Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Let’s Help Jake Harriman Win The John C. Maxwell Leadership Award


Hey West Virginia! Hey USNA! Hey Marines! Hey Stanford Peeps! Hey Nuru Crew!

Earlier this year, Jake was nominated to receive the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award, and he has made it to the Top 30 finalists. This week, he and the other Top 30 are being interviewed by a representative of the John C. Maxwell team, but they are also trying to assess the leadership of candidates like Jake by hearing from people who know these leaders.

"Please help us learn more about each of these candidates by sharing your positive leadership stories and how one of them have impacted and influenced you and your leadership."

Do you know Jake? Have you been inspired by his leadership, his drive, and his passion? Whether it was in the heat of battle, the tranquility of a faith community, or the passionate effort to see the end of extreme poverty, post your story on the Maxwell website.

If you know Jake, you know he is a pretty humble guy, and he really doesn’t like to talk about himself and his accolades. That’s why I’m asking YOU to share why he is the perfect candidate for the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award. Will you help me? It only takes about five minutes to share a story. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to do this either! Click this link to make a comment and share a story. 

Also, if it is helpful, here’s what I posted. J

When I think about Jake and his leadership, I think about the fact that he is “all-in” with whatever he commits himself to. I first met him during our freshman year of college at WVU.  As a freshman, he was incredibly committed to his faith, and offered to make his room available for a Bible study to anyone who was interested on his residence hall floor. Jake’s room  became a crowded space because I think people have always been interested in getting involved with whatever he is a part of because he is committed and he follows through, and honestly, people want to be part of what he is doing..

After two years at WVU, Jake was stirred by a passion to serve. That led him to not only to explore an opportunity to serve in the military, but also to pursue an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Jake  attended the academy and graduated in the top percentile of his class while also becoming a Rhodes Scholar semi-finalist as well as captain of Navy’s rugby team. His pathway has inspired many other Midshipmen, and his graduating class (USNA 98) actually organized a campaign to raise funds to support Nuru where they raised more than $110,000 as part of their 15 year reunion. In addition Jake and his passion has inspired a group of current Midshipmen to run marathons and compete in triathlons to raise funds and awareness for Nuru. Jake's dedication to service inspires other people to serve.

As a Marine, Jake served as a platoon commander in infantry and in a special operations unit called Force Reconnaissance. I did not serve in the military with Jake, but in my conversations with those who did, and those who became part of Force Recon after Jake left to start Nuru, their comments are always filled with respect for what Jake has been able to do through Nuru and appreciation for him as a servant leader. Jake led his Marines on four operational deployments, including two combat tours in Iraq and disaster relief operations in Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the Asian tsunami. He was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat during his second tour in Iraq.  Jake's successes as a Marine leader were built on the trust of his peers. 

When Jake was confronted with the issue of extreme poverty and the desperation it causes, he dedicated himself to studying humanitarian development and enrolled in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While there, he involved more than 30 of his classmates and a half dozen professors in helping him build the first iteration of the Nuru model, and graduated with his degree and a well thought out business plan for addressing extreme poverty in June 2008. By September of 2008, he had recruited his initial team at Nuru and inserted to begin testing this model to address extreme poverty. Jake mobilizes those around him to get engaged and contribute their time and talents to solve a problem.

Seven years later, Jake continues to inspire individuals to address the issue of extreme poverty. Thousands of people have been impacted by Nuru’s efforts in Kenya and Ethiopia, and a growing number of people in the US and around the world have chosen to support Jake in his leadership and his efforts to address extreme poverty, and who are in turn leading and inviting others to join these efforts. 

In fact, earlier this year, Jake was named an inaugural Presidential Leadership Scholar, and has been benefitting from mentorship from former US Presidents and their staff including Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. As the program draws to a close, his fellow scholars and faculty chose him to give remarks at the graduation ceremony for the scholars. Through the time of this program, Jake demonstrated leadership by winning the respect of his peers. 


Jake embodies servant leadership and the principles and practices that John C. Maxwell and his team encourage. In addition, Jake has helped me and countless others to live our lives with a greater sense of purpose, and a willingness to keep pushing ourselves because the world around us deserves us bringing our very best to whatever we do, and it needs more people who are ‘all-in’ for serving and inspiring others.

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