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"There is no more generous gift you can give someone than your time."

Katie's Story of Impact

Katie Lord is well acquainted with the Kansas City philanthropic community. “My career has been entirely focused on fundraising. As the Vice President of Non-Profit Development at Proof Positioning, I work to position our charitable partners to achieve their goals.” Katie is the first to acknowledge that her career goals weren’t clear early on in life. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was in school. I didn’t understand that you could build a career like the one I have now.” Given her own journey, the importance of exposure to different career paths resonated strongly with her.

Katie’s first exposure to Junior Achievement came through a previous position. “JA was a client of mine. I didn’t know much about their programs at first, but I loved the mission from the start.” Katie strengthened her ties to JA after being accepted into the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program. “I reconnected to Junior Achievement through Centurions. Now I’ve led two units in the classroom, become a mentor at the Future Women’s Leadership Forum, and volunteered at the 4.01K Race.”

Katie’s time in the classroom gave her perspective on the impact of strong role-models in her own family. “I taught a unit to 3rd graders. It was about taxes, supply chains, and creating businesses. It was so rewarding and gave me a newfound respect for my mother and grandmother, who were both in the teaching profession.”  She continued, “Not every kid is lucky enough to have parents who are able to teach them these things. Understanding financial management is vital to setting kids up for success. I sometimes think that is why many people have problems managing finances as adults. They didn’t have someone to show them how it’s done.”

Katie’s positive experience as a role model in the classroom led to interest in another Junior Achievement event, the Future Women’s Leadership Forum. This bi-annual gathering brings female professionals in diverse industries together with young women in local high schools for a day of connection and conversation about their careers and lives. “Being able to have open and candid conversations…I wish I had gotten more of that at their age. We’re asking kids to pick earlier and earlier what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I want them to see multiple pathways and have tools for success.” She sees great value in the relationships she built with her mentees during the day-long event. “There is no more generous gift you can give someone than your time. Money is a renewable resource, time is not. We all get the same 24 hours in a day.”

Thinking back through her own career path, Katie smiled, “I have been blessed to have amazing mentors. I have always left my mentors with something new to try, something new to read, a different perspective.” But she is quick to dispel a common myth about the mentor-mentee relationship. “People always think mentorship has to be a huge time commitment. It can be a phone call. It can be a text message. It can be a quarterly coffee..” The most important thing is that you help others as you have been helped. There is always somebody behind you that needs that time.”

After her positive experiences as a volunteer and mentor, Katie considered how else she could increase her impact. “I volunteered first and became a donor second, which was very millennial of me.  It’s important to invest in our kids now. They are the financial future of the country. If you can invest not only time but also money, if you can do it together, you are going to make the biggest impact.” Speaking to the change she creates as a JA Champion she said, “I see the immediate impact of everything I’ve done. I see the dollars we raise at the 4.01K run. I see the impact I have teaching kids about different types of jobs. When I walk away, I can say, ‘I did something today.’”

Katie’s multi-faceted involvement as a Junior Achievement Champion has given her the confidence that when she gives of her time and treasure, her investment powers possibility for students. “What sets Junior Achievement apart is their holistic approach and their stewardship of donors.  I know the return on investment I’m going to see when making a gift to JA. I clearly understand how many kids I’ve helped, the classrooms I’ve served, what my donation has done.”  Katie considers her past as well as the future of her daughter when considering how to give to her community. “I didn’t have JA when I was young, but I wish I had. I hope that my daughter does. By being a donor and volunteer I can ensure that is going to happen.”

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