Internships: A Glimpse of Your Future
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Internships: A Glimpse of Your Future

By Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice-President of Membership

Confused. Lost. Frustrated. Feelings shared by high schoolers around the country. It is easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the future. There’s this expectation that high schoolers need to know what they want to study and do before they graduate, yet for many, this isn’t the case.

Internships allow you to experience different fields and careers without the weight of an actual job. They can narrow down your interests by helping you see if a certain path for you is fulfilling, or a mistake you would dread. They allow high school students to gain an increased understanding of the expectations in a professional workplace. Previous real-world job experiences can also provide a competitive edge when it comes to applying for college or jobs.  Through high school internships, students gain experience, make lasting professional connections, and even learn about themselves along the way.

The hardest part of an internship is getting your foot in the door. Most companies are open to the idea of hiring and paying high schoolers to do real work. Many also have policies preventing them from hiring people under the age of 18. Here are some tips to help:

1.      Be proactive

It is up to YOU to go look for opportunities. Businesses aren’t lining up to hire kids that are still in, or newly out of high school. You have to go out and contact places you are interested in learning about. Many times, you are applying or looking for positions that don’t yet exist. It is YOUR responsibility to create them.

This can be as simple as sending an email. The spring of my junior year, I reached out to as many local start-ups around me as I could, simply stating that I was a high schooler interested in learning more about the workplace in a business setting and would be willing to work as an unpaid intern. Luckily, I happen in live very close to two major hubs in Michigan for start-ups: Ann Arbor and Detroit. Even then, most places never contacted me back. The start-up I ended up working for typically only hired college students and had never had a high school intern. I was later told that I was the only high schooler they had ever had reach out to them, which allowed me to stand out amongst the piles of applicants. Take advantage this!!!

2.      Leverage your connections

Use every resource available. This includes the personal and professional connections you’ve already established. Personal connections are a great source for internship opportunities, and chances are you have a wider network than you realize.

Be open about your search for an internship in certain fields and reach out to people who might be able to help. This includes mentors, coaches, parents, friends, and more. You never know when someone will reveal that their uncle’s second cousin is married to someone who currently needs a personal assistant in his or her law office. Reach out to anyone you already know that is working in a field related to your interests. Start asking several months before you hope to start, since it will take some time to do research, follow leads, and arrange interviews. Several of my friends were able to intern at the Ford Motor Company this past summer alongside actually engineers. By reaching out to family and friends, they created real-life opportunities and positions for themselves that didn’t yet exist.

3.      Specify what you’re looking for

Know what you want to get out of the experience. Be upfront about this so you get the most out of your time at your internship. This also eases the process of searching. Is there a certain environment you are looking for? A corporate environment is going to range heavily from one of a start-up or local business. Are there certain hours you are willing to work or are best for you?  Consider all of these options before starting the process.

4.      Be professional and prepared

Make a resume. Created a LinkedIn. Show up to your interview in business formal, regardless of the attire of the workplace. Research the business and craft insightful questions to demonstrate interest.

 

Best of luck my friends.

Maurice S. Henderson
SLC Thursday Night Event: Glow in the Dark Karaoke
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Have a secret talent of singing? Want to Snapchat your friends singing on-stage? Wait no more—the Thursday night activity for this year, “Glow-in-the-Dark Karaoke,” invites every one of you to have a phenomenal kick-start of the array of excitements to come at the 2019 state leadership conference. Taking place from 8:00 to 9:30 PM on March 14, 2019, Glow-in-the-Dark Karaoke is a singing contest that involves a dark room, a sea of neon colors, and musical talents never to be seen in a parliamentary procedure testing room. To sign up to sing alone or with a friend, visit bit.ly/BPAglow. For more information, read the Glow-in-the-Dark Karaoke Rules and Guidelines or e-mail president@michiganbpa.org.

Maurice S. Henderson
Expand Your Leadership: Become a State Officer
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Expand Your Leadership: Become a State Officer

By Noah Cox, Executive Vice-President

 We have reached a point where everyone has selected their BPA event and are most likely preparing for your local RLC (Regional Leadership Conference). However, some of you may be considering running for the state executive council next March as well. While serving on a state officer team can be an amazing experience, it’s important you understand the following commitments before you make the decision to run.

 The work you do as a state officer is broken down into a few categories: General work (things all members of the state executive council complete), committee work (work assigned to you based on the committees you’re assigned), and role responsibilities (work you’d do that is specific to the role you have on the state executive council).

 The largest component you’d probably have is your general workload. With this, this includes monthly reports where you journal what you have done in BPA over the past month (these are always due on the 1st of the month NO LATER!). You will attend quarterly state officer meetings (these are trips you make once a season to Lansing where you spend the weekend working on your SEC commitments). In addition, you will complete two chapter visits throughout your term where you visit chapters and give presentations related to BPA and you will attend two regional leadership conferences where you help judge events, pass out awards and do general volunteering. Of course, one of the major responsibilities of being a state officer includes planning the state leadership conference. This may seem like a lot, but trust me it’s not that bad. These are spread out throughout the year and make the workload each week very manageable.

