Innovation took center stage during JA Ignite the Spark!

The JA Company Program kick-off, JA Ignite the Spark! was a roaring success, with over 170 students taking part in the Microsoft Innovation Challenge. This event has limited registration for students this year as we demoed and managed a new Microsoft Teams format, and the responses and reviews have been stellar! Ignite was proudly presented by long-standing JA Board Company Worley and co-presented by our long-time stakeholder, Veritex Community Bank.

Innovation took center stage as Microsoft hosted our Innovation Challenge on the Hybrid Work Paradox. The Glenda and David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship at Houston Community College were our fabulous hosts. Also, they provided the first seed money for the school year for our winning teams. It is important to note that HCC, Microsoft, and Veritex Community Bank have steadfastly supported our kick-off from its inception in 2019.

We were honored that JA Board member Preeti Jain was an integral part of the ceremony and had a rousing welcome address highlighting the value and mission of the JA Company Program. She underscored that "We are the Game Changers. Disrupters. Collaborators. Innovators...We are stronger TOGETHER. Our diversity and our differences make us better and brings about smarter solutions." Helping to inspire the students was Courtney Taylor from Veritex Community Bank and Dr. Maya Durnovo from HCC. One of the day's highlights was the Power Interview with Jim McIngvale, affectionately known as Mattress Mack, the owner of Gallery Furniture, and the 2016 JA Hall of Achievement Laureate. We are thankful to the Glenda and David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship for hosting this interview and inviting our JA Company Program students to be a part of the Mattress Mack School of Selling at HCC.

It was wonderful to see our JA Company Program alumni network in full flow, with Mitch Kuy hosting our Microsoft Innovation Challenge, Safa Chowdhry co-hosting the event, and Alex Ittoop delivering the Closing Address on behalf of Baker Hughes (ASPIRE). Congratulations to Episcopal High School as well as Dulles High School, Elkins High School, Katy High School, and Harmony School of Innovation – Sugarland, for emerging as our top teams and winning seed money from HCC.