Meet Steve St. Amand, President of Junior Achievement of North Florida.
Where are you from?
I am a first generation American and I was born and raised in Biddeford, Maine, a small town in southern Maine where so much of the mill-working population was French Canadian and spoke French that I did not learn to speak English until I was 10 years old. I went to college in New Hampshire where I worked on a U.S. Presidential campaign, got the bug and moved to Florida in 1973 right after graduation to work a U.S. Senate campaign.
How did you get started with Junior Achievement?
Following management of twenty-eight political campaigns, stints with two Florida Governors, a year as a staffer in the U.S. Senate and twelve years of lobbying I was recruited in 2000 when I was looking for something more worthwhile to do than politics. When my wife learned that JA was involved with education, young people and free enterprise, she said, “What are you waiting for?” I started with Junior Achievement on January 1, 2001.
What would you say to someone who's considering getting involved with JA?
It is easy, rewarding and you’ll make a difference in a child’s life. Participation is a turnkey operation for businesses and step-by-step for volunteers. There is always that special moment when “the lightbulb goes off” for the students because you have taught them something. That moment when you just know they got it is about as rewarding as it gets.
What's your favorite thing about JA?
JA makes a difference. I have always said that it’s all about the children. For me, that’s what makes JA much, much more than a job. Also, I love raising money for good causes and JA is the best there is. Meeting philanthropists who do so much for the community is a very special opportunity.
General Update on Life in Social Distancing?
I miss the people in the office and getting their immediate input, I miss meeting with people face to face, and I miss the solitude that I can finagle at the office. But, I do get to take breaks and play with my granddaughter – outdoor picnics for lunch are a great break from spreadsheets, emails and virtual meetings. I have found that I work more hours at home because I jump on the computer in the evening and in the middle of the night. I’m very much looking forward to a normal life, whether it’s a new normal or not.