If you have a desire to be an entrepreneur, study finance and law as a foundation for business success. Most important, become a voracious reader!
Brittany’s JA experience was marked by three unique years, each contributing to her personal and professional growth. The first year involved creating customizable greeting cards and teaching Brittany about leadership, inventory management, and quality control. This experience pushed her out of her comfort zone, building confidence and resilience. The second year as the President of Jac and the Bean Bag allowed her to deepen her understanding of leadership and team management. The third year, selling copper bookmarks and handmade paper, showcased her versatility as she took on the roles of VP of HR and VP of Accounting, fostering her interest in HR.
Brittany’s advice to high school students emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience alongside academic learning. She highlights that practical, real-world experience in trying things out is invaluable, providing better preparation for life and future careers, regardless of the chosen industry.
Casey’s memories of JA include a small but competitive group, emphasizing teamwork, competitiveness, and camaraderie. The rural setting of Strathroy created a unique bonding experience for the team. The reheatable wheat bag not only demonstrated their entrepreneurial spirit but also provided a practical and popular product. Casey highlights the fun and teamwork as the most enjoyable aspects of her JA experience.
Casey’s advice to high school students centers on being open to change and taking chances. She encourages students to recognize that it’s okay to change their paths and forge new ones, emphasizing the flexibility to evolve and adapt. Casey’s own experiences of changing directions in life serve as a testament to the value of being open-minded and willing to take risks.
Enthusiastically joining JA during a presentation in her grade 11 accounting class, Dana’s three-year experience in the Company Program was transformative. She not only gained valuable business skills but also developed leadership, communication, and technical abilities. The products her JA team created – a book holder, cotton roll-up organizer, and a memo cork board – reflect the practical, hands-on nature of the program. Dana’s retention of the memo board highlights the lasting impact of her JA journey.
Dana’s advice to current high school students centers on financial literacy. She emphasizes the importance of taking the initiative to learn about finances from various sources, including parents, friends, and business professionals. This advice reflects the practical knowledge Dana gained through JA and suggests a proactive approach to personal and financial education.
Keith’s JA journey involved the manufacturing of four products: a spaghetti measurer, a panda bear shelf, a telephone book cover, and a back scratcher. His active participation in JA extended to attending two EPJACS and one CANJAC. Notably, he achieved recognition in the JA Celanese 1986 public speaking and essay contest for Ontario, securing the 2nd position. Keith’s connection with JA continued over the years, seeking advice from the late Paul Almond, which significantly influenced his career choices. Winning the JA Bursary in 1986 and several other awards underscored the impact JA had on Keith’s early career.
Keith’s advice to high school students emphasizes passion, skill diversification, and gratitude for each day. Encouraging students to be passionate and skilled in multiple disciplines aligns with their own journey in JA and beyond. This advice reflects a holistic approach to personal and professional development.
Laura’s participation in the JA Company Program between 1998-2002 in Strathroy left a lasting impact on her. She gained practical exposure to marketing, human resources, and business development, laying the groundwork for her future career. The lessons of maximizing resources, valuing individuals, and adapting plans to real-world conditions have stayed with her. Her company’s success and acknowledgment, potentially winning Company of the Year, showcase the practical application of JA principles.
The highlight of Laura’s JA journey was her attendance at the Canadian National Junior Achievement Conference in Calgary in 2001. This experience, combined with her commitment to the program, likely played a crucial role in shaping her perspectives on business and leadership.
Laura’s advice to high school students is valuable and echoes the essence of JA’s mission. She emphasizes the importance of involvement, curiosity, and seizing opportunities. Her own experiences demonstrate that saying yes to chances, being genuinely curious, and learning from both successes and failures can lead to unexpected and rewarding paths.
Over four years at JA, Ryanna was deeply involved in various aspects of the program, including holding senior positions in the JA companies she formed, such as VP of Marketing and President. Her journey was marked by unique challenges and successes, with her third year being conducted entirely virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, she adapted to the new circumstances, emphasizing leadership with compassion and a focus on her team’s well-being. In her final year, she shifted her focus from numbers to people. She achieved remarkable success in terms of competition results and team relationships. Throughout her JA experience, she learned essential skills like innovation, communication, and motivation, with a strong belief in the importance of caring for one’s team.
Ryanna’s advice to students based on her JA experience centers on the idea that true leadership is about genuinely caring for and wanting the best for one’s team. She stressed the value of people as a company’s greatest asset. Her approach, which emphasized building strong relationships and prioritizing her team’s well-being, proved more valuable than sales or competition success.
Sheila’s Junior Achievement experience did not involve a specific program. Still, she learned a lot about business, gained confidence, and found the motivation to pave her own path. Although she didn’t become an entrepreneur, she attributes her success to the knowledge and skills she acquired during her JA participation.
Sheila’s advice to high school students is to embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences. She encourages students to step out of their comfort zones, emphasizing that the more uncomfortable it feels, the more they learn about themselves. Sheila also advises students not to be afraid of taking risks, as the pace of their success often depends on their willingness to accept risks.
Brad’s initial connection with JA dates back to 1972-1976 when he was a student in the Company Program in Brantford, Ontario. His JA experience ignited his entrepreneurial spirit, leading him to establish multiple businesses in technology, systems integration, publishing, and insurance despite not having a formal post-secondary education.
Aspiring high school entrepreneurs should study finance and law as a foundational base for business success and to develop a voracious reading habit, which has proven to be invaluable for him achieving success.