On Tuesday, August 22, the 2017 Washington Business Hall of Fame Laureates gathered at JA Finance Park® to get to know one another prior to the gala and awards ceremony in November.
A student entrepreneur, Lucas Huynh was at the luncheon to speak about his experience at the second annual JA Entrepreneurship Summit and to show the attendees the real life student impact of the dollars fundraised through the Washington Business Hall of Fame. Here are his remarks from the event:
"Good afternoon everyone. It’s such an honor to be speaking in front of so many successful people here today about Junior Achievement and the lessons I learned within the walls of this very JA Finance Park. My name is Lucas Huynh, and as Mr. Clark mentioned, in less than a week I’m going to be a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Only a few weeks ago, I had my very first experience with any JA program. I’ll admit, coming into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard about the JA Entrepreneurship Summit through a close friend of mine who attended the first annual Summit last year. Back in June, he sent me an email to see if I was interested in joining him. I took a look at my schedule and realized I didn’t have too much going on that week and since I had no previous experience in entrepreneurship, I got back to him and let him know I was going to register. With just one day left before the registration deadline, I signed up and eagerly awaited the start of the Summit.
Fast forward two weeks, and I fondly remember the very first time I walked through the doors at here at JA Finance Park to begin the Summit. It was a warm, Thursday morning, and my soon-to-be mentor, Mr. Ken Kozloff, was already there waiting to welcome me. He shook my hand and immediately afterwards, I was welcomed by several friendly and enthusiastic JA staff members. From the way I was being taken care of from the get-go, you would’ve thought I was at a vacation resort!
I then proceeded to the conference room for the introduction to the program and immediately got a strong sense of the program’s professional atmosphere. The series of activities and workshops that made up the Summit program made me feel as if I was solving actual problems for a real company, and that’s because we really were! I was fortunate enough to serve as my consultant group’s CEO, and we were actually representing an up and coming “super coffee” company called SUNNIVA. I mean, who better to learn about entrepreneurship from then 3 young people who know first-hand what it takes?
Throughout the week, I was offered a tremendous amount of support from my mentor, Ken, as well as the rest of the JA staff, including Gayle and Caitlin. We even had professional consultants and guest speakers like Tien Wong, a renowned DC Entrepreneur, come in to talk to us about their experiences in the business world.
One of the highlights of my experience was meeting and interacting with the mentors. It was a privilege to get up close and personal with three amazing leaders in our community, especially my team’s volunteer role model, Ken. In fact, if were to pinpoint the biggest takeaway from the whole week, it would be all the advice I received Ken. As the former CEO of one of the largest healthcare companies in Northern Virginia, Ken knew exactly what it took to be a successful head of a company, not only from a business standpoint but from a character point of view as well. Ken imparted on me a wealth of valuable information from the logistics of a company to finance, marketing, and so forth. But what really made an impression on me was his personal story: taking a dream, believing in yourself, and bringing it to fruition through hard work and perseverance.
I can’t thank Junior Achievement enough for giving me a glimpse of my future and showing me that I can start to prepare for it today. As I reflected on this experience, I was able to connect the dots between the knowledge and skills that I’ve acquired in school and their relevance in real world business situations. It reinforced for me how critical education is to future success and it gave me both the vision for the future as well as the skills to get there.
I knew relatively nothing about entrepreneurship before coming to JA. But now, through all the hours spent here at JA Finance Park, I have a strong foundation in basic entrepreneurship, and more importantly, I have bettered myself as a person and have developed hard skills and an entrepreneurial mindset that will follow me no matter what I path I may embark upon. Thank you."