As a finance expert with more than 16 years of banking, lending and business consulting experience, Jason Alley knew that volunteering with an organization like Junior Achievement would lead to a very fulfilled personal and professional life.
“I was searching for philanthropic opportunities that were a good fit for me, as well as our organization’s commitment to the community,” he said. “Financial literacy is paramount to my personal values, as well as my organization’s values.”
Alley is a Vice President and Senior Client Relationship Manager for City National Bank in Washington, DC. He advises and consults with a variety of companies and helps them identify areas for growth and acquisition.
Finance being his forte, Alley seized the opportunity to engage with Junior Achievement through the JA Finance Park experience. The innovative program teaches local middle school students about the complexities of personal finance management as they live out a day as a bill-paying adult — topics and concepts that Alley says he wishes were taught to him when he was a kid.
“The opportunity to work with, teach and engage with these teenagers is a heart warming experience,” he said. “At the end of each class I often feel that I get as much from them as they may get from me.”
Alley says the most remarkable thing about volunteering is seeing the intricacy and impact of JA Finance Park. The students start the day with little knowledge and interest about financial concepts. By the end of the day, he explains, “Their mentality, knowledge gained, and perspectives have made a 360, and to see their mindset change is quite a positive surprise.”
Alley’s interest in business and passion for working with youth also drove him to volunteer at the 2018 JA Entrepreneurship Summit. As a volunteer mentor, Alley advised teams of high school students as they learned to launch and operate a startup company. His team went on to win the culminating shark tank-style pitch competition.
“The Entrepreneurship Summit was a fantastic experience,” he said. “I had the opportunity to help two teams develop their business plans, budgets and products, and to watch one of my teams win the competition was an amazing experience.”
Working hard and giving back to the community are guiding principles instilled in Alley by his father and grandfather. His father was a serial entrepreneur with admirable ethics and family values.
“I have carried his lessons with me throughout life, and have established his humble and selfless persona as my personal creed,” Alley said.
His advice to the next generation of leaders? Alley encourages young people to utilize opportunities such as Junior Achievement to learn the life essentials that may not be provided in standard curriculum. Like his father and grandfather before him, he also incites youth to give back:
“Get involved with your community. The opportunity to give back is paramount and the favor will always be returned later in life.”
If you’re inspired by Jason’s spotlight and would like to learn more about volunteering with JA, check out our Volunteer Opportunities.