News & Stories

Gerrie Trotman Finds a Lifelong Community in JA


Gerrie Trotman first became involved with the JA program in Montreal, and it’s been part of her life ever since! Around this time last year, Gerrie joined ONFE’s Neighbourhood as a monthly donor to give back to JA Ottawa.

When the Executive Director of Junior Achievement in Montreal dropped by Gerrie Trotman’s high school to recruit students to the program, she was ecstatic “to get outside of the four walls of the school and see what the world was really like”. Since that first meeting years ago, she hasn’t looked back! Her involvement with JA launched her career with Drake International, which created Teenage Overload.

Gerrie knows that her involvement with JA at an early age was instrumental in her career path. It even played a hand in her move to the nation’s capital! “JA gives students the chance to realize the potential might be there within themselves.” Throughout her life and worldwide travels, one thing remained constant: JA helped her to connect with people. Indeed, when she met with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the two of them bonded thanks to their familiarity with Junior Achievement! Without the program, she adds, she wouldn’t have discovered her talent for motivating others.

JA, Gerrie Trotman, Charles Bronfman, Junior Achievement
Gerrie was all smiles as she received the President of the Year award from Charles Bronfman.

Today, Gerrie gives back to the JA Ottawa program as a donor because she knows that learning the basics of financial literacy can open up a world of possibilities for young minds. “The world today is so different; students must have so many more choices about what they can do. Young people in particular need to have the opportunity to see what is possible.”

Gerrie has visited malls during JA Sales Days in Ottawa and found herself astonished by her interactions with the students. There she found engaged youth selling innovative products whose faces lit up when talking to potential customers. “You can see the lightbulb that goes on in their heads when they talk about their products or their companies. The students are so positive about their experiences. You hope it stays with them through their careers.”

When we think of JA Ottawa, we often associate it with crucial competencies like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness, but like Gerrie highlights, JA also helps youth become well-rounded individuals, as they learn equally essential skills like communication: “Students learn how to sell themselves and their products. The program is a vehicle for self-worth and it is important to give students this opportunity before they go to university or college and become one of several hundred in a classroom. They have the confidence and a leg up on other students who may not have participated in the program.”

“I wish people realized the possibilities of this program and how it can help young people find their own way.”

Gerrie is a model example of the long-lasting and far-reaching impacts of the JA program. Like Gerrie, you can help future generations of leaders get the head start they need by joining ONFE’s Neighbourhood.

JA Ottawa, giving, ONFE, Ottawa Network for Education, Réseau d'Ottawa pour l'éducation

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