Trendsetter to Know: Sam Alpert, Chief Development Officer at Junior Achievement of Arizona

Name: Sam Alpert

Website: jaaz.org

Age: 43 (all of a sudden)

Title: Daddy and Chief Development Officer at JA 

Married/Single: Married

Kids: 2 daughters

City you live in: Phoenix

A typical day in my life includes… just being grateful that I am alive, feel healthy, and have a beautiful family. I feel like I have been very lucky in my life. 

I was born… on June 11. I share my birthday with one of my daughters, which means I no longer have a birthday. Which means I don’t get older. We have three Geminis in the house. Not sure if that is good or bad. But we get along…I think. 

My favorite thing about Arizona… memories of my childhood…running down the alleys, riding our bikes to Circle K, the smell of cut grass in the summers, dunk hoops. And the beautiful environment – sunsets, the cacti, mountains. And our food scene keeps getting better and better.

I’m listening to… other than my kids saying “daddy, daddy, daddy” every three seconds…all kinds of music…90’s alternative, reggae, emo, hip hop, jam bands. I really enjoy live music and music festivals. I’ll go see anything. I love the feel of being in a crowd listening to music. 

My family… a mix of Eastern European Jewish, Scottish, Irish, Colombian

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… Roger Federer, MLK, or the person who invented Sriracha. 

One thing I cannot live without… coffee, exercise, travel, peanut butter.

When I was younger, I wanted to be… an inventor. I invented a way to put your clothes on without your hands. Maybe I should re-visit that idea. 

I’m inspired by… my wife and kids. And people who excel at what they do…and are nice to others. 

The one person who motivates me is… my wife, of course. Love you, honey.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… bringing people out of poverty.

The perfect day would be… coffee, exercise, travel, peanut butter.

My first job was… selling shoes at Just For Feet…mostly the ’95 Air Max and the Nike Air Max Sensation. And Airwalks. I worked 11-hour shifts as a 16-year-old and was only allowed a 30-minute break. Not sure if that was legal? But I maximized every break by eating 8 tacos from Pancho’s. Pretty sure I ate that every day. That’s really my favorite memory from working there. And, Just For Feet used to have a special promotion where they would sell shoes at a heavy discount from midnight until 6am. It didn’t work – they filed bankruptcy many years ago. But I thought the idea was super cool. 

My favorite escape…YouTube clips. My attention span is about 8 minutes. This is what I don’t like about technology – way too much stimulation, so I am no longer able to focus on one thing for too long. But I am addicted. I really want to find a way to live without technology. Maybe I’ll get one of those old rotary phones. Not sure if you can call a Smartphone with those?

My life… is just beginning. That’s the great thing about kids. I get to live a new life through them.

I’m currently working on… parenting…not sure how to do it. My kids don’t listen to me. But yet they need me all the time. This is where I really appreciate technology. 

Always… help others. And be nice to others. And be respectful. 

Never… say never?

Favorite Quote… not sure, but this is my favorite poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken

Biggest Dream… to give my kids a good, fun, adventurous life. And go to Wimbledon and Australian Open, so I can round out my goal of seeing all 4 tennis majors. And to just be happy. Everyone wants to be happy. 

My Pet Peeve(s)… people who think they are better than others. 

Bio-on yourself/company: My original plan was to go into the Peace Corps, but I ended up in the advertising and public relations world for 11 years where I owned my own agency for a good chunk of that time.  I loved being an entrepreneur. It led me to Junior Achievement – an organization whose DNA has focused on entrepreneurship education for kids, for more than 100 years. I’ve been with the organization for 9 years, and I get the opportunity to help fuel our impact on kids’ futures by finding donors who are passionate about helping them succeed in work and life. I feel an obligation to help kids – especially those coming from tougher backgrounds.  

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