How the Westminster experience of one alumnus shaped his life
by Michelle Barber Lyhnakis (MPC ’06)
As the chief investment officer (CIO) and chief economist at Albion Financial Group, Westminster alumnus Jason Ware (MBA ’08) has made a name as a financial-industry thought leader. The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNBC Television, USA Today, Barron’s, and both the Los Angeles and New York Times often turn to Jason for insight and commentary on issues impacting economies and markets around the globe. The nation’s leading news agencies call on Jason to weigh in on topics ranging from the impact a government shutdown could have on the stock market to the fundamental merits of investing in today’s leading technology companies. Jason has always been passionate about economics and investing. “I read The Wall Street Journal in high school,” he says. “As a kid, I thought it was cool that you could purchase a stock and be an owner of that company.”
Jason was born in Cincinnati but grew up in Utah. After graduating with a BS in economics from the University of Utah, he planned to pursue a PhD in the field but decided he’d rather be a practitioner than an academic. Because of this, he chose to come to Westminster to earn his MBA. Not only was the program curriculum relevant and intellectually stimulating, it also taught Jason to study companies holistically from various perspectives, not just the financials—a skill he says makes him a better stock picker.
Jason says Westminster provided a strong environment where he could build relationships with classmates and professors.
As graduation neared, Jason spoke to alumnus and current trustee of the college Ryan Hessenthaler (MBA ’05), who was director of the Center for Financial Analysis at the time. Ryan opened up his network and introduced Jason to Mason Woolf (’04, MBA ’05), the head trader (now chief compliance officer) at Albion Financial Group. Jason and Mason met for lunch; a few months later, in the spring of 2008, Jason joined Albion Financial Group as an analyst.
“Everything truly important in my life is a function of my decision to go to Westminster,” Jason says. Indeed, Westminster was the tie in Jason meeting his wife, Jairan (’07, MBA ’11). “As an alumnus, I went to an MBA Power Lunch at the Alta Club. She was a current student in the program, and I happened to sit next to her. We hit it off. So, if not for Westminster, I wouldn’t be married to Jairan, have my son and daughter, or my career. That’s kind of a big deal,” Jason says.
Recently, Albion Financial Group announced a corporate milestone of reaching more than $1 billion in client assets under management, placing the firm in the top four percent of registered investment advising firms in the country. Jason credits his success to having a passion for investing, working for a fiduciary that puts its clients’ interests first, and having both a strong work ethic and sense of personal responsibility to leave the world a better place than he found it.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.