Christopher D. Jagel
Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Harris Beach PLLC
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
The importance of a positive culture and an atmosphere of “we’re all in this together” is critical to success, and often underestimated by some at the individual level. It’s easy to view everything that happens through the prism of “what’s in it for me?” But we all have roles to play. The challenge for individuals is recognizing there is honor in playing their roles and giving their best selves to the larger good while appreciating the value and importance of the contributions of others. In that way, the achievements of the team exceed the sum of individual contributions.
What’s been your biggest success?
That’s easy — it’s the year 2020, for what it showed about the ability of our people to come together under adverse circumstances. From the start, we said we would experience our challenges and opportunities collectively. I’m grateful that our management team was able to set the right tone, as the response was amazing. Our people demonstrated unbelievable levels of resilience, collaboration and engagement and responded in ways that exceeded my hopes. I think it goes to our values of integrity, respect, teamwork and inclusion. That’s a more important accomplishment to me than almost anything.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
I hope the positive elements of Rochester, our long-standing culture of community, decency and civic-mindedness, become even more visible and at work in our community in the year to come, regardless of what happens anywhere else. We have our challenges and our disagreements, but what sets Rochester apart is a willingness to put disagreements aside to move forward for the greater good. We have a legacy of community focus on equity and social justice. I hope we can build upon that. If we can, I know that we will emerge as a better community rooted in fairness and equality for all.