Life, Careers & Entrepreneurship

March 16, 2017
It is interesting to me how age and perspective that comes with it shapes my view of Life, Careers and Entrepreneurship. Please share your feedback with me on the few slides and diagrams that I hope are helpful to friends who may read this post.  

In my twenties I had a narrow view of each when it would have benefited me most to have had a broad view. My first job in the furniture business I worked in was really not about furniture, but about learning about the scope and complexity of operating a manufacturing business.  I learned about the value and limits of branding (Sealy) and the value of distribution and credit.  To this day, I still think that for many retail businesses the reality is you can sell anything you can finance.  

In my thirties, I broadened my view and consider how to apply my knowledge, relationship and insights to learned adjacent markets.  I moved from affinity marketing of credit cards to building College Publisher - the leading technology platform for college and university newspapers and to building a pioneering affinity student lending business.  

In my forties, my career kept expanding and saw the problems faced by student loans and the high cost of college as and opportunity to create another adjacent business (GradGuard) focusing on collegiate insurance programs. The technology we used for the collegiate business became useful to building another adjacent business to fulfill the insurance needs of affinity groups and their members (MyLifeProtected).

So I look forward to my next decade and seeing how my observations of the past 4 decades may change.


Dr. King's Lessons in Leadership

January 21, 2015

While I was in graduate school for my MBA, I read for the first time Dr. Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail from April 16, 1963. This letter may seem like unusual reading for MBA students and mostly dedicated capitalists, as Dr. King's letter addressed themes of leadership and social justice.

After reading the view of local clergy, Dr. King wrote his letter in the Birmingham Jail on scraps of paper and completed it on a legal pad provided by his defense attorneys. It is interes...

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Top 7 - Not to Be Missed Topics from 2014

January 21, 2015

2014 was filled with many experiences, events and articles have stayed with me and continue to make me think about challenges facing the U.S. education system. Here is a summary of major topics and themes that are worth more thought.

During a Young Presidents' Organization luncheon prior to the annual ASU GSV Summit on Education Innovation, I listened to Jeff Selingo (author of College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students) lead a panel on the challenges facing...

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Trends in Alumni Affinity Marketing & Beyond

January 21, 2015

Most of my career has been involved with affinity marketing. Often the focus has been between affinity - what consumers care about, non-profits / universities and financial institutions such as banks, student lenders and insurance companies.

As a result, it is interesting for me to read, the annual CFPB report to Congress on college credit card agreements. The world of alumni collegiate marketing has changed and there may be implications for other affinity markets as well.

  • The number of higher ...

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College, Life and Careers

July 15, 2014

The recent graduation season has made me reflect a bit more about the value of college to building both a life and career. The value of a higher education is much more than just increasing the skills or knowledge of a student. I firmly believe that a college education - particularly a liberal arts education - has tremendous value in shaping how a person thinks for a life-time.

How we think last a life time. The ability to see problems as opportunities. The ability to think complete thoughts - ...

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About Me

John Fees John Fees is an entrepreneur, strategic marketing executive and business leader in the fields of affinity, collegiate and partnership marketing. During the course of his career, John has founded and led successful companies specializing in strategic marketing and media, affinity, partnership marketing and financial services. Currently, he serves as the co-founder & managing director of NGI Group. NGI Group is a large shareholder in portfolio companies including GradGuard, MassDrive & MyLifeProtected.