When Waishing joined the JA Company Program in 2009, Junior Achievement quickly became part of his identity. “I was consumed by it. Some people join a sports team or a school committee, Junior Achievement became my extra-curricular. It defined me. You would always look forward to JA nights.”
During his first year of the 18-week Company Program, Waishing took on the leadership role of President & CEO where he enjoyed the real-world, hands-on experience of creating and running his own business, and of truly being part of something bigger. In the following three years of the program, he held the position of Vice President of Human Resources, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, and came back full circle to President & CEO in his last year where Waishing was awarded Company Program President of the Year, a Next Generation Leaders Forum Delegate, and his company was named Teamwork Company of the Year.
Waishing credits Junior Achievement in changing the way he thinks on a daily basis. “You develop team skills that stick and skills that are essential to how you lead your life. The biggest impact JA had on me was the ability to build relationships and work outside my comfort zone to accomplish something more. Being a part of a team, and seeing myself with the ability to lead a team.”
After a successful run as a student of the Company Program, Waishing became a Company Program Center Manager for a year to help train and guide other participants. “My favourite part about being a Center Manager was interacting with the students, and providing mentorship to students through my past experiences in the program.”
Presently, Waishing is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, studying towards a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education with a major in Social Studies, and a minor in Career & Technology Studies (CTS): Business, Administration Finance. He also works as a Financial Services Representative at TD Canada Trust, serves as a Canadian Representative on the Pearson Student Advisory Board for Pearson North America, and as Vice President of Operations and Finance for the Education Students’ Association at the University of Alberta.
Waishing highly recommends JA and tells all of his students that “Junior Achievement is one of the best things you can do as a student to better you for the workforce and to build relationships.” He describes Junior Achievement as a foundation to one’s career and when his professional “big bang” happened, because the program gave him the opportunity to network with professionals and make connections in the real-world.
On the future of Junior Achievement, Waishing hopes JA will continue to “connect more effectively and efficiently with young adults in an ever-changing society” and to “make attempts to bridge the gaps between curriculum, teaching practice, and extracurricular activities in and out of the classroom so that young adults are afforded the opportunity to build foundational skills and values, as well as advance their professional careers, to create a more informed citizenry.”