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Promise Team Spotlight - Jacob Waggoner

Jacob Waggoner - Promise Team Spotlight

This month, the spotlight shines on a member of The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise) team who transitioned from a college intern to a full-time staff member.

For Scholar Relations and Alumni Coordinator Jacob Waggoner, the path to working at The Promise began during his junior year at Kalamazoo Central High School in Mr. Roy’s marketing class.

“We were tasked with a project where we had to design, price, and advertise an energy drink,” he recalled. “At the end, Mr. Roy picked my project as the one that he would invest in.”

Intrigued by what he had experienced through this class, Waggoner enrolled at Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Haworth College of Business. It was here that he found his passion for digital and social media marketing and earned an internship with The Promise.

“As an intern, I was doing a lot of administrative tasks,” he said of his first two years with The Promise. “Eventually, I got involved with some projects that were more related to marketing and social media.”

After graduating from WMU with a Bachelor of Business Administration in May 2019, Waggoner was brought on in this current role. Using what he learned in school, his position centers around forming connections with those who have used The Promise.

“My role involves reaching out to and fostering relationships with alumni who have used the scholarship to pursue their path, as well as figure out how we can still be of value to them,” he said of his day-to-day work. “So many alumni have expressed interest in giving back to the Kalamazoo community and we have to get really creative with how we develop these opportunities.”

Creating volunteer and mentorship opportunities as well as providing alumni with platforms to share their personal and professional stories are just some of the ways Waggoner has built these networks. Additionally, he assists with website development and coordinating KzooConnect’s blog!

If you asked Waggoner what the best part about his job is, he would tell you that it is being able to pay forward the gifts that he was granted while working alongside a dedicated group of professionals.

“The Promise represents an opportunity and, thankfully, that opportunity came to Kalamazoo,” he shared. “It opened a lot of doors for me and now I am able to give back through work that matters. Each day I do something that I love with a group of people who are passionate about the future of our community.”

When asked what he would tell the seniors who will be graduating in a few short months, he replied, “You don’t have to have everything figured out. Try as many things as you can and get out of your comfort zone. The Promise is extremely flexible, and we have tremendous resources in place to help you pursue the path you want.”

Those are some wise words. Thank you for all you do, Jacob!

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