JA Board Members and Board Companies Give Leadership New Meaning with the JA EnTEENpreneur Leadership Trainings


Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas is proud to host the JA Company Program Leadership Training Sessions for all executive members of JA startups, generously sponsored by our Board Companies, Enbridge and H-E-B, under the JA EnTEENpreneur Conference banner. This is the second event under the EnTEENpreneur banner that JA Company Program staged in the 2020/21 school year. We are indebted to our long-serving Enbridge Board Member, Greg Ebel, for his continuing support of youth entrepreneurship, along with Lisa Helfman from H-E-B, for her stewardship.

Our student leaders had the opportunity to be trained by true experts and business leaders, most of whom are JA Board Members, as they gained in-depth knowledge on the JA Company Program’s key business departments - Sales, Management, Supply Chain, Marketing and Finance. We are indebted to Michael McMurray (Executive Vice President and CFO, LyondellBasell), Dr. Richard Heo (President and CEO, Gulf Island), Evelyn Angelle (Private Investor and Entrepreneur), Greg Ebel, (Chair - Board of Directors, Enbridge) and Kristen Palmer (Global Digital Recruitment Marketing Lead, Accenture) for their steadfast support of youth entrepreneurship and our emerging entrepreneurs! Our executive student leaders of the #JACompanyProgram were enriched and inspired by these leadership trainings! The training sessions were made extra-special when our JA Company Program alumni members from Texas A&M, Howard University, University of Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Houston, took part in co-hosting each of the trainings with JA staff members.

Student Testimonials:

• Mojolaoluwa Okusaga, the CEO of JA Startup Sea Style (Alief Early College High School) said, “I truly enjoyed all the information that Mr. Ebel provided. I especially benefited from learning about the five temptations that a leader must avoid. My startup is currently merging with another JA company in school and learning from Greg has helped me to better prepare to work with a group of new team members after the merger. Moving forward, I will remember all the information he took the time to teach us. The merger is daunting but I now know how I can prepare for it! Thank you Greg for this experience!”

• Amber Qu, the COO and Head of Sales for JA Startup Connect (Clements High School), raved about the Sales Training led by Dr. Richard Heo. “Richard was very open and willing to answer all our questions during the training. He was also very clear with his teaching and I wish I had more one-on-one time with him! I loved how he was not formal with us at all and made Sales seem so intriguing, while also making it part of a rational trajectory of leadership. I loved being a part of his training!”

• Rayyan Salim, the Head of Supply Chain for JA Startup EVO (Elkins High School) said, “The Supply Chain training was a great experience for me. Evelyn shared many of her experiences with us, which allowed us to learn from her time in the Supply Chain industry. From her experiences at a Fortune 100 Company (Haliburton), to her privately owned enterprises (like Kolache Factory), she walked us through the characteristics of an efficient Supply Chain. She was GREAT host who even offered her expertise beyond the training session and told us to reach out to her any time! This is a huge opportunity for student leaders like me who are attempting to successfully manage Supply Chain operations, especially during the pandemic.”

• Kathleen Tonn, the Head of Marketing for JA Startup Sip and Go (Memorial High School), expressed that, “I really enjoyed Kristen’s training because it was very informative and helped give me new ways to promote and market my product, a foldable and reusable straw. Kristen was very nice and made me better understand how to market my Sip and Go product. I learnt a lot from the training and found the experience truly impactful thanks to her expertise and how freely she shared her knowledge with us! Thank you Kristen and Accenture!”

• Sidrah Rahman, the CFO for JA Startup Diverse Is Not A Curse (Harmony School of Innovation – Katy) stated, “I definitely enjoyed the experience of learning from a stalwart like Mr. McMurray! I learnt a lot more about financing AND leadership, and he really went into detail about how to handle financing in Business, focus on strategy and manage talent well. The knowledge he shared with me will definitely help my company this semester, especially since we are still fundraising. Mr. McMurray was an excellent trainer, very hands on and humble – such a great leader!”

We are also grateful to the JA Company Program’s Premier Presenting Sponsor, LyondellBasell, for their continuing support and guidance of the program and for providing our student leaders such enriching platforms to excel!

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