Planting Seeds for a Better Future

Junior Achievement of Memphis and Mid South’s Leigh Mansberg Addresses Chamber

Leigh Mansberg, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid South, addressed a crowd of Collierville Chamber members and guests at February’s Monthly Membership Meeting held at First Baptist Church of Collierville on Wednesday, February 21.

Chamber Board Chairman, Ken Cope, thanked the meeting’s sponsor, Simmons Bank, and complimented Simply Done for providing a wonderful Cajun lunch. Chamber President and CEO Mark Heuberger introduced some new members in the crowd and offered them a chance to address the meeting.

Patriot Bank’s Sara Honeycutt and Roger Jones, Principal of Collierville High School, took the stage to present the Student of the Month award to Jenna Grace Jonkman. Describing her as “simply amazing,” Principal Jones cited her significant educational accomplishments:  an ACT score of 35, membership in the ACT 30+ Club since the 7th grade, her 15 honors classes, 6 AP classes and 1 dual enrollment class, as well as leadership positions with the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Club. Yonkman is also involved with Collierville High’s Draco Playhouse, having directed two plays herself. She is a member of the All-State Choir. She will attend Brigham Young University and study Theater and Film Directing.

Brandon Cooper, Market President of Simmons Bank, took the podium to introduce the day’s speaker, Leigh Mansberg. Cooper took a few minutes to detail his board involvement with Junior Achievement and to outline the organization’s importance to the community and region.

Before beginning her remarks, Mansberg saluted Brandon Cooper’s commitment and passion to Junior Achievement, citing his recent national recognition with the Gold Leadership Award.

Giving kudos to Collierville High School’s visionary programs within workforce education and career development, she said, “They get it,” and suggested that it is necessary to understand the importance of “planting seeds for a future that is not our own.”

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South currently oversees programs for some 30,000 students but will expand to a regional approach and will find themselves addressing the needs of 480,000 students, as they move to a 3-region approach. The area will encompass an area surrounded by Memphis to Jonesboro to Jackson, Ms to Jackson, TN. Daunting perhaps, but Mansberg considers it a privilege “to wake up excited to do your job.”

Using statistics reflecting the importance of workforce education and career planning to career satisfaction, she outlined the many programs that Junior Achievement uses to address the career and financial education of students from Kindergarten to age 24. Specific goals are targeted within three major age groups, from learning the basics about money and financial responsibility at the earliest ages, to the development of a wide range of classes for high schoolers. With their recent move to their new home at an expansive site on North Tillman in Binghampton and accepting the responsibility of coordinating programs for an entire region of young people, Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South moves forward with a full understanding of “planting seeds for a future that’s not their own.”