Back to school: Alumnus making a difference at Colorado State University
At this time last year, Adam Kail (’08) was a nervous college senior hoping for a job. To pay his bills he worked part-time in The King’s College admissions office as an admissions counselor. It was there that he met Vice President of Admissions Brian Parker and learned that a King’s education isn’t confined to the classroom.
One day last spring Kail was working on a mass mailing. As he monotonously folded hundreds of sheets of paper, gingerly inserted the papers to avoid cutting himself, and sealed each envelope, Parker approached him and asked how he was doing. As fluidly as he started the conversation, Parker pulled out the chair next to Kail and started the process Kail had mastered: folding, stuffing, then sealing the envelopes.
“What I learned in that moment was incredibly valuable,” Kail said in an e-mail. “[Parker] taught me not only how to run a successful admissions department, but he taught me how to lead well. I owe him so much.”
How valuable were Parker’s leadership lessons? Less than a year after graduation Kail’s title rivals Parker’s. He’s the manager of enrollment services at Colorado State University—Global Campus (CSU-Global), the university’s online division. Armed with intellectual capital, leadership skills, and a passion to make a difference, Kail is fulfilling the King's mission: He’s influencing a strategic institution of higher education.
Kail didn’t become one of CSU-Global’s top managers right after graduation. He started as an admission’s advisor in June at the division’s headquarters in Denver. By August he received his first promotion. Four months, a wedding, and two more promotions later he was given his current position. His hard work, dependability, and ability to solve problems quickly made him stand out. Those were all skills, he said, he learned at King’s and from Parker.
“King’s taught me hard work,” Kail said. “I was always pushed by my professors and learned that true, hard work pays off.” In his current role he has to work hard to solve problems without simple answers, manage a team of people sometimes older and more tenured than him, and reach recruitment numbers that seem as high as the Rocky Mountains he can see from his window. Although it’s stressful, Kail said, “It is extremely rewarding.”
King’s also taught him how to enjoy his work. While his job can be tough, Kail keeps a light-hearted disposition. At King’s he was notorious for his humor, often hosting Homecoming talent shows and other events. At CSU-Global he takes a similar approach.
“My first and second year [at King’s] I was really stressed and serious and trying to be this superb intellectual. But I didn’t do well,” Kail admitted. “When I learned not to take myself so seriously, which still meant taking my classes seriously so I could engage intellectually, I did better than before.”
Now that he’s a manager in the working world, he’s learning how to have fun while also driving productivity. “It’s about trying to find balance between fun and serious,” Kail said. “I’ve tried both here. When I was more serious and less outgoing, everyone got stressed. But when I’m having fun my employees sense that. Still, if I don’t take myself seriously enough, my job and family suffer.”
Kail learned that balancing act from people such as Parker, but also professors such as former TKC theology professor Darian Lockett, now teaching at Biola University (La Mirada, Calif.). He credits Lockett with helping mold him into the person he is today. He even recently visited Lockett in California, had dinner with his family, and spent six hours in conversation.
As Kail continues moving upward, he can’t help but think that the personal and influential relationships he built, along with the classroom and life lessons he gleaned from the faculty and staff, are unique to King’s: “The chances of me going to another school and finding the same thing are slim.”
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