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Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Protégé Jaemin Cho and mentor Jed Ballard

Cho and Ballard

CBPP’s Leadership Fellows Program pairs high-performing CBPP students with a mentor in the Anchorage business community, giving students the opportunity to learn about real-world leadership from local business leaders. This year’s cohort includes 22 CBPP students, called protégés, and their mentors. To begin the program, each protégé interviewed their new mentor, and every week, we will feature one of these interviews with the mentors, who share their thoughts on leadership. This week’s featured protégé/mentor pairing is Jaemin Cho, who is pursuing his BBA in Accounting and Finance, and his mentor, Jed Ballard, who is a Senior Manager at KPMG.

Where are you from? How did you decide to pursue a career in Alaska?

I am from Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska. I love the state, and Alaska is good place to raise a family. I have worked in eastern Europe for eight years as manager for KPMG.

Where did you go to college? What did you study in college?

I went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I studied Accounting in college.

Did you have anyone you relied on for mentorship/solid career advice? If yes, what is the most important leadership advice they shared with you?

Yes, I had a partner in KPMG. I really wanted to do a marathon, but I put the plan away because of other things in my life. The partner told me that I was just making excuses and told me to just do it. Too much thinking can delay your plan and may cause you to not even start the plan. Another piece of advice given to me was investing money, time, or effort. By investing these, it can help you to accomplish your goals.

It is important and beneficial for CBPP and Anchorage’s business community to collaborate and invest in the next generation of leaders. What do you think should be conveyed to our next generation of leaders?

Two important characteristics that should be conveyed to our next generation of leaders are honesty and empathy. Honesty is the key characteristic to build any kind of relationship. Without honesty, you cannot trust. Another characteristic is empathy. Rather than looking down on others, a leader should be able to understand others in their situation to communicate effectively.

The College of Business and Public Policy is excited to host this unique mentorship program and is grateful for our excellent protégés and for the outstanding business leaders who have chosen to participate as mentors.