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Meet Jeff

Jeff Johnson is President of Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan., and has been a loyal supporter of YE for nearly 20 years. “I’m really impressed with the YE team and their vision, and how they’re solely focused on helping kids with a hand-up instead of a handout.” Meet Jeff.

His career path: Jeff graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a degree in business administration. Following graduation, he embarked on a summer study of the Japanese language at Middlebury College in Vermont. He then began working with Jamie Coulter, who he refers to as “one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs,” and from whom he learned everything he could about business over the next eight years. He then spent five years as a financial advisor and by 2002, began serving in his current role at the Flint Hills National Golf Club. Along with several business partners, Jeff also owns a few Jimmy John’s locations and the River City Brewery in Wichita, Kan. He’s also honored to serve on several boards of directors, including Capitol Federal Bank in Topeka, Kan.

His family: Jeff and his wife, Corey, have three children who are middle and high-school age; Eley, Price and Carlyle. “My wife is smarter and more talented than me and stays really busy as a homemaker. She has a degree in accounting and a master’s in health administration. We attend Life Church and our kids are all involved in Young Life. We love to travel, the kids have a lot of sports, but the most important thing is time with family.”

His YE connection: About 20 years ago, Jeff was invited to serve on a planning committee for what has become YE’s biannual fundraising event, Biz Bang. “I was so impressed with everyone involved, so impressed with their mission, so impressed with the Kochs and how they embraced it. At that time I was drinking from the entrepreneurial firehose so I really liked everything YE was trying to do. Ever since then I’ve served on their advisory boards and helped with events.”

What entrepreneurship means to him: “It means owning your future and using the tools you’ve created or been provided to find your way, to think creatively, and to be accountable for your own success and failures. To create value, whether it’s goods or services or something else. To own your own fate. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone and doing a job clocking in and out, but you can still take ownership and be accountable.”

A highlight of his YE involvement: “First, we really have been blessed with the wonderful success of our big event, Biz Bang. The energy of that night and the energy of the community raising money to help YE gives me goosebumps. Second, I’ve been involved around 20 years, and I’ve watched young entrepreneurs who were in the program in high school who now own businesses in Wichita and are giving back by serving on the advisory board for YE or donating. That’s amazing to see.”

His hope for YE: “If I had a message for anyone it would be to get involved, give your time, talents, treasures. It doesn’t have to be money, you can volunteer. You can find a way to pay it forward. Giving back is so important in our community and in every community. No matter your age, find a way to get involved and help others.”

YE is funded solely by the individuals, foundations and corporations who make up our list of generous donors. Learn more about the impact Youth Entrepreneurs is making on our blog. Youth Entrepreneurs offers an innovative and interactive curriculum for classrooms across the nation.