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Sociology and Anthropology
Jake Albion ’13
Lake Forest College’s Jake Albion is climbing the ranks at Thrive Media in Bonita Springs, Florida. A 2013 graduate, Albion has already put his degree in sociology and anthropology to good use, working as vice president of client relations at the growing brand-management company.
In fact, Albion’s accomplishments earned him a feature story in the Southwest Florida News-Press series “12 under 40.” Each month, the series features a young entrepreneur or business person, otherwise regarded as “a mover, a shaker, an influential, or an up and comer” in the business community. At only 24, Albion is the youngest nominee to be featured in the series.
“In college I was like a sponge trying to learn everything I could, but I was not confident in how I applied my knowledge. Working at Thrive Media has helped grow my confidence as a professional. I know I can adapt to any situation as a leader and a problem solver. When a client has an issue, I know I can figure out a solution, even if I have not dealt with the issue before,” says Albion.
“Lake Forest did a great job setting me up to succeed at Thrive Media. The skills I learned as a sociology and anthropology major taught me to think outside the box. Lake Forest gave me the knowledge, but Thrive Media taught me the practical ways to apply that knowledge and how to apply it confidently,” he adds.
Albion also attributes some of his success to the life lessons he learned while competing on the Lake Forest College swimming and diving team. The men’s team chased the Midwest Conference Championship, earning second place four years in a row. “It was tough (placing second), but I got to be a part of building an elite program with a group of passionate people, and I came away with some important life lessons too,” says Albion.
Though missing out on a championship was disappointing, athletics taught Albion to focus on what he could control and how to work smart, not just hard—lessons that continue to guide the former athlete in life after college. “Life as a student athlete at Lake Forest has also taught me that, while the destination is important, the journey is equally valuable. I got to be a part of building a team that to this day continues to grow and strive for big goals,” says Albion.
But, working with a team towards a common goal is in itself a valuable skill. “When I joined Thrive Media, we had some hard times, but we emerged stronger and Thrive has maintained exponential growth in the last two years. I was able to work with a great tight knit team to grow an innovative company that challenges me every day. The challenges I faced while on the Lake Forest College Swim Team prepared me to embrace opportunities that have allowed me to grow personally and also allowed me to help grow a company, because nothing is impossible.”
There, Albion borrows from Swimming Coach Vadim Tashlitsky’s ’00 favorite quote: “The impossible is possible.” Those words have stuck with Albion in his professional endeavors, and he often reflects back on his time at Lake Forest when faced with a daunting task.
“I have found a company that believes in that quote as strongly as Coach Tashlitsky did because they grew a 24-year old Sociology and Anthropology major into a Vice President of Client Relations, and I don’t plan on stopping there,” he says.
For current students, Albion’s advice is to take advantage of a well-rounded liberal arts education. As a freshman, Albion began taking business courses, though the subject matter failed to peak his interest. One day, Albion’s advisor pulled him aside and urged him to take classes he actually enjoyed. “I took a wide variety of classes and I developed a diverse knowledge base. Knowledge is important, but even more important than knowledge is the ability to apply that knowledge practically to your life after school,” says Albion. “Lake Forest helped me understand the importance of applying what I know, and those skills are what have helped me become successful.”
Albion also encourages students to take risks and branch out during their undergraduate career. “Don’t limit yourself,” he says. “College is a place to learn how to think and develop critical skills for both your career and your life. So take the drawing class you have been debating taking for two years because the basic skills you learn in college will come into use one day.”
You can take his word for it, too. Albion has not only found a career he loves, but one that he excels at. Many of Albion’s undergraduate experiences prepared him for the real world, but it is Albion who has made the most of the lessons learned and knowledge gained at Lake Forest.
“Swimming, Lake Forest, and Thrive Media have taught me to embrace every challenge that comes my way,” says Albion. “Because nothing is impossible, and I believe it.”
This article, by Kristen Whitney ’17, originally appeared on the Forester Athletics website in August 2015.