That’s right.
Kara Goldin: Zoom, it was there, but it just, people just adapted really, really fast. I feel like that’s what happened with your industry as well.
Jeff Jones: Yeah. I mean, who knows? But I think that there is no normal. We’re not going back to anything. So I totally agree with you there. I think we’re all learning new behaviors. When you think about, depending on where you live, because this has become a very local thing, obviously, but it could be a solid year or more of operating, working, dealing with what we’re dealing with and any behavior that you do for a year becomes a new behavior. It’s just how we’re wired as humans. So I do think whenever we’re able, whether it’s vaccine, or better care, drugs, whatever it ends up being, a combination of those things, I think we will see people who are so excited to be able to be in public again, we’ll see retail have a little bit of a resurgence, we’ll see things because it feels fresh and new again. But I also know that digital behavior has changed forever. I think all businesses have to be ready for that.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I love it. I think what’s so unique about your experience, and I did not know that you had been an entrepreneur. I mean, you had worked in very entrepreneurial companies.
Jeff Jones: Yes.
Kara Goldin: But you’re starting to make a lot more sense to be in how you move and I love it. I think it’s great. It’s very rare actually that people, once they have done sort of the entrepreneurial thing that they go back into big companies [inaudible 00:00:31:14]. Do you ever think about going back and starting your own thing?
Jeff Jones: For sure. I mean, I really do. I think again, I’ve been very lucky that even in the biggest companies, I’ve been able to stay true to who I am and how I operate. You can operate like an entrepreneur in many ways inside big companies. I think that’s what I’ve tried to do and have had some success doing it. It’s definitely how I lead H&R Block.
Kara Goldin: I love it.
Jeff Jones: Creating pace, pushing decisions away from me. I call it connected culture. I mean, that’s how companies… When you think about what do we need? We need more growth. How do we get more growth? We need more relevance. We get more relevance by being more innovative. We get more innovative by creating more speed. We create more speed by trusting each other more. I mean, that’s how I try to connect all of those things. It’s why we think about belonging and inclusiveness as a company the way we do. It’s why we put purpose in the center of the way we do, because starting inside with people and talent and culture is the key to getting the outcomes we want. So that’s an entrepreneurial to business. We’re just doing it at a very large scale.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I love that. That is so true. So where can people find H&R Block?
Jeff Jones: Well, for sure, you can visit on the website. You probably see us in the world driving or walking, depending on what city you’re in. I think when I look at what we’re up to and the digital changes we’re making, the other piece of the puzzle that most people don’t even know about H&R Block is how we serve small businesses. We serve over two and a half small business owners today in tax and bookkeeping and payroll. So that part of our business has become incredibly important now, as small business owners are struggling, they’re looking for help, they’re running their businesses on gut and intuition, they’re struggling with their finances. So, again, H&R Block is known as a consumer tax company, but the small business side of what we’re doing is actually really, really relevant to today.
Kara Goldin: Oh, that’s interesting. I did not know that. So that’s really, really good to know. How many locations do you have?
Jeff Jones: It’s crazy to think about this. We have 10,000 US locations.
Kara Goldin: Amazing.
Jeff Jones: Yeah.
Kara Goldin: Wow. That’s amazing. You guys used to be in Sears, right? Are you still… I remember, like it was H&R, right?
Jeff Jones: That was a long time ago, but yeah, we did have locations in Sears and those days are over, but we are still about one third franchised and two thirds company owned. So when I mentioned earlier that we literally have thousands of small business owners that are in the H&R Block family because they’re franchises. They’ve had the same anxiety and struggles as any small business owner does. Business changes, cashflow gets tight, what are the strategies I should put in place to help survive if I don’t get a stimulus payment? Those things are very, very real. When I think about my history, being the son of small business owners, having some entrepreneurial experiences myself, it’s part of today’s business at Block that gets me really excited, is seeing what we can do to take that financial pressure off of people so they can actually go do what they love to do the most.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I love that. That is super great. You write a lot too on, I know on LinkedIn and some other platforms, and you’re so inspirational, Jeff, seriously.
Jeff Jones: Oh, thank you, Kara. It means a lot hearing you say that.
Kara Goldin: I love that you [crosstalk 00:35:31] into different industries, you understand the entrepreneur, but you understand obviously how to run a big company and really lead with purpose as well. So one last point, I know that you obviously are resilient and you’ve said that you’ve got entrepreneurial resilience. What do you think is… When somebody is really facing doubt, how do you ultimately push forward in some way?
Jeff Jones: So I’m going to take us back to baseball real quick and make a quick connection, full circle. So when I played baseball, I had a chance when I left my little town in West Virginia, I went to a place called Fork Union Military Academy, where I played baseball. I recently had a chance to go back there and give the commencement speech. I talked to them about three things, reputation, relationships, and resilience. To answer your question, the way I connected it for the graduates at Fork Union was for me, the way I’ve thought about resilience is by surrounding myself with people who I can count on to help me know the truth. Those are about relationships.
And to have a sense of personal values that you can always come back to when things get really uncertain. That’s reputation. I think those things really go together because I’ve never been a fan of the [inaudible 00:37:14] fail fast, but I’m really curious. I love to learn. I’m constantly experimenting. When you have a great network and when you have a clear sense of personal purpose, then those two things help you build resilience because you can’t do anything by yourself. I think entrepreneurs have this feeling of they’re going to take it all on and do it themselves, but you need help. That’s how I’ve tried to tie all those three things together.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s super, super important and huge wisdom coming out of that statement. I love it. So where do people find you on social?
Jeff Jones: @JJones on Twitter. You can [inaudible 00:38:06] pretty active there, and I’ve been trying to wean and prioritize my social media lately. So it’s probably more LinkedIn and Twitter. I do love to write and share those thoughts. I think, again, it goes back to a gift of teaching and helping other people who are at different stages of their career, just try to pick up a nugget or learn something from what I’ve been able to learn as well.
Kara Goldin: I love it. Well, thank you so much, Jeff. Everybody give some great reviews to Jeff and super important, so we can get the algorithm up on the podcast and also subscribe and all that kind of stuff. Come back every Monday and Wednesday. We have really awesome guests like Jeff that are joining us where we can not only hear how they are building something, but changing industries and lots of leadership, wisdom, and a super, super great interview, Jeff. So thank you so much.
Jeff Jones: Thank you so much, Kara. Bye bye.
Kara Goldin: Bye bye.