Jeremy West – My Story
January 19, 2022
As a kid I dreamed of running my own company. Both my mom and her father were entrepreneurs, and I saw firsthand the excitement and hard work that it took. I was born in Denver, then shortly thereafter moved to California, then to Arizona, and finally settled in New Mexico. I loved sports, namely football (Go Chiefs!) and skiing and had a passion for the outdoors.
In Albuquerque, I met my best friend, Stuart. While I was more reserved, Stuart was the life of the party, extremely engaging and funny. We were both focused and disciplined students, who also enjoyed a good time. As partners in DECA, we dreamed of doing something together and hitting it big. Yet, when college came calling, the mountains won, and I ended up in Boulder (Go Buffs!), where I met my wonderful wife, Kristen.
After four rigorous years skiing, exploring the Rockies, and growing student debt, it was time to graduate with a degree in Finance. Instead of chasing the dream of entrepreneurship, I played it safe, and got into corporate banking. After starting as a commercial underwriter, I soon became an account manager for local small businesses across the Denver area. It was an amazing job that offered me an invaluable firsthand perspective of the challenges of growing a company, along with the passions that each of these business owners possessed.
With the help and support of numerous excellent managers at JP Morgan Chase, I grew as a salesperson and leader, and was soon given an opportunity to run a team. During the height of the 2008 financial crisis, the bank asked me to help expand our franchise by starting up our Northern California division. It was an amazing opportunity that challenged and invigorated me. In some ways it was like a start-up, as I was responsible for staffing up and growing our book of business from scratch, yet much safer when you are backed by one of the biggest companies on earth.
In the Bay Area, Kristen and I welcomed two wonderful boys into our lives, Cole and Clay, who became our primary source of inspiration and motivation. As the boys became older, it forced us to reflect on our lives, and passions, and it was clear that my dream of building a company was still burning. After nineteen years at the bank, I was at a crossroads – continue to play it safe with a solid career in corporate America or take my shot.
Fortunately, Stuart was already reflecting on his next move with his business partner Ryan, and as fate would have it, the three of us decided to join forces. Regardless of where this road takes us, I know that I won’t regret not taking my shot.