The Leader Who Changed Her Life

Jake Wood Was Once a Warrior, Then a Nonprofit Leader. Now He’s an Entrepreneur.

A photo of Jake Wood’s first meeting with a donor. (Courtesy of Jake Wood)

On one of the hottest days of the year, I arrived in Phoenix to meet an entrepreneur who had just closed a major milestone in her life.

It’s a routine that has become a family tradition. It’s been 15 years since she stepped foot in the same place that first became home to her. Now she, her husband and their two children call this place “Our House.”

In the past decade, she’s experienced a lot of changes. But the good news is, she wasn’t the one to make them. She didn’t need to. As a leader, she had a lot of support.

Her first step was to move out of her condo, in part, to give herself time to get used to the idea of the next chapter of her life. But she also had a long list of challenges ahead. She didn’t want to overwhelm herself.

Instead, she leaned on friends and mentors. They were her accountability system. And they were her constant reminder to stay focused.

After meeting with an old client, I asked Jake to show me around her new place. The first thing she did was to take my camera from my hand and start turning the camera toward the view outside her front window. Soon, the view had disappeared and she was pointing the camera at herself.

“This is our home,” she said.

The new home is in a gourmet gated community in Arizona, with its own swimming pool, tennis court, fitness center and other amenities. Her new home is a year older than the last place she lived. And her first home in the state of New Jersey. The difference? The Arizona home has its own pool.

The transformation began nearly 15 years before I met Jake.

She was a high performing public servant before her career shift, and she’s been very focused ever since.

“What has helped me grow as a leader is to be very intentional about where I am trying to go,” she said. In other words, she’s been intentional about her long-term goals.

From serving as president of an organization to starting her own business, Jake has taken huge steps in creating what she calls a “vibrant home.”

In 2009, she took a job delivering meals to a children’s

Leave a Comment