“I think that if I didn’t leverage what I have learned from gaming, I would be limiting, and consequently restricting, my potential and that of my team.”
Director of Enterprise Architecture/Information Security & Compliance
Con-way Enterprise Services, Portland, Ore.
With Con-way since 2001
Jeon Rezvani’s profession developed its roots long before he began his career with Con-way. His passion for technology and computer gaming grew when he first used his uncle’s Apple computer in 1978. Each game and era brought different aspects to his enjoyment. From the people he’d interact with to the technological breakthroughs he’d explore, the experiences taught Jeon to think outside the box and do things in ways that were different from what everyone else was doing. This included communicating with other online gamers, orchestrating their actions, and competing strategically. He quickly realized how powerful it was to mobilize a group of people (or “guilds”) towards achieving a goal.
Following his technological and leadership instincts, Jeon learned programming and eventually became a professional game developer. As an IT consultant, Jeon was introduced to Con-way when contracted to do some work for one of Con-way’s former business units, which led to a technical architect position at Con-way Enterprise Services. Currently, Jeon is a Director of Enterprise Architecture/Information Security & Compliance. Much like leading a ‘guild’ to victory, his work at Con-way entails leading, building, and energizing high performance teams to achieve Con-way’s tactical and strategic business goals.
Over the years, Jeon has played numerous MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). These involve hundreds to thousands of players connected simultaneously in a virtual world. As a guild leader, he says he’s always focused on going farther and faster, gathering more resources, or making guild members more successful. Fellow players must be collaborative and strive for goals. The more the guilds evolve, the greater the emphasis will be placed on strategy. Most important, they will be having fun! He believes these environments are full of opportunities for leadership exposure.
To share this perspective with the public, Jeon has written a book titled, “Guild Leadership: Lessons from the Virtual World.” The book is designed to share leadership lessons he’s learned from playing online games and show how they might apply in the real world. He wanted to influence today’s and future leaders and help them “get the edge” to operate more effectively in both the real and virtual worlds. Jeon believes online communities will grow stronger as social, political, and economic forces evolve. The book should inspire today’s youth to identify what they do in online games (perhaps without realizing it) and build on those skills in real life. Jeon also wrote the book for his daughter, so that she could someday read about her daddy’s perspective on leadership – not just about how to lead, but also how to live. Devoted to giving back, Jeon is donating all of the profits from the book to Oprah’s Angel Network.
While people may have different opinions about online gaming, Jeon’s 30-year involvement is a testament to its positive influences. “It is my own actions that restrict or enable me,” he says. “I think that if I didn’t leverage what I have learned from gaming, I would be limiting, and consequently restricting, my potential and that of my team.” Most of all, Jeon finds team dynamics fascinating and enjoys figuring out how to inspire his colleagues to achieve. He appreciates Con-way rewarding these values and providing the opportunity for people like him to practice them.