Be more patient, more humble, and ask others for help.
Aaron C. Lupuloff, the Senior Executive Director of the Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Foundation, is passionate about improving student achievement and creating future leaders of tomorrow.
Overall, the focus of the GCPS Foundation is to ensure student success, fund scholarships, innovate, support teaching and learning, develop leadership, and fully fund it’s forward-thinking programs. According to Lupuloff, the GCPS Foundation “encourages, embraces, educates, excites, emblazons and empowers all of its students and teachers. The Foundation always helps where the need is greatest.” The GCPS Foundation continuously strives to grow as a system of world class schools by embracing its mission and enlisting the support of the Gwinnett community.
Mr. Lupuloff has been a community advocate for a long time. The Norcross-native also helped with the formation of the Norcross High School (NHS) Foundation for Excellence where he held the positions of President, Vice President, and Treasurer. His service to the NHS Foundation also includes work as a booster club officer and member for multiple sports and clubs. The NHS Foundation has been supporting academics, the arts, and athletics as an immediate help to both students and teachers for nearly two decades. In 2011, Mr. Lupuloff and his wife were inducted in the NHS Foundation Hall of Fame.
In addition, Mr. Lupuloff is a founding and past board member of the Georgia Tech Parents Advisory Board. He and his wife also currently serve on the University of Georgia Student Affairs Advisory Board and endow three scholarships to University of Georgia’s Disability Resource Center for Students. They are also active supporters of Partners Against Domestic Violence, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Camp Twin Lakes.
Outside of his commitment to improving the community he serves, Mr. Lupuloff spent more than two decades as Senior Managing Director for Bear Stearns JP Morgan and Managing Director with Raymond James, and most recently growing the fixed income group at Fifth Third. Mr. Lupuloff obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama and has worked in the financial services industry since 1982.
Where did the idea for your organization come from?
I started the Norcoss High School Foundation and saw what an immediate help it was to both students and teachers. It made me believe that with the GCPS Foundation we could help Gwinnett’s 180,000+ students if we just rolled up our sleeves and went to work.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Everyday at the GCPS Foundation we work to improve student achievement, fund scholarships, innovate, support teaching and learning, develop leadership, and make sure all of Gwinnett County schools forward-thinking programs are fully funded. We encourage, embrace, educate, excite, emblazon and empower all of our students and teachers. We always help where the need is greatest. We know that for GCPS to continue to grow as a system of world class schools, it needs the financial help of the GCPS Foundation, and that is all the motivation I need to be productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Our small team has weekly “whiteboard sessions” for brainstorming.
In addition, we have a board of over 25 community activists from all walks of life that we stay in touch with to get their invaluable insight, thoughts, and wisdom.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In the education industry, individuals are finally realizing that if you focus on your most challenging students first, learning bubbles up and everyone will me more successful.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Asking everyone in my community for their opinion, not just the “wealthy” individuals who can make a donation.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more patient, more humble, and ask others for help.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Don’t be afraid to fail and fail often!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Communicate, communicate, communicate…
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When you are asking for money, explain where it goes. This way, an individual, corporation, foundation, grantor will want to take ownership. They will know where their gift is going, including our past projects like funding scholarships for students that want to go to a HBC (historically black college), paying for SAT and ACT tests for children that can’t afford them, paying for leadership conferences for teachers, and paying for a robotics competition.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I invested in real estate during the 2007 bubble. I was patient with my investment and literally waited until late 2017 to sell it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Raise money to become an angel investor for middle school and high school students. Advertise that you have a fund and seek out individuals who have ideas but no capital. Essentially, Shark Tank for 12-18-year-olds.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A $500 donation to my daughter Saturday evening that was matched dollar for dollar. I encourage everyone to Google Erika Lupuloff and check out her work. She is on the board at Georgia Tech’s “For The Kids,” and they recently held their charity dance marathon, an event that raised over $322,000 for the Sibley Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital (CHOA).
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I subscribe to Bloomberg. I use it to stay in touch with my Wall Street friends and hence, it is also a great resource for me to raise money!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Change Agent by Damon West. It truly shows you that no matter where you are, you can change your life and make a positive impact in other people’s lives.
What is your favorite quote(s)?
1. “The time is always right to do what is right,” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. From my mom: “G-d helps those who help themselves.”
• This interview reminded me how fortunate I am to have the ability to help others.
• It reminded me that our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so do what you can to put them in a position to succeed.
• There truly are resources to help others. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box to tap into those resources.
• It reminded me to ask others for help, advice, wisdom, insight and stay humble.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.