JA Business Week Alumna Returns to Volunteer

It seems as if I did not have enough from JA Business Week the first time around. When I attended JA Business Week throughout my high school summers (2007-2011), I was always upset when it was time to go home, and could not wait to come back the next summer. Even after I graduated high school, and I was no longer a candidate for JA Business Week, I was eager to come back, and so I did, but this time as an intern.

Being an intern allowed me to realize how much work goes on in the background before and during JA Business Week. As a student, it was easy for me to take for granted all the hard work and dedication the JA staff puts into get awesome sponsors, such as Arrow Electronics. And I was in complete amazement to see so many volunteers taking the time to engage in JA Business Week.

Viridiana Jaquez
Viridiana Jaquez

I am not going to lie, after realizing that I was coming back as an intern and not a student, I started doubting if JA Business Week was even going to be enjoyable.  As always, JA Business Week was fun and very interesting. Although I did not compete, I got something more fulfilling than winning, and that is to expand my knowledge in connections, networking, coordination skills and time management.  Yes, at times it felt like I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, it was always rewarding to see the first year students competing in the Otterbox challenge enjoy their workshops by engaging, nodding their heads in agreement to what the speaker was saying, and continuously asking follow-up questions.

Since I was lucky enough to meet the speakers before every workshop, it became a game for me to introduce myself as quickly as possible and tell them a little about what I do for Denver Public Schools, see if there was a connection and if not I would make one. Similar trait comes from the ‘Elevator Pitch’ a tactic that I learned as a student in JA Business Week.

JA Business Week has always given me the opportunity to feed my personal development, and this time around it was not different. I met many great people, made new connections to strengthen my growth and had a great time.

-Viridiana Jaquez