JA-Rocky Mountain Participates in the CSU Global Business Academy

Gerald Chen, CFO of OtterProducts leads the JA Career Success workshop at the CSU Global Academy last month.

This July, students from around the globe participated in an immersive, ten-day summer business program on Colorado State University’s beautiful campus. Originally founded in 2018, this program is comprised of activities and highly challenging courses designed to help develop core business skills including leadership, team building, cross-cultural communication, entrepreneurship, decision making, ethics, financial literacy and much more. We were very excited to be asked to be part of it by offering workshops, which were taught by members of our advisory board.

At a glance, students gained insights about leadership, team dynamics and what it takes to run a business. Throughout this interactive program, students learned about the role of business in a variety of industries including engineering, tourism, agriculture, and technology. “Students liked the idea that, even though they were working on a high tech project, the workshop gave them good, must-know basic financial info on credit, debit and interest,” notes Chris Ruff, Vice President of DRM Real Estate Advisors and JA Northern Colorado and Wyoming Advisory Board Member.

Gerald Chen, Chief Financial Officer of OtterProducts and JA Northern Colorado and Wyoming Advisory Board Member taught a Career Success & Work Priorities workshop at the summer program. Gerald noted that one of the main focuses heading into the presentation was to highlight that “one’s career priorities can change, and that it is okay for them to change depending on the stage of life you’re in, or what you learn from prior experiences.” Adding that, “particularly in light of COVID and the social isolation that came from it, the importance of mental health and to ensure your career aligns with your personal priorities to help support one’s mental health was also highlighted. We hope that these messages resonated with the students.”

At the conclusion of the week, Gerald had this to say: “The students were very engaged throughout, and provided great insights and comments in response to our many open-ended and vague questions. At one point, the dialogue was so rich that I got a little nervous about not having enough time for the second half of our activity. Had we kept going with the conversation from the first half of the activity, we could have easily used up the entire 70 minutes. Several students even proceeded to talk with me afterwards to ask questions on a 1:1 level. I really admired their level of intellectual curiosity and emotional maturity.”

“The Global Business Academy is a great way for a high school student to start preparing for college and enhance their application,” states Beth Walker, Dean of the College of Business at CSU. A huge thank you to our amazing volunteers who led many of the workshops throughout the two week program! We were so thrilled to be part of such an incredible program, and look forward to next year’s program!