Following a nationwide search for its next president, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana found their answer close to home. Jennifer Helgeson, who has served as President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana since 2010, is JA’s new leader.
“We were prepared to look as far and wide as necessary to find the right person to build on the tremendous momentum at Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana,” said JA board chair Chris Brooker. “We’re thrilled that Jennifer already knows this community so well and brings decades of experience serving the young people of this region.”
During her time leading the Boys & Girls Clubs, Helgeson helped that organization more than double both their budget and the number of children served. She led the effort to open the Newburg and Parkland Boys & Girls Clubs as well as several school site-based clubs including Bullitt Lick Middle School, Charlestown Middle School, Clarksville Middle School, Frost Stuart Middle School, Semple Elementary, and W.E.B. DuBois Academy.
Prior to her work with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Helgeson served as Director of Operations for St. Joseph Children’s Home where she helped build the Therapeutic Foster and Adoption Program. The organization received the National Congressional Angels in Adoption Award under her leadership.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to continue my passion around serving young people and families,” said Helgeson. “I’ve always had a great respect and admiration for Junior Achievement and all that the organization does. Their mission has never been more important as we prepare the young people of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Helgeson holds a Master of Science degree in social work from the University of Louisville and has completed a number of professional leadership programs at the local, regional, and national levels.
In her new role at JA, Helgeson will succeed Debra Hoffer, who announced her retirement in August. “Debra is leaving the organization in such a strong position,” Helgeson said. “I hope to continue building and moving JA forward to carry out the vision Debra worked so hard to create for the community.”