Interview by Derek Grosso
“There is a lot to love about Columbus,” says Jacques Washington. “It has a lot of opportunities, the people are nice, it’s booming and growing, and it’s the home of the Buckeyes.” Born in Columbus, Jacques moved to Chicago during grade school, then eventually returned to Columbus in high school and lives in Westerville. He currently works at Nationwide in the IT space taking planned ideas that can improve upon the business, and delivering tangible solutions. These projects could range from cost savings solutions to full rollouts of a new application or process to a line of business. Past stops along his career trajectory have taken him to Safelite Solutions, USAA, JPMorgan, and Alliance Data before he came to Nationwide. According to Jacques: “I would have to say… Nationwide is the best.”
Name: Jacques Washington
Company and Job Title: Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Project Manager
Tell us about a Nationwide initiative that you’re most passionate about?
One initiative I’m very excited about is the Green energy initiative (the push to lower CO omissions). I think it went from a political/awareness campaign to a Vision Statement for many large companies. A lot of car companies are getting competitive in trying to design better, faster, smarter cars to get a strong hold of the electric car market. In turn as consumers, we are getting really cool products. Maybe next they will design an electric Range Rover?
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
The people I work with. I have a very comfortable work environment due to the people who are fun (and funny) to be around. I have a great support system and am lucky to be surrounded by good people. Also I like staying busy. I have the opportunity to tackle new challenges, meet new people, and learn new things every day.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I have had many mentors along the way, but one philosophy remains constant. I try to step out of my comfort zone whenever I can (reasonably), and build my skill set as much as I can along the way. It is the passport to where you are going.
Explain some of your work-life balance challenges and how you achieve success in spite of the hustle and bustle?
Work can be tough sometimes because it makes its way home, whether it’s the day job or the projects I have outside of work. I try to only take on as much work as I can while staying comfortable. Taking on too much on your plate will lower the quality of all the work you are doing and will result in burnout.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
To unwind I usually have friends over my place and we talk, laugh, play cards (Spades, Hearts, BidWhist). Sometimes a good glass of bourbon/whiskey/scotch, or a cigar. But I would say socializing with friends and family is the best remedy for me.
What’s the coolest thing about Columbus right now?
Diversity in people and interests. I work with and am friends with people from different places and backgrounds, who have different perspectives and ideas. I have had some very enriching conversations with people I have met in Columbus just while I was getting gas or picking up takeout.
What is one thing that you think Columbus needs (or wish Columbus had)?
More options on long distance public transit. I hear Elon Musk received approval for a Hyperloop train between DC and NYC. Wouldn’t that be cool if we had something like that?
Which organizations are you involved with around the community?
I’m involved in the Columbus Young Professionals, and serve on the board of their sister non-profit, Columbus Inspires. We are currently working to raise funds for Public Art projects in the downtown area. It’s nice working with such a great group of people.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Columbus is great, it has a lot of opportunities, the people are nice, it’s booming and growing, and it’s the home of the Buckeyes. There is a lot to love about Columbus.