What happens when you mix 13 diverse high school teenagers from across Colorado with one adult volunteer mentor and ask them to complete a team project by the end of the week? The result could potentially be tears, arguments, and an unfinished project. However, if that particular adult volunteer has exceptional motivational skills, the ability to generate mutual respect from strangers, and a genuine heart, then you may be extremely surprised and impressed by the end of the week!
Jessica Mason from Accenture volunteered at JA Business Week, dedicating over 65 hours as a Company Advisor, the team mentor for her group of teenagers. She moderated difficult discussions, served as a bridge to help students to better understand one another, and shared her professional experience to illustrate what business is all about. As a result, her group rose to the challenge and produced an outstanding final product (the Orange Panango smoothie to “keep summer rollin’”) at JA Business Week’s final presentation on June 14th.
When asked about her favorite part of JA Business Week, Jessica shared, “I really enjoyed the Etiquette Dinner at the JW Marriot! For Company F it was such a great opportunity to bond and learn while enjoying a nice evening out. We all made etiquette mistakes together and laughed together. It was also a great activity for shaking off the stress and frustrations from our project work, and I was very proud of my team for leaving all of that behind and coming together to share a nice meal. I loved seeing my team looking so polished in their professional attire as they practiced their table manners.”
Not only did Jessica dedicate one week to her team of teenagers, but she spent the entire school year supporting KIPP Denver Collegiate High School. Specifically, she launched a new capstone program at KIPP which matches students with summer experiences. She recruited 18 KIPP students to attend JA Business Week. It’s worth noting that one of KIPP’s students was on a winning JA Business Week team! Thank you, Jessica, for encouraging 18 young adults to attend JA Business Week. Because of you, their horizons have expanded, and they have created a plan and network of supporters to achieve their professional dreams!