JA USA Hosts 2019 National Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

June 17–19, 2019

JA USA Hosts 2019 National Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

Students Arrive in D.C.: Sunday, June 16

JA Student Companies from all over the U.S. arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, June 16, for the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit.

Team Brush It Off
JA of Western Massachusetts

Team Pure Serenity
JA of South Florida

Team MO Co.
JA of Greater St. Louis

Team Denim2Denim
JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Day 1: Monday, June 17

Students took the day to explore the nation’s capital before a late afternoon reception, followed by a welcome from JA USA President and CEO, Jack Kosakowski, and JA Worldwide staffer and alumni Sarah Rapp.

The Delta Social Impact seminar kicked off at 5:30 with a presentations from Delta Airlines’ Lead Project Manager of Community Engagement, LaSandra Boykin, and Director of Onboard Brand Experiences, Ekrem Dimbiloglu.

Ekrem discussed Delta’s initiatives to not only remove plastic straws from its flights, but also completely eliminate all single-use plastics from its planes and airport Sky Clubs. That’s an elimination of 300,000 pounds of waste from the world’s landfills every year. The airline is also the first to offer carbon offsets and recycle items used onboard, including aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cups, newspapers, and magazines.

Ekram discusses sustainability and onboard wellness.

Ekram discusses sustainability and onboard wellness.

In addition to sustainability, Delta is concerned with health and wellness. Ekram challenged students to propose solutions to two common in-flight issues: waste and passenger wellness.

The first challenge asked students to brainstorm ideas of how Delta could further its sustainability efforts onboard its flights, encouraging them to relate their own day-to-day practices to any possible solutions.

Ekram listens in as students brainstorm onboard wellness and sustainability.

Ekram listens in as students brainstorm onboard wellness and sustainability.

Next, Ekram asked students to consider onboard solutions for passenger wellness. Delta already offers wellness options in its in-flight entertainment through documentaries, TED Talks, brain games, and sleeping and breathing techniques, but they want to do more. Students were tasked with pinpointing common travel-related stressors and coming up with different solutions to alleviate them.

Student teams collaborated and brainstormed together, and then presented their solutions onstage, including putting water dispensers in planes to reduce plastic waste and seating first-time flyers together to help reduce anxiety.

Students present ideas for onboard wellness and sustainability.

Students present ideas for onboard wellness and sustainability.

Delta Social Impact Seminar - Group shot.jpeg

Day 2: June 18, 2019

Day 2 of the National Student Leadership Summit started strong with the Ernst and Young (EY) Innovation Seminar, during which members of EY's Wavespace team helped the students brainstorm frameworks for academics, leadership, and apprenticeship for the year 2025.

Students present ideas at the EY Innovation Seminar.

Students present ideas at the EY Innovation Seminar.

Up next, Pam Johnson, Communications Advisor at FedEx, took the stage to present the FedEx Access Seminar, which helps JA entrepreneurs build a more connected market for their businesses.

Pam described the four principles of well-defined, well-connected business:

  1. Driven by innovation;

  2. Connected to and ready to access new markets;

  3. Fueling community development; and

  4. Demonstrates active commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

She challenged students to think about how their companies exhibit these principles. Students then presented their ideas to the crowd. But there was a catch—they had to do their presentations in the form of a rap or a poem. All 15 teams delivered!

Pam Johnson of FedEx presents at the FedEx Access Seminar.

Pam Johnson of FedEx presents at the FedEx Access Seminar.

Thank you, FedEx, for your generous and enthusiastic support of JA around the world!

In the afternoon, students headed over to Capitol Hill for the JA Entrepreneurship Expo, where they were joined by Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and JA USA CEO Jack Kosakowski.

The expo drew attention from U.S. news media, as well, including ABC, NBC, and CNN.

After the expo, student teams had time to visit with their national representatives. Team Filtair USA from JA of Northern New England sat down with their senator, Ed Markey, to discuss the impact of their product on the environment and the fundamentals of a successful business model.

Team Filtair USA with Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts.

Team Filtair USA with Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts.

Day 3: June 19, 2019

Fifteen student teams from around the U.S. presented their JA companies to the panel of judges on the morning of Day 3.

It’s time to meet the teams! 

