Alumni Profile in Excellence: Liberator’s Heart

The Profile in Excellence award is given by the OBU Alumni Association to a former student who has “demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation, or life service in such a way as to bring pride and honor to the University.” Each year, Profile In Excellence recipients are featured in OBU Magazine.

It is a tried-and-true formula in many notable romantic movies. Highly successful businessmen often are portrayed as conquerors who finally bow to the power of love, usually within a two-hour timeframe. Whether portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, Harrison Ford or Richard Gere, the character amasses wealth only to find there is greater value found in relationships of the heart.

Jeremie Kubicek did not have to travel the power path to learn the value of the heart.

As president and chief executive officer of Giant Impact, Jeremie Kubicek, a 1993 OBU graduate, wants to diminish the "conquerors overpower" perspective and emphasize the importance of business relationships with a "liberators empower" philosophy.

"I have always believed that the most important role of a leader in business is to liberate their employees and those they reach to become the best they can be," he said. "This normally happens at the heart, not just the mind. If you connect with people at the heart level great things can happen for everyone."

Growing up in Shawnee and attending First Baptist Church, Kubicek took Bible courses at OBU while he was still in high school. He struggled between pursuing a degree in business or one in ministry. He also considered attending Oklahoma State.

"Everyone told me I'd be a good minister," he said.

Instead of heading to Stillwater, Jeremie opted to stay in his hometown and study business. By the end of his first week of college, he had already made lasting friendships.

"I met my wife my first day of school," he said. "We were friends for a long time and started dating later on. What I value the most about my OBU experience is the friendships I made."

Jeremie was involved in many activities on campus. He takes pride in the fact his intramural football team, the Toxic Dolphins, had a long run as league champions.

What may have influenced Kubicek the most in his business career was the instruction he received from Dr. John Cragin, OBU professor of business.

"Dr. Cragin is an amazing teacher. I consider him my college mentor. He challenged me to see how I can use business to influence people," he said. "He got me to think globally. I am an internationally minded guy because of Dr. Cragin."

Through Cragin's influence, Kubicek became a founding member of OBU's Global Options team in Moscow, Russia. A two-year experience in the former communist country was the start of Jeremie's professional career. He formed a consulting group that specializing in accounting, training and marketing for American and international firms already in operation.

His team's work in Russia also led to the development of Moscow Economic School, the first private school in Russia. MES is currently the largest private educational institution in the former Soviet Union. Kubicek's company worked with Fortune 500 firms and other international businesses during Russia's formidable transition years to a new economy.

In 1995, Jeremie and his wife, the former Kelly Gobin, a 1991 OBU graduate, moved back to Oklahoma City. They were compelled to return after Kelly's father, a survivor of the Murrah Building bombing, lost his business because of the tragedy.

Kubicek began working for prominent businessman Kent Humphreys as a regional sales manager for Humphrey's merchandising and distribution company. In 1998, Jeremie was promoted to vice president of marketing.

"Kent was my next mentor," he said. "I learned a lot from him about the value of people over tactics and the value of integrity. He taught me that relationships were the most important element of business."

In 2002, Jeremie, along with his business partner Matthew Myers, started Giant Partners. The consulting firm helps clients improve their businesses by using biblical examples and principles.

"I had an epiphany," he said. "In my years of management, I'd seen bad leadership, and I wanted good leadership. I wanted others to understand what the qualities of good leadership are.

"In the Bible, we know about David having to fight Goliath," he said. "The true giant in the story was not the loud, proud and boastful Goliath; rather it was David, who was humble and served one greater than himself. In the end, the real Giant won."

Kubicek and Giant Partners were featured in a Christianity Today article last year. His business was described as "using a model Jesus lays out in Matthew 9 and 10 - whether the [client] company is Christian-led or not. Giant enters a village (business) and tries to heal the sick (fix problems), cast out demons (alleviate anxiety), and preach the Good News (encourage executives to live righteously)."

The year he started Giant Partners was also nearly the conclusion of Jeremie's life. He was critically injured in a car wreck in Cancun, Mexico, when a taxi he and Kelly were in was broadsided. While recovering from the accident, he came to another conclusion.

"This is not about me," he said. "I know I could have died in that car wreck, but God let me live. My passion for people has grown because of this. I want to make an impact on millions of people, bringing them one step closer to God."

In February 2007, Giant Partners helped formed Giant Impact after acquiring John Maxwell's Maximum Impact and INJOY companies in Atlanta, Ga. Giant Impact has organized conferences in cities across the country and around the world.

Jeremie remains involved with his alma mater and has spoken at engagements affiliated with OBU's Paul Dickinson School of Business. He recently served as vice president of the OBU Alumni Association and helped launch OBU's new master's degree program in business administration.

Jeremie and Kelly have three children, Addison, Will and Kate. They now live in the Atlanta area and are active in missional community in their church.

Everywhere Jeremie goes, whether professionally or in his spare time, he encourages people to become liberators by first being liberated.

Click on the names below to read about the other 2008 Profile in Excellence Recipients:

Click the following link to view a full list of previous Profile in Excellence recipients.