Alumni Spotlights

Cory Jackson '12

Cory Jackson '12

Unite Us / Account Manager

1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
Immediately after graduation, I completed a year of service through AmeriCorps VISTA in Charleston, SC. After that my wife and I (Jenna Jackson, 2011 Public and Nonprofit Admin) moved to Asheville, NC where we have been since 2013. I started at the YMCA of Western North Carolina where I launched the country's first all-in-one mobile nutrition vehicle that was able to run free produce markets, food demonstrations, and cooking classes. Over the course of 7.5 years, I was able to grow the program to host 4 vehicles and manage one of the country's most awarded USDA summer meal programs. In 2015, I was honored to be named the GVSU Young Alumni winner. Throughout 2020 I helped lead our team's COVID relief efforts and get thousands of pounds of fresh produce and meals out to families in our region. Starting in 2021 I joined the Unite Us team as an Account Manager helping to support the NCCare360 network, the first statewide coordinated care network to better connect individuals to local services and resources.

2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
There are so many! As an overarching theme, I participated in Alternative Breaks and those collectively were some of my best memories from GVSU. I met my wife through the program, made some life-long friends, and saw parts of the country I might have never gotten a chance to experience otherwise. However, my favorite and most memorable came from my first trip to Soddy Daisy, TN. I was a freshman with my mindset on following a medical career and had stumbled upon AB by pure chance. I was absolutely TERRIFIED to load up into a van full of strangers and drive to TN over winter break. Any fear was almost instantly put aside as we got to know each other. For the week we worked to help clear paths and build new trails in rural TN. Throughout the week we work alongside the program leader who was always the first one up each morning and worked until the very end of each day. Seeing his passion for his work really helped to shape how I saw my path forward as a student as well as a professional post-graduation. Not soon after we got back I shifted my degree to Public and Nonprofit Administration and signed up for several more trips with Alternative Breaks.

3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
I'm not sure where I picked it up but I have had "Fear Mediocrity" taped to my computer since getting to Asheville and it's stuck for the past 7 years. It's helped shaped the belief that whatever your current role is (father, husband, employee, etc.) that you should show up as your best self knowing while recognizing that we are all a work in progress.

4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand Valley experience.
Transformative, Impactful, Fun-Loving

5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
As a father of a young son and another little one expected in September, I'd like to leave the world a healthier place for them that promotes inclusive care and wellbeing for everyone; regardless of age, gender, or race.

February 2021

Interest Area(s)
Public and Nonprofit Admin

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Page last modified February 23, 2021