From Here to There: Braden Newell, JA Alumni
From Braden's speech at the 2018 Laureate Appreciation Event:
Junior Achievement is a program close to my heart. JA teaches young people skills in financial literacy and entrepreneurship that helps to support the existing education curriculum in Nova Scotia.
Financial literacy and entrepreneurship are passions of mine. Whether you are looking to start a career with a large company or start your own business these skills are clearly valuable. JA is a program that plants the idea of financial independence and entrepreneurship early-on.
In my final year of high school, a close friend of mine, Megan, encouraged me to come with her to the first Junior Achievement session of the year.
Having my own passion for business I was intrigued about what JA. Shortly thereafter we had to figure out what our business would be.
For the past two years I had worked for a telecommunications company as a CSR and noticed that we had a lot of seniors coming in looking for tutorials on basic device literacy. I suggested to my JA team that a technology training service may be a good idea.
That, ladies and gentleman, was how Tech Teens was born. Tech Teens was a technology training company that taught seniors and entrepreneurs about device literacy, social media, and a host of other topics.
We had to decide whether we would charge for the service or figure out another revenue model. Our company decided to go with a sponsorship model where we signed on local business’ to sponsor the training sessions in exchange for feature tutorials of their apps or websites.
Over the eighteen weeks of company program I served as president of the Tech Teens and it was by far one of the best experiences of my life. Teaching me skills like time management, leadership, writing a business plan, and pitching. In total I spent more than 150 hours on the program and the company earned $4500 gross.
Come the year end I MC’d the celebration of achievement and won the professional engagement award. I still have the news articles, certificates, and even a tech teens mouse pad I had made as mementos of my time in company program.
A year later, in my first semester of university I joined Enactus. A program I simply like to call “Junior Achievement for adults.” For a year I used the skills and credibility I gained from operating tech teams to run another technology literacy program called ConnectED, this time a training program, aimed to help at risk youth develop computer literacy skills. I was also given the chance to speak at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce for Junior Achievement.
Currently, I attend Saint Mary’s University for a Bachelor of Commerce with a major of Computing and Information Systems with a minor in history. I now serve as the Director of Technology for Enactus. Next week my team and I will be traveling to Toronto for the Enactus National Exposition.
And most meaningful of all I’m still involved with Junior Achievement as a classroom volunteer where I teach young people from grades six to nine about financial literacy and the world of entrepreneurship.
The opportunity to be a part of the education of people not much younger than I am is incredibly rewarding.
I believe that if others have the skills that I was fortunate enough to develop, young people wouldn’t be leaving Nova Scotia but instead working on making their home better.
I want to congratulate Stu, Diane, and Rob on becoming the next Business Hall of Famers. Just one thing before I go though, watch out, because someday soon I intend to be joining you in the business hall of fame.