Alumnus Jeremy Jepson Offers Advice on Failure, Life After CC

On Monday, Colorado College alumnus, Jeremy Jepson ‘99, returned to CC to offer career advice to current students. Now the Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Jepson graduated from Colorado College in 1999 and proceeded to obtain his master’s in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Among the audience were students ranging from first-years to seniors, Dean Edmonds, and several Career Center coaches.

Jeremy Jepson ’99. Photos by Aaron Cronin

Brought in as part of the Career Center’s Stratton Series, Jepson gave a talk titled, “Navigating an Impact Career in a Time of Transition,” which outlined Jepson’s own career, starting with his final year at CC and working through his time in the Peace Corps, graduate school, and trying out different careers. Recognizing the uncertainty and anxiety that plagues many college students—especially graduating seniors—the talk was tailored to offer career advice, but from a more personal, anecdotal perspective.

“You may fail in your first few years out of CC, but you’ll also fail 10 or 15 years after. It’s these failures and how you deal with them that define you,” said Jepson.

Additionally, Jepson stressed the importance of “reinventing” one’s self not only during college, but throughout different stages of life. “The process of reevaluating yourself and your goals is critical…” he said. “As you’re approaching graduation, I encourage you not to fear uncertainty, but to embrace it as a time of learning. Don’t get too caught up with the job titles or finances. You’re at the point where you’re finding the why.” According to his philosophy, reevaluation allows people to (re)discover the “whys” of life: why do people get up in the morning? Why do people enjoy their jobs? Why did they choose X instead of Y?

Some other post-graduation career tips the Disney executive offered were trying different careers, keeping an open mind to various industries, exploring until you find the place where you can have the impact you want on the world, and finally being thoughtful, intentional, and driven throughout your career. In a final note, he encouraged students to not start down their career paths alone, but rather surround themselves with a group of mentors and advisors.

“Surround yourself with people you can seek advice from,” Jepson said. “You want to surround yourself with people who contradict each other and that will challenge you. You also want to surround yourself with your biggest cheerleaders.”

Later Monday afternoon, Jepson met with students one-on-one at the Career Center to offer more personalized advice. Many students are hopeful more opportunities like this will continue to arise.

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