Global Leadership Conference: A week as #OneJA

Do you ever find yourself caught up in the day-to-day, seemingly small tasks that somehow all come together to make up your job description? Same. Sometimes when you’re doing great, big things, that big vision gets lost in the small, sometimes annoying, albeit important, tiny things.

Want to know what can snap you out of the in-the-weeds mindset, and remind you that your work goes far beyond the little things? Spending a week with more than 300 of your colleagues from around the world who have stories to share that go far beyond what you could’ve ever imagined.

JA Worldwide, the organization that connects JA USA local offices to the rest of the globe, has offices in more than 100 countries, and when combined with JA USA, served more than 10,000,000 students last year.

A snippet of this group were the colleagues that made up this year’s Global Leadership Conference, hosted by yours truly, JA of Georgia. For a week, we heard from industry leaders, local staff members, and our own leadership teams. We shared stories of success, and best practices for everyone to bring back to their corner of the globe. We came together as #OneJA, with one mission in mind:

To empower youth to believe that they are the builders of their futures.

After three days of insightful workshops and networking, we had the culminating Awards Night to honor distinguished leaders throughout our network. Below are the winners of these prestigious awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a recognition of a chief executive of a member country who has contributed significantly to the growth and impact of JA programs at national level.

 Nina Kuznetsova, Executive Director of JA Russia

Nina Kuznetsova, Executive Director of JA Russia

The Soraya Salti Award was created in memory of the visionary leader who started INJAZ Al-Arab in the Middle East, which now reaches students across the region in 14 countries. It recognizes innovative JA visionaries who move JA forward in a positive way, bringing systematic change to a country or a region. 

 Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe. Not pictured: Co-winner Majid Khalid Al-shammiri, CEO of INJAZ Yemen

Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe. Not pictured: Co-winner Majid Khalid Al-shammiri, CEO of INJAZ Yemen

The JA Collaboration Award recognizes member countries, U.S. Areas and Regional Operating Centers that champion collaborative projects between and among themselves to encourage worldwide cooperation that promotes efforts around fundraising, operational efficiency and program reach.

 JA Bulgaria, JA Greece, JA Latvia, JA Norway, & JA Romania

JA Bulgaria, JA Greece, JA Latvia, JA Norway, & JA Romania

The JA Alumni Engagement Award recognizes member countries, U.S. Areas and Regional Operating Centers that have developed robust alumni strategies including tracking, communication and engagement projects.

 Co-winners: JA Nigeria and INJAZ Al-Arab

Co-winners: JA Nigeria and INJAZ Al-Arab

The Karl Flemke Award recognizes the accomplishments of a JA Area President for their outstanding achievements, all while being in the position for four years or less.

 Megan Sturges, JA of Greater Kansas City

Megan Sturges, JA of Greater Kansas City

The Charles R. Hook Award  is given annually to the JA Area President whose professionalism and performance best represents the core values and ideals of Junior Achievement. 

 Jack Harris, JA of Georgia

Jack Harris, JA of Georgia

What a phenomenal week, topped off with Jack taking home a top honor (more on that next week).

To all our colleagues around the nation and world: thank you for joining us in our hometown for a week of collaborative efforts (and some fun), that will no doubt lead to improved practices and inspired thinking from all.