Project Legacy:

Four Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur Who Started in Poverty

Project Legacy:

Four Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur Who Started in Poverty

Written by David Seibel | 10.8.2019

This post is the second in Project Legacy, a series of interviews that aim to learn from leaders outside of education to influence those inside education. To read the first article in the series, click here.

The following post recounts four lessons learned from Jake Stamper, Sextons Creek Senior Vice President. Beyond running seven businesses over the past few decades, Jake has vast experience in corporate management and marketing, as well as sacrificial service on several boards. He is a professional and an influencer. A deep well of wisdom, Jake is committed to Christ and to serving faithfully in the business world. So, here are four lessons on education from a serial entrepreneur.

“We did not have electricity or running water. We got all our water by catching it in a barrel as it dripped off the roof. I took baths out of buckets and used soap made out of the sand.”

“We did not have electricity or running water. We got all our water by catching it in a barrel as it dripped off the roof. I took baths out of buckets and used soap made out of the sand.”

Lesson #1: Poverty Produces

When asked to share his most transformative learning experience, Jake connects five events from ages 10-16: Losing his father, growing up in poverty, living in Southern California as a minority, moving to rural Kentucky, and transplanting to Belize.

The death of Jake’s father forced his family into even deeper poverty in Southern California. Not only was Jake a minority in his hometown, but he was also poor and fatherless. At age 11, Jake quickly had to become a man and produce for his family. Jake explains, “I had a very important role in my family at age 11. If I didn’t get things done, my whole family suffered. This period of poverty taught me how to apply knowledge and to produce.”

His mother remarried, and the family moved to Kentucky, then to Belize due to his stepfather’s job as a geological engineer. In the span of a few years, Jake lived in Southern California, Kentucky, and Central America. Jake shares that he learned how to be independent while living in Belize. “We did not have electricity or running water. We got all our water by catching it in a barrel as it dripped off the roof. I took baths out of buckets and used soap made out of the sand.” Rather than growing embittered by the simplicity and poverty, Jake learned how to do things on his own, become self-sufficient, and find contentment without material possessions.

Those involved in forming the next generation will be faced with many setbacks and obstacles. Although these may seem discouraging or frustrating at the moment, they might very well be the agents of transformation for young people.

“I came to an understanding that the world is a lot bigger than my mind is capable of comprehending.”

“I came to an understanding that the world is a lot bigger than my mind is capable of comprehending.”

Lesson #2: Perspective Grows

Another effect of Jake’s childhood was that he realized how much he did not know and that his perspective was limited. By traveling, he learned how people from different cultures view the world and how to adapt quickly. Jake’s love for learning resulted from immersing himself in these different locations. He shares, “I came to an understanding that the world is a lot bigger than my mind is capable of comprehending.” These experiences in Jake’s past have enabled him to develop emotional intelligence and work well with different types of people.

Parents and teachers are often concerned with protecting children from the evils of the world. Although this is a noble concern, Jake’s story shows that sheltering a child can result in a limited perspective. In fact, his travels enabled him to encounter God and find his purpose in life.

“Lord, show me what I cannot see and give me the wisdom to deal with it.”

“Lord, show me what I cannot see and give me the wisdom to deal with it.”

Lesson #3: Paraclete

The first time I met Jake was in a professional setting. During that interaction, he mentioned he felt that God called him to serve others as a Paraclete. In New Testament Greek, the Holy Spirit is often referred to as Paraclete (a comforter or advocate). Thus, when Jake shared with me that he felt his career in marketing was akin to the work of the Holy Spirit, I was intrigued and knew I had found someone to learn from.

Today, Jake comes alongside businesses and nonprofits to help them summit the peak of their own potential. He helps them remove obstacles, establish a healthy culture, and grow in a mission-true way.

Jake’s daily prayer is this: “Lord, show me what I cannot see and give me the wisdom to deal with it.” He shares that his greatest accomplishment is seeing this prayer come true in his career. He prays that the true Paraclete would help him be a paraclete to those he is serving. He further explains this prayer saying, “You cannot see the things that will kill you. The arrogance, greed, and pride that can drag you down are all invisible.” Thus, Jake is serious when he asks God to help him see what he cannot see.

Educators today can come alongside their students as Paracletes. To pull alongside others sacrificially is an effective way for educators to teach the next generation what Jesus is like. Moreover, educators who can see their students with the eyes of God will see them, not as they are but as they could be.

“What kind of focus does it take to transform the world in three years?”

“What kind of focus does it take to transform the world in three years?”

Lesson #4: Professional

I recently heard Dave Ramsey say, “If you are going to put a Jesus fish on the back of a car, you better drive it well.” Jake lives out his faith in the business world primarily by being good at what he does. He drives his car well. After having worked with the Sextons Creek team on one project, I am eager to work with them in the future. They are competent and professional. I have also sat down with Jake and listened to him teach on marketing and communications. When I compare my interactions with Jake to other folks, he distinguishes himself as a content area expert.

I asked Jake why he did not just choose the easy route and work a 9-5 job. He shared that it is his purpose that drives him to work hard at serving others. Jake shares that he found his purpose by looking to the life of Christ. “The salvation story is an amazing story to a believer because a believer begins to understand differently. Jesus committed to a mission to save the world, and his main ministry only lasted three years. They brutalized him and beat him and nailed him to a cross. What kind of focus does it take to transform the world in three years? How did he stick to the agenda for three years? How did he maintain the focus, discipline, self-control, sacrifice commitment, and peace to change the world in three years?” By looking to Jesus, Jake has become someone that is focused on changing the world one business at a time. As Jake imitates Christ, the Paraclete comes alongside him to achieve the goals on God’s agenda.

Adults can get distracted as they seek to fulfill their God-given agenda. For every activity a teacher does with a student, they need to ask, “What is my God-given purpose in doing this?” A classroom agenda should never be designed by counting the minutes but rather by making the minutes count. To not waste the lives of the next generation, we must not waste the minutes that we have with them.

Jake has spent his entire career in the marketing, communications, corporate and organizational management fields building global, national, regional and local route to market strategies and tactics. Jake’s personal brand is to pull alongside of others in a sacrificial way to help achieve others goals – something the ancient Greeks referred to as a paraclete.

 

 

Jake has spent his entire career in the marketing, communications, corporate and organizational management fields building global, national, regional and local route to market strategies and tactics. Jake’s personal brand is to pull alongside of others in a sacrificial way to help achieve others goals – something the ancient Greeks referred to as a paraclete.

 

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

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