Junior Achievement Leading By Example

Being a dedicated Junior Achievement of Central Florida (JA) volunteer runs in the family for Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, Greater Florida. As a child, Guidotti who lives in Lake Mary, watched his father help empower young people by leading JA’s workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs. Now, as a devoted mentor and board member for JA, he’s making his own impact on students’ lives. “Like my father, I’m helping kids make the connection between their studies and the world of opportunity that awaits them,” Guidotti says. “Here in Central Florida, JA is giving students the tools they need to succeed in our free enterprise system. Being a part of that is so rewarding.” With Guidotti’s leadership, AT&T is an avid supporter of JA’s job shadow and mentorship program, which will serve 150 at-risk students this year.

His enthusiasm for these hands-on learning experiences has boosted the organization’s programs throughout Central Florida. During the past two school years, JA partnered with a wide range of local businesses to provide job shadowing for more than 400 students. “When students take part in job shadowing at AT&T, they gain a deeper understanding of the nuts and bolts of our business,” he explains. “They tour cell switching equipment with our engineers, visit our customer service call centers, meet with our marketing team and learn about the financial aspects of the communications business. Through experiences like these, kids can see how their studies will be applied in real world careers.” Besides promoting job shadow programs, Guidotti serves as a mentor and has recruited other business leaders to take on the role for local students.

He looks forward to regular meetings with his mentee, a freshman and member of the inaugural class at the JA Academy of Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Oak Ridge High School. “As a mentor, I’m able to guide this smart, motivated young man through some of the difficult aspects of growing up,” he says. “He’s off to a good start, but I can help by introducing him to the business world and the rewards of community service.” Guidotti’s commitment to JA also includes building community support. The Lake Mary resident leads AT&T’s involvement in Bowl-Athon, JA’s annual corporate fundraising initiative. Last year, AT&T raised nearly $14,000, more than double its tally in 2011. With lots of new, first-time participants signed up to bowl this spring, Guidotti expects AT&T to break records again as the results come in. “JA has that effect on people,” he says. “Once you get involved and see the positive impact of its work in Central Florida, you just can’t help but join in the fun.” This Lake Mary resident is helping the area’s youth succeed through Junior Achievement of Central Florida’s mentorship program.


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Written by Wendy Gustama

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