JA Alumni Story: Mike Prior

Posted in: Alumni Stories

For Priority Financial Group (PFG), giving back to the community isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s personal. The striking example of this commitment is PFG’s deep-seated dedication to Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA), a cause close to CEO Mike Prior’s heart for more reasons than one. Not only does JA empower young people to manage their money, follow their dreams, and succeed in a global economy, but it also helped Prior get his start as a “Junior Achievement kid.”


As a young student, growing up in Phoenix, he was involved in JA programs and these experiences left an indelible mark on him from both a career standpoint and as a business owner. Prior attributes his entrepreneurial passion and desire to start his own Phoenix-based registered investment advisor (RIA) firm through the financial education and business skills he learned through JA.


As a high school freshman, Prior got involved in a JA program, building and selling solar-powered music boxes. Shortly thereafter, he started his first business at age 15 to purchase a car. The thriving business had a loyal following and ultimately employed four people. He sold it his senior year for a profit.


Prior was reacquainted with JA as an executive at American Express. He volunteered to teach a kindergarten class how to build a lemonade stand so they could raise money for a tent. He’s quick to share his favorite learning: “It’s not a good idea to wear a suit and bring powdered donuts to 5-year-olds.”


Over the years, Prior’s been quick to support JA BizTown and the JA Stock Market Challenge, adding, “My wife Janette and I are humbled and honored to contribute to the amazing work Joss (Francheterre, Senior Vice President, Major Gifts) and his team do to inspire kids of all ages to understand the basics of business.”


Prior’s personal connection to JA got a boost recently when he and PFG team members experienced the thrill of the trading floor at the JA Stock Market Challenge. This year’s exhilarating fundraising event took place on October 30th at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley in Scottsdale.


Prior and several members of the PFG team joined other professionals from companies across Arizona to compete for the largest portfolio by the end of trading. During the event, teams are issued $500,000 to buy mock stocks in 30 fictitious companies. Once the opening bell rings, the market opens and every 60 to 90 seconds is a new trading day. Proceeds from the JA Stock Market Challenge make it possible for hundreds of high school students to participate in the virtual JA Student Stock Market Challenge event.


“The JA Stock Market Challenge is fun! It’s accessible to anyone who enjoys the excitement of the stock market and the thrill of helping the JA team expand their mission,” stated Prior.


Just as Junior Achievement has played a pivotal role in shaping Prior’s profession, he has applied many of the same principles he learned from JA to his own firm: Financial literacy, professional development, and leadership training are the cornerstones of PFG. In addition to JA, Prior and his team are actively involved in helping young financial advisors get started in the industry. This includes financial planning programs at universities and a partnership with the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix.


Ramona Maior, PFG’s vice president of relationship management and adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University, recently participated on a panel for Arizona State University’s Financial Planning Student Association. “Empowering future generations with financial knowledge isn’t just a responsibility, it’s a passion that fuels my belief in a world where every young person can dream without limits, set goals without constraints, and see their communities thrive,” said Maior. “Together, we’re shaping a brighter tomorrow, one student at a time.”


Through university programs and Prior’s personal connection to JA as well as the support of PFG team members like Maior, he’s proud to contribute to helping young people get started “the right way on the path toward their own financial independence.” And for those getting started in the profession, Prior adds, “helping others as a quality advisor who provides quality advice.”


Investment advice offered by PFG Advisors. Securities offered through Securities America, Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through Securities America or its licensed affiliates. Priority Financial Group and Securities America are separate entities.


This post was originally shared on Priority Financial Group’s blog.