Guest Commentary: Valuable learning experiences within reach for Junior Achievement students
When I reflect on today’s business professionals, I think of the people and organizations who stood behind these individuals over the years, helping prepare them for future success. As a third-generation native of Southwest Florida, I am passionate about enhancing business in this region, and believe that local professionals should look toward younger generations with the intent to prepare them to be the business leaders of tomorrow.
As a long-time supporter of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and an active member of its Board of Directors and the 2017 Business Hall of Fame, Collier County, Advisory Board, I’ve had the opportunity to see the impact that Junior Achievement’s valuable lessons and learning opportunities have on our youth during their formative years. I’ve developed a great appreciation for the local business leaders, volunteers and supporters who come together to offer such an influential program to our students.
I have been involved with Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida since the early 1990s, working alongside business professionals with a similar passion for education and free enterprise. The outreach and number of programs available to students have grown dramatically over the years, and now hundreds of community leaders come together each school year to bring lessons on work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to more than 10,600 students throughout Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. The work of Junior Achievement and its community partners help our youth build a solid foundation for their futures, instilling positive business ethics and preparing them to make valuable contributions back to our society when it’s their time to enter the workforce.
Honoring two local entrepreneurs for their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will host its 2017 Business Hall of Fame, Collier County event on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort, located at 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples. Throughout the event, Junior Achievement students in attendance will have the opportunity to interact with local business professionals, gaining real-life experience designed to enhance professional communication and etiquette skills.
During the dinner and awards ceremony, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct laureates Edward V. Staros, vice president and managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, and Mark Wilson, president and CEO of London Bay Homes, into its Business Hall of Fame, Collier County. Staros and Wilson stand out as two shining examples for today’s students, both providing the highest quality of service and products within their prospective industries, all while staying true to their business values and sharing their time, treasures and talents within the Southwest Florida community. What better way to highlight the mission of Junior Achievement than celebrating two individuals that exemplify its key pillars of education?
Businesses and professionals within our community can make a world of difference for future generations, helping young students expand their horizons, both personally and professionally, to ensure a strong future here in Southwest Florida. I believe in what Junior Achievement is doing in the lives of our students, and I hope you will join us in celebrating these two local entrepreneurs that serve as real-life examples to Junior Achievement students. For more information on the upcoming event, call 239-225-2590 or visit www.JASWFL.org.
Carleton Case is the Vice President of Business Development, Brown & Brown of Southwest Florida