 Additionally, you’ll have commitments related to the committees you been placed on throughout the year. For myself I’m on the opportunities and service committees. On the service committee we work on planning the state service project which this year included calling partner companies like Wreaths Across America and setting up care package supply drop off locations at the regional leadership conferences. Additionally, I’m on the opportunities committee which focuses on providing business enrichment opportunities and financial aid to our BPA members at the state conference. This committee’s work has included calling companies to look for sponsorships for Michigan BPA and calling universities and companies to provide internship and business camp opportunities to the Michigan BPA members.

 Finally, the last major responsibility related to serving on the team is the responsibilities you’ll have related to serving your role. Each role has its own unique responsibilities and since you can’t pick a specific position when you run, you have to consider all role related responsibilities. First off there’s the president. He/she is responsible for helping to oversee committee work, running the official business meetings and assign jobs related to the SEC. The secretary/treasurer is responsible for taking the minutes of the meetings, providing an updated treasurer’s report and the membership report at the annual business meeting at the state leadership conference. The historian is responsible for monitoring media related work for the Michigan BPA. Basically, this means that they work on the annual yearbook, assign articles, provide the historian’s report at the quarterly business meetings, and coordinate social media posts. Finally, there’s the parliamentarian. While they don’t have any formal documents they need to prepare, they are responsible for advising the president on any parliamentary procedure questions. This means the person in this role should have a decent amount of knowledge of parliamentary procedure before becoming the parliamentarian.

 This may sound like a lot, but I assure you it’s really not that bad. I put in about 4-6 hours a week usually for the work I do with the state executive council and some weeks it’s less. But most important of all you get an unbelievable experience meeting people you’d never get to see if you haven’t done this, forge long term friendships, and get experiences that set you up for success for the rest of your life. BPA’s tagline is “Today’s students. Tomorrow’s business professionals.” If you choose to run for the State Executive Council, I can guarantee you are on the right track to achieve that.

           

Maurice S. Henderson
An Alumni Spotlight: Matt Leddy
Randall Madison

Randall Madison

Matt Leddy

Matt Leddy

An Alumni Spotlight: Matt Leddy

By Randall Madison State Historian

Matt Leddy is a former graduate of Swan Valley High School and Eastern Michigan University.  He is 23 years old and he works as a Dealer Services Analyst at Ford Credit in Nashville, TN.

He has been actively involved in BPA at all levels. Last year, he was the 2018 National BPA Emerging Professional of the Year. In Michigan BPA, he served as the 2012-2013 State Secretary-Treasurer and served as an Administrative Assistant for the State Office from 2013-2017. He is now serving as the Michigan BPA Torch Awards Coordinator. We asked Matt some questions about himself so everyone in Michigan BPA could get to know him.

Fun Facts:

Favorite Food: Chicken Wings

Hobbies: Traveling, watching football, reading

Passions: Education

Biggest Fear: Heights

BPA Experiences:

How many years have you been involved in BPA and what first got you interested?

I have been involved for BPA for eight years. I joined BPA because my older sister was in BPA and I saw how excited she was when she came back with awards from the SLC. I knew it could bring me great opportunities if I worked at it.

 Since you were on the State Executive Council, what made you decide to run for SEC?

It had been a while since Swan Valley had a representative on the board and I thought I’d be a good fit. I wanted to do as much as I could in BPA and thought that running for the SEC would bring me the most out of the organization. Sure enough, it did.

 What was it like starting a new BPA chapter at Eastern Michigan University?

It was a strenuous task but well worth it. There’s a lot of work that goes into starting a student organization. In our inaugural year we had 11 members and brought 10 to the NLC.

 What led you to work for the state office now?

Mr. Henderson had offered me the job at the end of my SEC term knowing that I was going to EMU. It was a fun job working directly for my mentor. I truly believe I have seen every side of this organization as a student member, member of the SEC, and administrative assistant.

 What has BPA taught you?

BPA has taught me to keep your door open to opportunities. When someone asks you to do something, you do it to the best of your ability.

 What is your favorite BPA memory?

There’s so many to choose from. I really enjoy engaging with students presenting Legacy Launchers at the SLC. I’m most grateful for the emerging professional of the year award. I enjoyed my time in Chicago and Orlando as a HS student at the NLC, Anaheim as an employee, and Boston as a college student.

 Lastly, what do you think is important for future business professional to know?

It’s important to understand that you might not see a reward in what you’re doing. Sometimes it takes time for results to flourish, but in the end, if you put in the hard work, the results will follow. My favorite quote to live by is: “Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.”

