It was my pleasure to attend the annual Junior Achievement (JA) Wichita Business Hall of Fame event that took place on March 11 at the Hyatt. JA inducted three well-known Wichita business leaders to the Hall of Fame and you can read more about them by following these links.
All three of these leaders have served on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Both Sheryl and Ann also served as Chairman of the Board for the Chamber. Sheryl served in 2003 and Ann led the Chamber in 2005.
It was very gratifying to see all three of them recognized for their dedication to their companies and employees as well as the many volunteer hours they have devoted to our community. They’ve strongly influenced and shaped our community.
Martha Linsner is the Chairman of Junior Achievement’s Advisory Board and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
Martha Linsner, President of The Trust Company of Kansas and Chairman of Junior Achievement’s Advisory Board, is also a Chamber Board Member. Martha spent a few minutes during the event acknowledging the winners and talking about Junior Achievement’s mission. Her message was so impressive that I wanted to share it with our entire membership. Martha has graciously provided us with a copy of a portion of her remarks.
JA’s local Advisory Board is dedicated to making Junior Achievement the best non-profit organization in Wichita! They lead by example with financial support and volunteer commitments. They were inspired to continue their efforts last fall when hearing and/or reading comments in our local media from the Wichita Chamber’s annual meeting speaker Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of Gallup. Mr. Clifton spelled out in detail how he visualized an international system for promoting entrepreneurship. To quote Mr. Clifton, “It would start early, in the middle schools, where students would be tested and those found to have the entrepreneurial personality would be channeled not into an academic track but into a business track.
Stop demanding that every student master every skill, but focus on building students’ strengths”. Let me repeat that last part…focus on building students’ strengths. (I encourage everyone to read’s Mr. Clifton’s 2011 book, “The Coming Jobs War”.)
JA’s Advisory Board listened and took action by setting a board goal to expand JA to more grade levels beyond elementary. 2014 is JA’s first year at Coleman Middle School! We want to do all we can to have program success at Coleman so the teachers want to continue next year.
It’s encouraging that Mr. Clifton’s message was so well received and that it continues to pay dividends for this community. One of the ideas that Mr. Clifton strongly supports is that winning the jobs war requires that the leadership throughout the community is aligned, focused, and working out of the same playbook. The leadership at Junior Achievement has clearly demonstrated their dedication to “winning the jobs war” by helping students develop business skills and focusing on their current strengths. The work of Junior Achievement continues to ensure the success of our entire community by developing new business leaders.
On behalf of all of our Chamber members, I’d like to thank Martha, Sheryl, Jim, Ann and all the JA volunteers who work so hard throughout the year to make Wichita a great place to live and work.