Jason Levergood ’88 is an experienced GCS (Global Client Services), U.S. National Advisory Services Director with Grant Thornton LLP. He has over 25 years of international professional experience in the private and public sectors, and has visited and worked in over 100 countries. He shared his belief in the importance of global-mindedness with Upper School students and the Board of Visitors. We asked him to recap that presentation in the following three questions.
Jason served as the IMPACT 2030 chief architect for curriculum development and lead facilitator. He is pictured at the United Nations with Sue Stephenson, Interim CEO of IMPACT 2030.
Why is a global mindset important in your job?
I am fortunate to work for a company that values a global perspective, where diversity and inclusion work to drive a culture of innovation. I enjoy collaborating with my teammates, many of whom are from other countries. I believe diversity helps each of us to think big, take risks, and bring curiosity and creativity to every part of our lives, inside and outside the firm. In my role with Grant Thornton, I have the opportunity to help build consulting and advisory capacity among member firms in over 130 countries. I cannot separate the mindset from strategy, operations, and personal performance. It is also my joy. I have traveled to a large number of those countries and each day I am interacting with colleagues from around the world.
Why is it important for today’s students to have a global perspective?
A global perspective means that you will stubbornly remain teachable and curious and forever a student of the world. Country Day students are the future leaders of tomorrow—and successful organizations need and seek leaders (and employees) who embrace a global perspective and demonstrate the attributes and values of that mindset. These positive attributes may include tolerance, passion for diversity, adaptability, cultural curiosity, relationship building skills, self-awareness, and humility. Add language skills to these enriching attributes and today’s student can acquire keys to unlock many of the world’s treasures while making the world a better place. Diplomacy and intercultural empathy are increasingly important in professional and political leadership positions today. Our country needs culturally experienced and culturally sensitive ambassadors. We are all ambassadors when we build relationships here in the U.S. or abroad that are sensitive to the intriguing differences that we observe in others.
What role did Country Day play in giving you a global mindset?
Diversity and global mindedness are not the first terms that come to mind when remembering Country Day during the 1980s; however, Country Day had a nurturing and respectful culture that encouraged creative thought and respect for teachers and fellow classmates that instilled a kind of relational-confidence. I believe it was relational-confidence and cultural curiosity that enabled me to take a blindfolded step like moving to Xi’an, China, in the early 1990s. In addition, there were social disciplines acquired and moral fiber interwoven into life at Country Day that I continue to value to this day. A global perspective is not just open-mindedness, but openheartedness as well. One earns a global perspective by giving greatly of oneself to another culture, particularly if it is a culture quite diverse from our own. The demanding level of social disciplines and courtesies needed to thrive in Japan felt like an extension of my upbringing, and Country Day was a very important part of that.
More About Jason
Jason began his international career working for Chang’an University in Xi’an, China, and then for various international nonprofit organizations in the education sector prior to working for international consultancies. He spent six years living in both China and Japan and is proficient in Mandarin and Japanese, with basic knowledge of Russian and Spanish. He holds a BA in communications, with an emphasis in broadcasting and dramatic arts, from Appalachian State University.