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How Being a Servant Leader Has Helped This SVP Find Success as a Manager

By | The Muse Editors |

It’s not always easy turning down a perfectly good job offer, especially as a new grad. But that’s exactly what Jason McDonald did after getting his finance degree. Instead of accepting an entry-level analyst position, McDonald held out for something he thought would be better, and started out as a customer service representative at a title insurer in San Francisco.

“I figured I’d do it for a year and then go to graduate school,” McDonald says. However, as often happens, fate intervened. While working at the title insurer, a meeting with a colleague in the industry would change the trajectory of his career.

“It didn’t take long to figure out what he was making on commissions to inspire me to get into sales,” McDonald recalls. “One year led to two and two to three. With continued success and financial gain, graduate school soon became a goal I would leave behind.”

Today, McDonald is a senior vice president and managing director at the real estate tech company Doma—a position he likely never would have earned had he continued with the more traditional finance path.

Here, McDonald shares how growing up in a melting pot has impacted his life and career, what it means to be a servant leader, and how Doma supports diversity, equity, and inclusion.

You’ve spent your entire career in the title industry in the Bay Area. Why do you value working there?

Over the years, opportunities have arisen to leave. However, growing up in a melting pot has proved the most significant contributor to my professional and personal success and growth, which is why I’ve stayed in the Bay Area all these years.

Being raised in a melting pot has helped me have an open mind regarding politics, business strategies, education, religion, gender rights, and equality. This expanded mindset has allowed me to relate, be comfortable, and thrive in many different settings. For example, while in college, one of my roommates was Chinese and for several years I was blessed to have learned a great deal about East Asian culture. I even picked up keywords and phrases in Cantonese. This experience later proved very significant when I took over a territory in sales that was predominantly East Asian. I did exceptionally well thanks to my awareness of the culture, and was very productive in this territory. This chapter helped set the stage for many of the meaningful and reciprocal business relationships that I still hold dear today.

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