JA in the News

From our Board: A work-life balance

Our Board Chair, John Dwyer, is the President of Cricket Wireless, as well as a husband and father.

In the article below, he weighs in on how to maintain a fulfilling work-life balance in our 'always on' society.

Be Intentional About Leading an Integrated Life without Borders #OutsideWork

Work-life balance often implies that a border should exist between your office life and personal one. The society we are evolving into doesn’t always reflect that reality. In fact, lifestyle trends are moving us to being more integrated than divided – a collage of life activity that touches one another and creates a meaningful identity.

There’s a company that allows you to travel the world for an entire year, while working remotely alongside a small group of other people. It’s a life without borders in the literal and symbolic sense.

Technology, like laptops, smartphones and Wi-Fi connectivity, has enabled the possibility of building personal and professional relationships while seeing the globe in one seamless experience.

That small group is intentionally choosing to live integrated lives, where borders that separate the office and the life outside of it simply don’t exist. As enticing as it sounds, that’s not something I’m ready to take on right now, because I absolutely love my job. At Cricket, we’re working everyday to transform an industry.

The good news is you don’t have to travel the world to lead the path of an integrated life.

As the president of Cricket, who is also a husband and father of two children, I am conscious of how integrated my life has become, operating a 24/7 business that doesn't sleep. So it's not surprising to me that my work impacts how I spend my time outside of it.

As an example, every month, I have breakfast with Jack Harris, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Georgia. Through my previous role at AT&T, Cricket’s parent company, I was given the privilege of serving as chair of Jack’s board of directors. He is the innovative leader of this ground-breaking nonprofit, which provides thousands of students across the state opportunities to learn the importance of personal financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurial thinking.

Like Cricket, Junior Achievement of Georgia is trying to serve more people and enrich more lives. In order to do that, they have to scale operations, make smart investments, and hire strategically – things we do at Cricket every day.

It is incredibly rewarding to tap into my experiences at work to help Jack and his organization strategically plan for the future. I get to share with him the knowledge and best practices we, as a company, have learned along the way to help realize Junior Achievement’s mission. I believe it is an absolute blessing to work at a company that, not only allows, but also encourages this type of involvement.

It makes me proud that my lives inside and outside work can fuel one another.

As a result, Cricket has made me better at work and more personally fulfilled in life. The same goes for the thousands of employees also inspired by Junior Achievement, who are committed to its growth and success.

For the last two decades, employees representing business units across AT&T’s family of brands have entered into a friendly competition to raise thousands of dollars for Junior Achievement. Last year, it was $315,000 with Cricket employees accounting for 41 percent of the amount. Raising that kind of money often requires commitment outside their normal workday.

A dedication to community and youth empowerment transcends their lives at work and outside of it. Our employees are leading integrated lives, too.

The result is that I get to work alongside like-minded individuals, who afford me the opportunity to build personal and professional relationships in one seamless experience.

I’m intentionally living my own version of an integrated life without borders, which invigorates my work in exciting ways.

My advice is to not be afraid to redefine the concept of work-life balance and lead an integrated life that brings you fulfillment and purpose to, not just one, but all parts of your life holistically.

See the original post here.

Partner Spotlight: Primerica


Our partners are integral to our success at JA of Georgia and they support our organization in every sense of the word. They're support goes much further than just a financial donation. Their employees give their time to volunteer with our students, their leaders help guide our organization in the right direction, and their brands infuse our programs with authenticity.

Primerica is store front sponsor at the JA Discovery Center at Gwinnett in JA Finance Park presented by Assurant. Recently their staff volunteered for a day of inspiring students' independence, and they documented the experience on their blog!

Check it out here.

Teaching teens comprehensively about money

Published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on 9/23/15

Jack Harris, President & CEO, JA of Georgia

Are we doing everything we can as a community to ensure today’s students are prepared for the demands of tomorrow’s economy? This question is frequently deliberated by parents, educators, business leaders, and community activists.

With the rapid shifts in technology and connectivity, many of our children will be applying for jobs that do not exist today. Beyond this, only 11 percent of business leaders strongly believe that recent graduates have the skills to meet their current needs.

These intensified demands will not be solely linked to the workplace. The shifts will continue to heighten the complexity of the economic environment and require greater understanding to successfully navigate financial intricacies.

Atlanta currently ranks highest in the nation for income inequality. Even more astounding is that a person born into poverty in Atlanta has less than a 5 percent chance of upward mobility. Clearly, we cannot continue on this trajectory. Our children deserve more than a 5 percent chance to achieve the American Dream.

If a child never has the opportunity to experience a prosperous future, how do we expect them to deem it a possibility? If a student does not understand the relevance of standard curriculum, how do we expect them to stay engaged?

We have to provide meaningful opportunities that engage students in education and equip them to become financially independent, building a better future for themselves and the community.

Across various sectors, groups have taken steps to address these issues, and progress has been made. Yet, overall awareness among the public continues to lack. Envision the possibilities if everybody leaned in.

Imagine a generation where young people, no matter their background, know how to budget, save, and invest; a generation of tenacious individuals armed with the confidence, knowledge and capabilities to take control of their financial futures, their careers, and achieve their dreams.

To achieve this there is no single bullet. Transformational shifts cannot rest solely on the efforts of a school, school district, business or industry. To provide sustainable solutions that reverberate throughout metro Atlanta this must be a collaborative effort among the entire community.

Late August the second Junior Achievement Discovery Center was launched in metro Atlanta. These centers are collective efforts from five school districts, including Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Marietta City Schools, more than 70 partners, such as Assurant, AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cisco, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, and SunTrust, and 11,000 volunteers. Through these efforts, more than 60 percent of metro Atlanta middle school students are provided opportunities to develop skills for financial and professional success in an unmatched learning environment that is highly relevant, experiential, and authentic.

When students understand how academic lessons apply to the real world, they are more motivated in the classroom and ultimately achieve higher academic success. Since 2013, 65,000 students have experienced the JA Discovery Center, and the results show these programs produce mindful shifts. Ninety percent of students state that they now connect the relevance of education to future opportunities. Months following the simulations nine out of 10 teachers observe a sustained higher level of engagement and effort by their students.

The JA Discovery Centers have become a platform to re-imagine the high school experience. JA and Fulton County Schools recently partnered to launch the Junior Achievement Magnet Business Academy at Banneker High School. This program takes key aspects from the centers and applies them into the daily learning experience. The first class of students have accepted the challenge and are already excelling in their interdisciplinary studies.

True learning comes from doing, and when given the right tools there are no bounds to the potential of our youth. There is no greater cause for our community than the future of our children. I invite you to join JA, school systems and our partners, and become part of the movement to redefine a generation and place all students on a path to success.