AutoZone CFO says his start in Peoria Public Schools set him on the road to success
Jamere Jackson says Peoria Public Schools gave him the foundation he needed to succeed in the business world.
"The combination of a great educational background, (and) a work ethic that was instilled in me by my parents, afforded me some really wonderful opportunities, and I'm really appreciative," Jackson said.
Jackson, a Peoria native and Manual High School graduate, is currently the chief financial officer for AutoZone. He is the first African-American to serve in that role. He previously worked for Procter & Gamble, Nielsen, and Hertz.
Jackson was also the keynote speaker at Thursday's Peoria Public Schools Foundation 7th Annual 365 Breakfast.
He said he was fortunate to find caring people like his high school basketball coach, counselor, Spanish teacher, English teacher, and debate coach to help set him and other students on the right path in Peoria.
"There are tremendous role models. You know, I personally know CEOs, CFOs professional athletes, actors and actresses, musicians, people from all walks of life, and they all got their start here in Peoria as part of the Peoria Public Schools," Jackson said. "And so, you know, what I want students in this school system to know and understand is that there are caring individuals who are willing to pour into them and give them opportunities."
Jackson said for students who work hard and avoid making excuses for their circumstances, success can be achieved.
"Success isn't always about, you know, climbing the corporate ladder or being at the top of the class, but success is about being the best person that you can possibly be," he said. And students in this in this school system certainly have those opportunities afforded to them."
Jackson said he gives back to the community through the African American Hall of Fame, Peoria Park District programs, the school district's "Grow Your Own" program, and through the PPS Foundation.