How Leaders Build Winning Cultures of Accountability with Jake Curhan – Cal Football Captain

2020 / 03 / 25

Jake Curhan shares his leadership philosophy grounded in authenticity, accountability, and discipline

Jake Curhan, a bay area native, didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. At the time, only one other athlete from his area became a division I football player. Jake had nearly no guidance on how to compete and attach sport at the highest level, so when he earned a scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley, he graduated high school a semester early to get a head start on his career as a college athlete. Jake enrolled early at Berkeley—but he came in anxious and afraid of what the future held. He lacked the confidence necessary to stay afloat in a Division I college football organization. By sacrificing his last semester of high school, he gave himself a shot. After a year and a half of training with 0 playing time, he successfully executed the transition between high school and college. Jake went on to start 38 consecutive games, becoming a captain and leader of the team.

As a captain, Jake effortlessly seems to uphold a heavy standard of excellence for a historic and prestigious university — but also in all aspects of his life. He prides himself in being more than a football player, pursuing opportunities in student organizations, networking events, and real-estate. Furthermore, Curhan leverages his platform as a college athlete to inspire and help others pursue their dreams while he pursues his. He has a podcast called Sooo Stignacious! where he interviews experts in various fields to learn more from them. Although Curhan has deep and extensive knowledge around leadership, his framework for success is grounded in maintaining a humble and empty cup that he is constantly trying to fill with knowledge from others. Jake inspires me in this regard. He acknowledges and embraces the beginner mindset, even though he is an elite football player, leader, and person.

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