What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
That’s a question Kent Greenawalt, Chairman and CEO of Foot Levelers, learned to ask of himself and many others during his days as a teenager in junior achievement.
“If you ask that question and you say what would that be? What would my passion be? How might i accomplish something? That’s where you start and Junior Achievement helps nurture that type of thought and those thoughts are powerful,” said Greenawalt.
He started Junior Achievement when he was a ninth grader at Hempstead High School in Dubuque, Iowa.
“The program was a little different back then. What they did is they had an after school program where they taught the students actually how a company worked,” said Greenawalt.
His group specifically was tasked with selling stock for a dollar a share.
“So naturally you talked to Mom and Dad and anybody else that would buy one,” said Greenawalt.
He goes on to say, “You would sell stock and after you raised the money and the capital then you had a meeting. You decided your product and you elected officers and you put together a sales plan. You did everything a real business does. Then you went out and you sold it and you manufactured it. You did all the things businesses have to do to make a profit. At the end of the year you liquidated it. You sold everything out and you went back to your shareholder and you said you know what? You made a 25 percent return on your money or how ever you did.”
Those lessons are what Greenawalt said led him to be as successful as he is today.
Through Foot Levelers, Greenawalt has helped revolutionize the way chiropractors treat patients.
He’s developed and patented many healthcare products and when asked if he uses those techniques from so long ago today, his answer is simple.
“Everyday, to think back, then we went door to door selling these products and so you really learned about rejection. Not that we want to become experts in rejection, but let’s face it not everybody says yes to whatever you have in your life,” said Greenawalt. Adding, “You learn to just keep going because you learned that if you just kept working at it you’d get enough yes’s and it would workout. I do that everyday.”
JA has evolved and changed since his time in the program.
It now happens during school hours for 45 minutes a week, once a week.
Understanding the importance of the program, Greenawalt urges business owners and corporate leaders to get on board with the program.
He asked, “You’ve got a company and you’ve got people there that you’ve selected and that you have mentored why don’t you let those people mentor a child or a young adult. Life is all about mentoring. How can you learn from someone else as a business owner or corporate leader? You selected these people and trained them in your organization, why not train the next generation of leaders? Why not get the youth involved and have the benefit of your wisdom?”
In November, Greenawalt was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.
That night he said he was so moved by the students he saw at the ceremony, he decided he would match any gift to the organization that week up to $50,000.
If you’d like to read the full story of Kent Greenawalt’s family and life, click here