Original Story from Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast, Florida
Below is an amazing letter of support from a JA Alumnus, who also happens to be a member of JA of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast’s education committee and a Dean at a local college that they work closely with.
I am writing to express my support for Junior Achievement. As an alumnus of JA’s Company program, I cannot express enough how the leadership skills, in addition to the business and free enterprise knowledge I gained, shaped my life.
During three years in high school I was part of a JA company sponsored by General Electric (GE). Each week those of us involved would meet with a team of four GE mentors who would teach us about the various aspects of building a successful company. From product development to manufacturing, raw material purchasing to marketing, and human resources to sales, we learned the ins and outs of America’s free enterprise system.
In addition, I took advantage of numerous leadership development opportunities offered through special programs and conferences. All of this taught me valuable leadership skills such as conflict resolution, active listening, self-confidence, and team management.
I used the skills and knowledge gained to become a successful college student, even earning a Ph.D. in education. I have been teaching at the university level for over 20 years now, and currently serve as a college dean. I attribute much of my success to the principles I learned in JA.
The only reason I was able to take part and benefit from Junior Achievement is that it didn’t cost me a dime. I was raised by a single mother and lived in a small house trailer at the time. We did not have extra money for me to take music lessons, join clubs, or participate in much of anything. Because JA was subsidized by local companies and fundraisers, I had the opportunity to be part of something special.
I was company president for two years. My senior year of high school, our company was named JA company of the year in Indiana, and I was president of the year. We competed at the national level, where we finished in the top five.
As an adult, I have enjoyed opportunities to give back to Junior Achievement as much as possible. Now that I am a dean at Keiser University, I am able to help find points of connection for JA and our faculty & students. Whether it’s in assisting with a fundraiser, helping to recruit volunteers, or simply finding ways to make JA better known on campus, I value being a small part of a team that is promoting JA in the Palm Beach County area.
To me, it is obvious that JA, and specifically the Company program, is changing lives and helping students prepare for successful future. I am proud to support their work.
Dr. Dan Lambert
West Palm Beach, Florida