Career Week 2016!

Steve StaesSteven Staes (left) is Chief Operating Officer and Counsel for K&G Fashion Superstore, a division of Tailored Brands.

Atlanta Youth Academy (AYA) kicked off our 2016 Career Week with an inspiring Chapel service, featuring an address by a world-class individual who knows all about achievement — Steve Brown: All-American, NFL/CFL, Olympian, Hall of Fame. Mr. Brown relied on an acronym to illustrate his point: FOCUS — Faith, Options, Commitment, You, and Support. Encouraging our students to find their strengths, he added, “If you’re not willing to work for it, you’re not going to get it” and “If your friends aren’t going to check you and keep you in line, you need a new circle.” Mr. Brown’s bottom line: “You can accomplish your dreams if you have the right faith, the right work ethic, and the right people surrounding you.”

In further illustration of his insightful wisdoms, from Monday, March 21, to Thursday, March 28, nearly 30 speakers presented unique details from their educational and professional journeys. Each classroom and grade level received a visit from a professional who came in to discuss higher education and career-building.

Universally, each speaker highlighted the importance of goal-setting, of aspiring to high bars of achievement with faith, preparation and endurance. They talked about mentors and influencers, taking calculated risks and making careful choices, delaying gratification in return for longer-term returns on both education and professional growth.

“You need to be the best version of you, and that will help those around you be the best version of them.”

John Featherston, Senior Director, New Ventures, Chick-fil-A

“My parents were my role models and they sacrificed to put me in the position to get the best education and to be successful.” 

Morgan Ingram, Sales and Marketing, Terminus

“I believe that God brings opportunities across your path at the right time. I ask God every day to open doors in front of me to lead me. I also ask him to close doors that I shouldn’t go through.” 

Sonja Jackson, Sales, Kompan Playground Solutions

Our students and faculty look forward to this week every year. Its positive and lasting impacts on the AYA community is both motivating and energizing to children and adults alike, and we are so grateful for the great individuals who made time to be with us!

Professional fields represented include:

  • Wealth management
  • Dentist
  • Author
  • Software Sales/Programming
  • Community Health
  • Broadcast Engineering
  • Digital Media Marketing
  • Interior Design
  • Legal Cousel/Law
  • Restaurant Business/Owner
  • Judge
  • Police Officer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Music Producer
  • Psychology Professor 
  • Athlete 
  • Firemen

Many professionals of the Atlanta Metro Region establish a relationship with AYA through exposure to our school community during Career Week. If you’re interested in becoming a 2017 Career Week speaker, would like to join our mentoring program, or take a closer look at our Friends of AYA group, please contact us!

What about you? Who were your role models and guiding inspirations? What were some of the choices you faced on your journey? Feel free to leave your comments below as you scroll down and enjoy some pictures from our wonderful Career Week.

Judge Jackson

Pictured above, Judge Phillip Jackson was appointed an Associate Judge in the Fulton County Juvenile Court in June 2009,  where he continues to work today.  He presides over delinquency, deprivation, and status cases.


Millie Turner

Millie Turner was an AYA art teacher who left one profession for another — to explore the Atlanta food scene. She now works in human resources and operations at Banner Butter.


Next post — The annual AYA Spring Luncheon! We had great fun gathering with old friends and meeting new ones! Stay tuned.

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