Jeremy Jeffery, Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) Vice President of Strategy and Business Analytics, believes that honesty, integrity and work ethic are cornerstones of a successful career.
Because of his determination to live out these convictions in his personal and professional life, Jeremy was recently named an Arkansas Business Class of 2018 “40 Under 40” honoree, meaning Jeremy is one of 40 intriguing business and political leaders under 40 years old who bear watching.
Jeremy began his career as a public accountant. Unknowingly, the first day of his professional career was a fitting preface to his future. His very first audit as an accountant was at JRMC almost 15 years ago. “The first day I sat down to actually do work in my new career was on this campus, in this hospital,” Jeremy said.
Several years later, a JRMC employee and friend of Jeremy’s asked him to come work at the hospital as an accounting manager. “He told me about the way JRMC helps grow people professionally and about the opportunities to learn and succeed he had experienced here – I jumped on it,” he said.
Saying yes to that opportunity was the first step in many that led Jeremy to becoming JRMC vice president of strategy and business analytics in 2017.
Jeremy said working collaboratively with other JRMC employees has sharpened his leadership skills. “I’ve had a lot of mentors and people throughout the years that have helped me – if I gave you one name I’d have to give you ten names,” he said. “But the dynamics of having to work together toward a common purpose and common mission has taught me what excellent leadership looks like.”
Jeremy said that the most important aspect of leadership is integrity. “Integrity is being accountable to the people working for you and those expecting you to produce the results that they’re looking for,” he said. “It’s not compromising what you believe in; it’s being honest and open and transparent; it’s having the desire to improve and make things better – so much is wrapped up in that word.”
For Jeremy, one aspect of living in integrity is always striving to better himself and the organization he works for. “I don’t settle for good enough,” he said. “I’m always trying to improve things. I want to make tomorrow better than today, so I’m working toward that end with everything.”
One way that Jeremy positively impacts the world around him is volunteering at STEP Ministries, an organization that invests in inner-city youth, as an after-school mentor and vice chairman of the board. “Programs like this are the key to changing hearts and changing our communities,” Jeremy said. “STEP creates an environment and a structure in which one-on-one relationships are developed with a mentee and mentor. They provide the day, the space and some context for these mentorship relationships to develop.”
Jeremy has been a STEP mentor since his mentee was in the third grade. However, the third grader Jeremy began investing in is now entering his senior year in high school. During their time together, they’ve read the Bible, played games, completed life skill training and simply spent time getting to know one another. “It’s a little overwhelming to think that I’ve followed him throughout his entire young life,” Jeremy said. “I think back on it, and think, ‘oh my gosh, I hope I’ve said the right things.’”
Jeremy said balancing work and his involvement in STEP is one of the biggest priorities in his life. “STEP is a one-on-one program, so if I’m not there, my mentee has to work with somebody he doesn’t have a relationship with,” Jeremy said. “He’s coming there to meet me, I’m coming there to meet him – if I’m not there, I’m not fulfilling my end of that bargain, so I very rarely miss. It has to be something incredibly important for me to not be there on Wednesday nights.”
As a leader at JRMC and in the community, Jeremy said the one piece of advice he would give to young professionals is to work hard. “I don’t want to sound like that old man saying, ‘work harder,’” Jeremy said, laughing. “But I think hard work is a distinguishing characteristic. Dedication to what you’re doing is extremely important, and in order to have that level of work ethic, you have to have a passion for your profession.”
Jeremy said he’s humbled and honored to be recognized with 39 other amazing 40 Under 40 leaders. “It’s a little overwhelming to think about the fact that I would be recognized on a statewide basis, because a lot of what I do here is behind the scenes, and not a lot of people ever really see the product of my work,” he said. “To be recognized like this truly is an honor and is also very humbling.”
Jeremy said he can’t accept an honor like this without recognizing the other half of his team – his wife, Casey. Through early mornings and late nights fulfilling his responsibilities to JRMC and STEP Ministries, Jeremy said she always supports him. “She knows I’m passionate about what I do, and she’s loving and rolls with it when everything’s going on all at once,” he said. “She’s very important to me, and her love and support for me is just as important as anything I do. We are a team.”
Jeremy said that if there’s one thing he wants our community to know about JRMC, it’s this: our hospital is committed to caring for Southeast Arkansas. “If folks could see what goes on here every day, I think they would have a whole new respect for this organization, and there would be no question in their minds that we are an excellent hospital,” he said. “People in this organization rally and come together to achieve our purpose and achieve our mission, and I see that happening now more than at any point that I’ve been here in the last 10 years.”