Seated in a dark room surrounded by teenagers, JA-Rocky Mountain volunteer Charles Bogenberger listened intently to the JA Business Week speaker from Arrow Electronics. And, as he listened, Charles found himself moved and inspired by Arrow’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Fast forward two years, and Charles, an engineer and MBA graduate, finds himself working as a supplier marketing manager for Arrow Electronics, a company he admired not only for its sponsorship of JA, but for its support of its employees and its commitment to the community.
As the presenting sponsor of JA Business Week, Arrow Electronics has partnered with JA for three years, funding one of the organization’s flagship programs and enabling an average of 250 high school students each year to take an intensive week-long journey into the world of business.
“Arrow has been in Denver for less than a decade, yet the company and its professionals are well rooted in the community,” said Charles. “I wanted to work for Arrow not only for the professional opportunities it offered but because of its commitment to social responsibility and to supporting its employees’ community involvement. “
A service-minded young man, Charles was first introduced to JA in 2013 through the Business Marketing Association and friends who volunteered in JA classrooms.
“I started volunteering with second graders, teaching the JA Our City program. I was amazed by the difference I could make in a short amount of time. And, seven-year-olds all want to hug you, which was very endearing,” said Charles.
It was when he got involved in JA’s high school programs that Charles knew he was hooked. “The curriculum was more interesting to me, and I fell in love with it,” he said.
When it comes to his most memorable JA experience, Charles goes back to the first high school class he taught. One of his students, Michael Hansen, won the JA Inspiration Scholarship and invited Charles to the awards dinner.
“It was a special night and I was honored to be included,” said Charles. “I was amazed and humbled by Michael. He was a high school student who had already developed a successful time management app. I remember thinking, ‘What am I possibly going to teach him?’”
As it turns out, Charles has a lot to teach. In fact, Charles recently finished teaching the entrepreneurship curriculum at STEM School and Academy in Highlands Ranch, where he helped students understand the ins and outs of commercializing technology. Karen Ramon, the teacher whose class he taught refers to him as her “awesome volunteer!”.
Charles also has served as a company advisor for JA Business Week, JA’s summer business camp for high school students. He describes his role as a company advisor as his most rewarding JA experience to date. “You can build deeper, more meaningful relationships with students,” he explained.
According to JA Business Week Program Manager Leah Caputo, “Charles brings youthful energy to JA Business Week and is really able to relate to students. He is skilled at identifying students’ strengths and at helping them translate those strengths and skills to benefit their team. He’s a great mentor.”
As Charles prepares for Business Week 2016, he is anxious to be an even better CA than he was in 2014. “I learned so much from my last experience. I tried to do too much, and this time I really want to be the advisor and allow my students to do more on their own,” he said. “The company advisor role allows me to strengthen my leadership skills and gives me the chance to mentor and develop young people. It’s an opportunity that many young professionals like me don’t get early in our careers, and it’s an experience that I can take back to my job at Arrow.”
So, this summer, when Charles Bogenberger is seated in a dark room, surrounded by teenagers, listening intently to an Arrow Electronics colleague speak, he will no doubt feel proud of the company that he now works for that is a valued partner of JA-Rocky Mountain.