Harmony and Hard Work
PROVO, Utah – Jan 20, 2021 – As an underdog in the world of singing, BYU Marriott School of Business alum Jake Hunsaker never imagined that his determination to perfect his musical talents would lead him to share the stage with world-famous musicians or compete against groups such as Pentatonix on national television. The same work ethic that brought Hunsaker to NBC’s The Sing Off has since shaped his life and career as an HR professional.
Before taking the stage for The Sing Off, Hunsaker competed at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) as a member of BYU Vocal Point. Though initially insecure about his musical abilities, Hunsaker pushed himself to perfect his technique and delivery. “I felt the pressure of being surrounded by these incredibly skilled singers and musicians, but I set some aggressive goals for myself and decided to give everything I had onstage.” That mentality helped him win the outstanding soloist award at all three levels of competition against hundreds of singers. In 2016–17, Hunsaker also sang in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
Singing competitions aren’t the only place where Hunsaker has found success. Hunsaker has worked hard and developed his professional expertise and skills throughout his life and career. Much of his philosophy on work comes from his experiences as a BYU student. “BYU Marriott taught me that learning is a lifelong experience that should continue outside of the classroom,” he says. “I’ve actively sought opportunities to stretch myself and continue proactive learning since graduation.”
For Hunsaker, this has meant professional moves from one industry to another to learn how HR functions in completely different business environments as well as getting outside of his comfort zone to take on new personal and professional projects. “The discomfort that sometimes comes from these new challenges is exhilarating and is, I think, one of the keys to a life full of growth and fulfillment.”
Hunsaker has tried to gain a complete understanding of the field of HR, in part by experiencing human resources in many different industries. Before he graduated, Hunsaker was one of the first HR interns at Twitter. After graduating, Hunsaker worked at Payless Shoesource and Goldman Sachs prior to his current position in People Operations at Google. From tech to retail to finance, he has seen how the focus on a company’s employees can positively impact not just the bottom line of a business but the lives of the people who come to work every day in every industry.
“No matter what a company’s product or business model is, its employees have to feel fulfilled,” he says. “Everyone has a need to feel valued as part of a functional team and know that the work they do has purpose and is making a difference.”
In his current role, Hunsaker manages operational support for Google’s performance review process. “My job is to work the operations ‘behind the curtain’ so that 100K Googlers can receive meaningful feedback from those around them about their performance, and get recognized through compensation and promotions for the impact they’re having.” At the heart of his work is the company’s mantra to “build for everyone,” which has become his personal motto.
“I enjoy the experience of collaborating with brilliant people to solve complex problems that are impactful to Googlers around the world,” he says. “My team works hard to build and support a system that’s equitable for everyone, regardless of their background region, team, or circumstances.”
Hunsaker plans to continue “building for everyone” in his personal and professional life wherever he may be. “A cursory glance at the current state of our nation and the world shows that we have a lot of work to do to ‘build for everyone’ an equitable reality and a hopeful future. I want to help with that,” he says.
Since Google brick-and-mortar offices are closed until June 2021, Hunsaker has purchased an RV and plans to travel the country to continue learning about new people and places as he works remotely. As he travels, he’ll continue to work hard to reach his goals.
“I'm proud when I think about the hard, consistent work I've put in to achieve what I have,” he says. “When I think of experiences like broadcasting live from an NBC studio, landing my first internship at Twitter, passing the Tabernacle Choir's music theory test, or receiving my offer from Google, the common thread in all of those experiences was the work I put in to get there.”
Writer: Kenna Pierce