Education has been accurately called ‘the great equalizer’ because it evens the playing field and opens the doors to success. I have seen and experienced the affects a good education can have on one’s life. When I was young man, it was my acceptance into a Master’s program at the University of Ottawa that helped set me down the path to my career accomplishments.
While institutes for education like elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities are the first line of educational training, there are also a number of other organizations and groups that aim to enrich and enhance the knowledge, skill set and experience level of today’s younger generation.
One that is especially dear to my heart is the Junior Achievement organization of British Columbia (JABC), a chapter of the larger JA Worldwide, an international organization committed to empowering and educating young people to overcome their circumstance despite their social and economic challenge and transform their futures.
JABC has been an education partner to the province of British Columbia since 1955, inspiring and preparing youth to succeed in the constantly evolving business and digital world. Over the last six decades, JABC has helped 35,000 students each year through their unique programming that is facilitated through the tutelage of local business and community leaders.
With a specific focus on business education, programs at JABC include work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Students also begin to form strong business networks that will serve them throughout their school and work careers.
Last month, I was among two other BC business people honoured by the JABC with an induction into the Business Laureates of BC Hall Fame.
As Jan Bell-Irving, President and CEO of JABC, spoke about the contribution my fellow inductees and myself have made, I couldn’t help but think about how impactful JABC is on the lives of the youngest residents of our province. JA Canada, the national chapter, has worked with more than 4 million Canadian students over the last 60 years, with plans to help another 4 million in the 60 years to come.
In my gratitude address (Ian Telfer: 2016 Business Laureate Induction), I thanked the JABC, not only for the honour, but also for the fantastic work they do preparing and enabling the success of Canadian youth. I also urged the more than 700 business executives and entrepreneurs in the room to continue to support the efforts of the JABC through donations, volunteer work and sponsorship.
In the final words of Jan’s speech, she said, “They have left behind a powerful legacy that continues to inspire future generations of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” and although she was talking about this year’s inductees, she could have easily been talking about the JABC.