It all began with a bowling ball. Andy Bailey, Regional Lead of Community Engagement for AT&T’s Western States, was first exposed to Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain (JA) when an employee team from the company participated in the JA Bowl-A-Thon. That first experience “set the ball in motion,” so to speak, for what would become a meaningful volunteer experience for Andy and a long-term collaboration for his company.
“That first JA Bowl-A-Thon was the catalyst,” said Andy. “It introduced me to JA, and it was the passion, friendliness and professionalism of JA’s staff that got me hooked.”
Since 2013, Andy Bailey has been a standout volunteer and champion for JA within his company – DIRECTV, now AT&T. He not only contributes countless hours to teaching JA in classrooms and volunteering for JA Finance Park and JA Business Week, but he also serves as a tremendous advocate for JA among colleagues and company executives.
“Andy was instrumental in launching our collaboration with DIRECTV,” said Tara Petersen, director of foundation and individual giving for JA. “Andy made JA’s collaboration with the company an incredible success through his enthusiasm, tenacity and ability to leverage relationships. In fact, he helped the company engage with JA in several states beyond Colorado.”
Now that DIRECTV and AT&T are one company, Andy continues to carry the JA torch and to inspire colleagues to volunteer, bowl and advocate for JA students. While he has experienced just about every possible JA volunteer role in the past four years, spending the day in the classroom teaching JA in a Day remains his favorite.
Just last month, Andy had what he describes as his fondest and most memorable JA volunteer experience to date. “I taught JA in a Day to a 4th grade class at Indian Ridge Elementary [in the Cherry Creek School District.] What was different was that it was my daughter’s class. I was teaching kids who had been over to our house and who I had coached in softball – it was nerve-wracking, but a lot of fun!”
Andy encourages colleagues to volunteer for JA not only to support JA’s mission, but also to develop their own personal and professional skills. “In today’s workplace we have to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable,” he said. “Volunteering with JA helps you stretch, grow and learn new things about yourself. It’s affirming and a confidence builder. JA offers companies a great way to develop people through volunteerism.”
As AT&T has merged employees into a new shared culture, JA also has provided a way for employees to network, build teams and get to know one another in service to the community through the AT&T Aspire Initiative.
“As we move forward, AT&T has a Colorado team of more than 4,000 employees serving our clients and our community,” said Andy.
JA is grateful to Andy Bailey for his tremendous commitment to helping young people understand money management, how businesses work, and the many opportunities that await them as they embrace their futures.
“Whether it’s volunteering in the classroom, leading a team of employees at JA Finance Park, or advocating among company leadership, Andy remains a valued JA partner,” said Petersen.
And to think…it all began with a bowling ball.