Jake Slegers was born in Tyler, Minnesota. He graduated from Tyler High School and spent the next few years involved in the family farming operation. He attended Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN, from 1989 to 1991, eventually obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and International Relations from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1993. He went to Slovakia in August 1994 after previously working for General Mills.
The purpose of his first venture to Slovakia was to teach English at local high schools, originally for what was planned to be one year. An ensuing job offer from Radio Slovakia International as a business reporter, journalist and broadcaster gave Jake many possibilities to become acquainted with the business and political climate in Slovakia. He was there for over three years.
In March 1999, Jake also became Deputy Director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in the Slovak Republic. During that time he focused on membership expansion, event planning and other duties. He also was employed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the US State Department as an International Election Observer in various countries, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Macedonia.
After serving for a brief period as Acting Director in November 2000, Jake became Executive Director of AmCham Slovakia in December 2000. In his current position as Executive Director, Jake oversees all aspects of the Chamber's operations. He is also currently president of AmChams in Europe, the umbrella organization uniting all American Chambers of Commerce operating in Europe.
Slegers gave this speech as a recipient of an Alumni Achievement award as part of the Scholarship and Donor Recognition Event on April 9, 2015.