Every year at Next Jump, we embark on a journey to find our “Avenger” – a steward leader who goes above and beyond to help others succeed. We caught up with Christian – last year’s Avenger and this year’s Captain of the event – to get a picture of his Avengers Journey.
Stephanie: In your own words, what is an “Avenger”?
Christian: I feel like the definition is always changing. We’re still sticking to the qualities of steward leadership, but also seeing some signs of new traits as well. An Avenger is someone that leads by example. People that go out of their way to help others, even if they don’t ask for it. People who care personally for those around them, even if that means being able to give critical feedback. They don’t only complete a task you are struggling with, they help set up environments where you can better yourself. I feel like the thing that’s changed the most is the definition of “Better You”. It used to be people doing things for you to help you meet some deadline or accomplish a task. Instead, the “Better You” lens is more around helping you become a better version of yourself. There’s a lot of things that go into what makes an Avenger.
Stephanie: How did you feel at the ceremony last year when your name was announced and you were named 2017’s Avenger?
Christian: I was overwhelmed – I go about my day just kind of doing what I think is the right thing to do. But everyone does that around here, so it didn’t feel like I was doing anything special. Obviously I was extremely thrilled to see my parents walking out into the auditorium [at the Avengers Ceremony] because I thought for sure my fiancé would have told me, but she didn’t leak any secrets. It was the best moment here at Next Jump I’ve had so far.
Stephanie: Avengers have the opportunity to go on a trip with their families – how was it like being able to share that experience with your family?
Christian: So people were asking me about all of the crazy and ridiculous things we did with that large of a budget for a vacation. But it wasn’t like that for me – it wasn’t about the money. I had never really gone on vacation with my family. We always just drove an hour to the beach and that was the extent of our vacationing, so this was special in the fact that it was a new experience for all of us which we had the privilege to experience together. While we did some amazing things in Ireland, like staying at a castle and participating in falconry, the most special part of it for me was that I got to do those things with my family – just being there with them was probably like the biggest gift.
Stephanie: As you mentioned, part of being an Avenger is helping others grow. What’s the kind of coach you strive to be?
Christian: So when I think of the role of a coach, the most impactful person here for me has been someone like John. They have the answers, but they also don’t spoon feed you those answers. They want you to go and experiment so you can fail on your own, to be able to learn from your mistakes. As someone who doesn’t like to see people fail, I’ve had a hard time not hand-holding the people I’m coaching; but I’m trying to find that balance. I genuinely care about the people here, so I’m always eager to take on the role of coach because I do want to see people grow personally and technically…to help them become better.