Washington Business Hall of Fame Also a Junior Achievement Jubilee

Leon Harris (emcee and JA board member) and Sheila Johnson (2015 laureate) on stage


“Students like me struggle with decisions like student loans, finding a fulfilling career, and getting the real skills to succeed in a job … skills that we don’t always get in a classroom, ” said Anya Karaman, Junior Achievement Graduate, volunteer — and senior at Marshall High School — from the podium of the 28th annual Washington Business Hall of Fame benefiting Junior Achievement of Greater Washington held earlier this month at the National Building Museum.

Mike Micholas (CohnReznick) texting a pledge during the show, with a JA student and Ken Harvey (retired NFL). Of the record $1.3 million raised, more than $55,000 was raised during the text-to-pledge part of the evening/program.


“As I finished my junior year… I went back into the classroom as a JA volunteer. These were some amazing kids.  We talked about careers and I challenged them to start planning how they would achieve their dreams. Together we explored the hands-on JA program and talked about budgeting, saving, and how the economy works. We talked about business. We talked about economics. We talked about the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wish you could see their face when they “got” it.”

JA students striking their best financial literacy superhero poses.


Dubbed the “Academy Awards of Business” for the DC region, over 1,000 were in attendance at the black-tie event, raising some $1.3 million to benefit JA’s innovative financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship K-12 programs designed to inspire the next generation to navigate their own path to the American dream.

Jim Dinegar (GWBOT), Cathy Merrill Williams (Washigntonian), Ed Grenier (JA of Greater Washington) – from the founding organizations of the Washington Business Hall of Fame


“This year is JAFW’s 50th anniversary. And in that half century, my good friends at JAGW have brought their… programs to almost 800,000 kids,” shared ABC7 Anchor Leon Harris.   “To put that in perspective, that’s enough kids to fill the Verizon Center just down the street more than 43 times.”

2015 Laureates: Seth Goldman, John Toups, Scott Wilfong, Sheila Johnson, Joe Rigby


In addition to the JA jubilee, five Laureates were inducted into the Hall of Fame and honored for their professional and philanthropic contributions to the Greater Washington region: Seth Goldman, Sheila Johnson, Joe Rigby, John Toups, and Scott Wilfong. They join over 100 laureates, all of whom have shaped the regional landscape and consistently demonstrated the following characteristics: outstanding business accomplishments; visionary, innovative leadership; integrity and strong core values; and passionate community engagement.

Robert Shea (Grant Thornton), JA Board Chair Patty Brooks-Nobles (Bank of America Merrill Lynch), JA Immediate Past Board Chair Richard LaFleur (Grant Thornton)

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