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An Interview with Our Commencement Speaker: Jarrod McNaughton, MBA

Becky St. Clair, June 15, 2018
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Jarrod McNaughton received his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Pacific Union College and his Master of Business Administration from the University of La Verne (California). He will present the Commencement address for the Class of 2018 on Sunday, June 17. The service will stream live at puc.edu.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pastor, believe it or not!

Instead of theology, you got a bachelor’s degree in public relations, but continued on to get a Master of Business Administration. How do you think the two have worked together in your career?
The masters in business was a perfect connector for my undergrad degree and really helped to round me out, bringing the best of both worlds together.

What were some of your first impressions of PUC as a student?
I honestly didn’t want to attend PUC at first because of a perception I had that turned out to be completely wrong. Attending PUC was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t change it for the world. From being one of the most beautiful college campuses in the U.S. to its incredible focus on students, PUC is far above the rest.

What inspired you to become a business leader and serve in the healthcare sector?
It was watching people around me and thinking how fascinating their job was. Internships are such a great way to get an in-depth look at professions that might interest you. For me it was super helpful!

Today you work for Inland Empire Health Plan, one of the ten largest Medicaid health plans in the U.S., after working several years for Kettering Health Network in the Midwest. How is the transition going?
It’s super fun to learn this side of the healthcare business and try to bring the two in closer harmony.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
It’s different every day. I try to get into the office by 6:45 a.m. to give myself time to plan for the day and get caught up on email. Usually by 7 or 8 a.m. I’m in back-to-back meetings for the entire day! I love it because no two days are alike.

How do you start each day? Do you have a special routine or activity that gets you up and going for the day?
I try my best to start with a devotion and exercise time. Because my schedule is so demanding, I’ve found even just a little exercise can really help with stamina for the day, physically coupled with a solid devotional for spiritual and mental stamina.

You work a lot with Global Medical Missions, leading short-term mission teams to various countries on multiple continents. Tell me something you’ve learned during those trips.
By far it’s how incredibly blessed we are in this country, along with how our priorities can get a little lost on what’s really important. These trips help me re-prioritize and remind me what’s really most important in life: Faith, family and friends.

One of your hobbies, which you often use as a method of clearing your mind and refocusing, is flying single engine planes. What other methods do you recommend, for those of us who aren’t pilots, to clear our minds, refocus, and tackle life?
I love spending one-on-one time with a close friend. Those special relationships we all have make such a difference because you can share whatever you need to share and know you won’t be judged. It’s confidential and sometimes it just helps to process things out loud. Trusting friendships have always been a huge help to me.

What do you think was the most valuable part of your experience at PUC as a student? What do you think was most beneficial to you as a person and a professional?
By far, the writing I had to do at PUC was so good. I can’t emphasize enough regardless of your major, you must be a good writer and know how to write a letter, memo, email, text, etc., so you’re able to convey your “signature” and spirit in what you write. I also found the professors to truly care about the students and that made such a difference for me.

If you could go back and talk to your college senior self, what would you say?
Be patient! I was so driven I sometimes didn’t enjoy life enough.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you weren’t sure what the future held? Tell me how you got through the fear and moved forward.
Absolutely! We’ve been through some very tough times, times when we had to completely rely on God and while that was super scary it was also very comforting to know there is absolutely nothing more we can do, it’s all up to him. I think surrounding ourselves with people that loved on us through those rough days was also so good. We’re super blessed to have such a great family and friend network.

Name something you want to change about yourself and how you’re working on it.
I want to continue my journey on learning to be patient and truly waiting on the Lord’s will. I’m such a planner it’s hard for me to let go and let God.