40 Under 40 The Class of 2010

Amanda Huston

Amanda Huston: 29

Vice President of Operations,
Junior Achievement of Western Mass.

Amanda Huston is a public face of Junior Achievement of Western Mass., often visible at civic events, raising the profile of the organization that educates young people about business.

“My background is in accounting, and I do their accounting work,” she said. “But I also run special events. We have one of the finest golf tournaments in the Valley, a bowlathon, and our signature event, the stock-market challenge.”

The latter event is the largest of its kind in North America, in which more than 500 high-school students compete in teams to see who can most successfully invest $500,000.

“I love the mission of educating students on entrepreneurship and financial literacy,” said Huston, who also operates her own tax business, Back Office. “I realize the necessity of understanding finances and taxes and how it all affects their life.”

And she knows she’s making a difference. As an adjunct professor of Accounting at Elms College, “I had a student come to me and say, ‘I remember you; three years ago you told me about Roth IRAs. I wanted you to know I opened one up.’ You can impact students in so many different ways.

“From Junior Achievement, I see how students need financial education,” she added, “and from the tax side, I see how adults need a better understanding of their own personal finance.”

Huston is also active in many community organizations, including various chambers of commerce, the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, and various boards at the Elms and Springfield’s Sci-Tech High School. And she makes time for sports, too — basketball, softball, spinning, and a recent addition, golf.

“I’ve hosted the golf tournament for a few years, and a lot of board members asked me to play,” she said. “I finally joined a tournament last year, and since then, my golf schedule has been booked. I’m getting better … at least somewhat competitive.”

Proving that even someone with a lot to teach doesn’t have to stop learning. —Joseph Bednar