Bats Around Town aims to educate and raise awareness about local bat populations and the role of bats in the ecosystem. Efforts are funded by sales of handcrafted bat houses designed to stop the spread of white-nose syndrome.
JA of East Central Ohio, Canton, OH

Brush It Off created a low-cost, high-quality pet grooming brush for dogs, cats, and horses to improve pet grooming.
JA of Western Massachusetts, Springfield, MA

Denim2Denim addressed the problem of textile waste by developing three styles of handmade, one-of-a-kind bags using donated jeans, transforming unwanted clothing into functional products.
JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

EcoSlurp created an eco-friendly, biodegradable straw alternative that maintains the functionality and quality of a single-use plastic straw without the waste.
JA of the Upper Midwest, Minneapolis, MN

Filtair USA produced an air filter that attaches to a bicycle’s handlebars, and takes volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—chemicals that form smog and harm humans’ respiratory and immune systems—out of the air.
JA of Northern New England, Boston, MA

Hydrope promotes the use of reusable water bottles to keep our oceans and environment clean. The customizable, military-grade paracord water bottle handle makes carrying a bottle more convenient.
JA of Northern California, San Francisco, CA

 MO Co. sells T-shirts, hooded long-sleeved shirts, and stickers featuring designs of the state of Missouri and the 314 area code, appealing to consumers in the St. Louis area and around the state.
JA of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Our Story created a motivational journal that helps teens relieve stress and anxiety, as well as well giving them the space to set and achieve goals.
JA of the Chilsholm Trail, Fort Worth, TX

Pure Serenity sells fashionable lava bead diffuser bracelets that provide a simple and convenient way to maintain well-being and reduce stress through the power of essential oils.
JA of South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Reclaimed Visions produces home decor products made from 100-year-old barn wood, including picture frames, three-picture displays, and wall organizers. The products promote recycling through stylish, trending farm-house style decor.
JA of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Simple Starters created conversation starter card sets that enhance the quality of conversations with families and friends. The cards encourage families to put down the technology and start having the conversations that matter.
JA of East Central Ohio, Canton, OH

Sipsy sells stainless steel reusable straws in order to spread awareness and raise money for the protection of endangered sea turtles, as well as promote a more environmentally conscious lifestyle by providing an alternative to plastic straws. Sipsy straws are dishwasher safe and come with a cleaner and biodegradable case for sipping on the go.
JA of Greater Washington, Washington, D.C.

Tudrme connects tutors and students who need tutors for the benefit of both parties. Tutors are able to share their knowledge and earn money while students receive the academic help they need to succeed in school.
JA of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 

VIBEzzz is a smartwatch that connects to a user’s cellphone via Bluetooth.
JA of South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL

WriteCase creates laptop cases with built-in, reusable writing surfaces made of erasable and customizable panels. The double-sided panels are convenient, modular, and eco-friendly.
JA of the Upper Midwest, Minneapolis, MN

Missed the livestream of the team presentations? Watch them on the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit’s Facebook page!

Awards Ceremony

JA USA hosted the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit awards gala on Wednesday night. The student awards included the FedEx Access Award, the Delta Social Impact Award, and, of course, the 2019 JA Company of the Year Award.  

The first winner of the night, Hana Simab, received the Jim Sweeney Pioneer Scholarship Award, a $1,000 scholarship awarded to a JA Company Program student in recognition of his or her accomplishments, role in their JA company, and entrepreneurial potential. Hana is President and CEO of Hydrope from JA of Northern California.

The Delta Social Impact Award is given to the team that applies entrepreneurial thinking to create a realistic, achievable, and innovative solution to a social concern at the local, national, or global level. Team Filtair USA received the award this year for their bicycle-mounted, VOC-eliminating air filter

Team Filtair USA also took home the EY Innovation Award, which honors the student company with the most innovative product or service.

The FedEx Access Award rewards the team that best demonstrates understanding and application of global access, leveraging international trade to create jobs, grow small businesses, expand global development and improve the environment. Team Hydrope took home this year’s honor for their customizable paracord water bottle handles.

Team Simple Starters received the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Foundation Best Financial Performance Award for their conversation-starting card sets. The award is presented to the JA student company with the best achievement against the following metrics: profitability, exceeding investor expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency. Simple Starters generated over $18,000 in revenue.

Team Denim2Denim won third place for their unique, handmade handbags made from donated denim.

Team Pure Serenity won second place for their lava bead diffuser bracelets.

Finally, Team Simple Starters took home the 2019 JA Company of the Year Award for their conversation-starter card sets. Congratulations to this innovative, forward-thinking group of talented students from JA of East Central Ohio.

Congratulations to all student companies and 2019 JA Company of the Year and special award winners!

Simple Starters wins 2019 JA Company of the Year.

Simple Starters wins 2019 JA Company of the Year.