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Two circular photos on the left side of the image. One features Shawn, a KEYS facilitator, presenting to attendees. The other has a group posing in front of a Junior Achievement banner. Pictured from left to right are Emma, Rick, Rafael, Jason, Samantha, Erik, Marla and Shawn.  	On the right side, the KEYS logo is positioned above the words, "KEYS Kicks Off Relationship with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan."

KEYS Presents at Junior Achievement Financial Literacy Event

KEYS by GM Financial traveled to Detroit, Michigan, to participate in a financial literacy event hosted by Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. The first event of its kind for ages 18-25, Junior Achievement (JA) welcomed a crowd of 60 young adults eager to learn about healthy financial habits through a series of presentations.

JA is the nation’s largest financial literacy organization benefiting today’s youth. The organization shares a similar mission to KEYS – providing young people with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a global economy. Marcell Copeland, Program Manager for JA of Southeastern Michigan, reflected on the impact of JA on the community and himself.

“We often hear, ‘I wish we had this available to us growing up,’ and, ‘I need this information for myself,'" he said. “Offering our programs to those navigating adulthood in the 18-25 demographic allows us to empower young adults with tools and resources to lead a successful life.”

JA’s influence spans beyond the classroom, though. Its work has left a lasting impact, allowing larger communities to come together in support of a common goal. This event, which covered smart financial decision-making, is just one example of how JA is working to bridge the gap in financial literacy beyond K-12. Marcell described the value of these lessons in his own life.

“It wasn’t until I joined Junior Achievement that I really started to understand the importance of good financial habits and how it could change the trajectory of a person’s life,” he said.

KEYS was one of five groups to present, leading a discussion on its car buying and leasing curriculum. As the primary facilitator, Customer Experience Strategic Initiatives Specialist Shawn Medford highlighted different options for car ownership and how to confidently navigate financing a vehicle. Shawn was joined by Marla Smith-McCoy, Assistant Vice President Customer Experience Strategic Initiatives, who touched on what it means to deliver live presentations of the KEYS curriculum.

“There’s something so fulfilling about getting the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations about financial literacy,” she said. “Seeing how engaged and excited young adults are to learn reminds me why we do what we do, and participating in an event with a group like JA takes our work to the next level.”

Presentations weren’t the only experience participants had at the event, though. Hosted near the GM headquarters, it was important to accompany KEYS’ presentation with a tangible experience for attendees. In collaboration with local dealers, the Buick Envista and Chevrolet Trax were showcased on-site, giving attendees the opportunity to envision themselves firsthand in the driver’s seat.

Vice Presidents of Business Operations Josh Blevins (Chevrolet) and Kara Nelson (Buick and GMC) helped in making this collaboration possible. For Josh, it was important to accompany KEYS’ presentation with a tangible experience for attendees.

“Financial literacy doesn’t end with understanding responsible money management,” he said. “It’s about building that knowledge, then putting it to use in an actionable way. Having vehicles on-site allowed attendees to take what they learned from KEYS and see how they can apply it in their own lives. It’s about turning a vision into a real, attainable thing.”

The event garnered attendance from several GM Financial leaders and representatives, including Rafael E. Amoros, President of International Operations; Erik Haven, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer; Samantha McGuire, Assistant Vice President of Finance; Rick Dardenne, Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs; and Emma Seidel, Public Affairs Specialist II.

Rafael, who has been a Board Member for JA since October 2022, is especially passionate about financial literacy.

“My background in finance, combined with GM Financial’s dedication to giving back, has influenced my desire to help younger generations navigate their finances confidently,” he said. “These kids are our future; it’s our responsibility to give them the skills they need to be successful.”

Opportunities such as the collaboration with JA underscore the impact of KEYS’ initiatives to make financial literacy accessible to young adults. Rafael expressed gratitude for this collaboration and excitement as KEYS by GM Financial continues to grow.

“JA has given me a chance to contribute to something larger than myself in my personal life. KEYS allows me to make this happen at work, too,” he said. “I’m proud to support both groups’ efforts to continue empowering and inspiring young people to carve their own paths.”

Kennedy Summers
By Kennedy Summers, GM Financial

Kennedy Summers spends her days championing financial education and sharing her experiences as a host of Our Two Cents, a KEYS by GM Financial podcast. When she's not thinking up the next social post or behind the mic, you can find Kennedy exploring the great outdoors, enjoying some live music or cheering on her alma mater, the Oklahoma Sooners.

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