Maurice S. Henderson
PostSecondary BPA
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Postsecondary BPA

by Nolan Greisinger, Vice-President of Leadership Development

As many teenagers make their transformation from high school to college, times can be scary. Students may feel a burst of confusion, and wonder where our adolescence went. When the time comes, students may look around their campus for comfort. That is where postsecondary chapters could come in and play a key role. It allows for those who participated in high school to still have the opportunity to participate and continue their skills at the college level.

Students that may not have competed at the high school level can still join at the postsecondary institutions. Starting something new allows for those to step out of their comfort zone while also expanding their resumes, skills and their network.  By being involved in extracurricular activities in college such as BPA, it allows for you to gain real life experience, build connections and thrive. Having that work experience proves to the professional world that you have a strong work ethic, and can achieve just what they are looking for. Most importantly, it shows that as a full time student, you also have the capability to flourish in other things as well. Balancing an education while expanding your knowledge to further yourself shows the passion and drive that these young professionals have. It attributes to much more than one may think, it proves that you can achieve more than one task at a time, and that’s what people are looking for in today’s world.

Postsecondary Business Professionals of America is very similar to the BPA that high school students are used to. These business professionals still compete in many of the same events, travel to a state and even the national leadership conferences.  A list of events that differ from the events students may be used to can be found at bpa.org. At this moment in time the Michigan Association has an exceptionally strong postsecondary division. With a total 10 chapters throughout the entire state, we have a strong presence at the national leadership conference each year. These 10 schools are, Alma College, Bay College/LSSU Regional Center Escanaba, Central Michigan University, Davenport University, Eastern Michigan University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Mid-Michigan Community College, Montcalm Community College and Northwood University. These colleges and universities have become the future of Business Professionals of America. As the great lakes state we are proud to range from middle level, all the way up to the collegiate level. Each year it is our goal to increase membership; competing in college does just that. Building and expanding our organization to depths we never thought possible defines our mission statement. BPA is seeking to grow and with your own curiosity, it can.

Now, you may be curious as to how you can get involved in a postsecondary chapter. If your secondary school has a chapter already established the first step will be to get in touch with an advisor, and members that are actively involved already. You will then need to pay the preliminary membership dues in order to remain as a National BPA chapter. If you are curious about starting a new chapter, the first step will be to download the local chapter handbook, if you are a new chapter, fill out a new chapter application and review the new advisor training presentation in PDF format. If you have any questions or concerns you can reach out to the state director, or visit the Michigan or National BPA website under the “How To Start a New Chapter” section. We ensure that whether you are a current chapter, or starting a brand new one, BPA will be there to guide, support and help your students thrive in not only the business world, but in your own world. It will teach you the necessary skills to further advance them on their path to success.

Michigan college level students had over 140 students compete at the 2018 state leadership conference, representing 7 postsecondary chapters. Those in attendance competed in 50 different Workplace Skills Assessment Program events. BPA is looking to build upon that each year and with the help of you and those around you can accomplish that and much more throughout the up and coming years.

For those who are making the transition from high school to college, do not forget to join extra-curricular activities to enhance the culture around you. Be the one to make a name for yourself, compete in competitive events and network like no other. Buckle down, find your niche and grow as a business professional here in BPA. Let the postsecondary division take you to new heights and new places while allowing you to remember where you once came from. BPA is here to take you through college and help you find the passion you have been searching for. There are many reasons as to why join a postsecondary chapter, so what is holding you back?

Maurice S. Henderson
Torch Awards Program
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Torch Awards Program

by Nathan Lee, State President

Differentiate. You probably hear this word often in today’s society—whether it be companies trying to make their products unique or job-seekers trying to set themselves apart from hundreds of applicants. As students grow into adults, differentiation is critical for success. An early start on developing your brand can bring large advantages later on, and being involved with Business Professionals of America definitely sets you apart from others. However, there are still a multitude of students involved with BPA and other CTSOs. Now, what else can you do to differentiate yourself even more?

The theoretically perfect answer to this stress-inducing dilemma is to simply do more. However, most people struggle to translate this simple solution into action. They usually think too broadly and fail to recognize the smaller steps they ought to take. So, let’s minimize our situation to find the most accessible things we can do within our boundaries—which leads us to the Torch Awards Program.

The Torch Awards Program is designed to promote the well-roundedness of BPA members. By participating in the Torch Awards Program, you can not only get recognized at the Regional, State, and National Leadership Conference, but you can also differentiate yourself from thousands of other candidates who are applying to colleges and internships. The benefits you can attain from this program significantly outweigh the price you would be paying—literally and figuratively. On top of Torch Awards being completely free, you can earn a well-recognized State or National award for putting in only a couple hours of work to your Torch resume. Having this extra achievement adds on to your overall brand, and by completion, you will have already differentiated yourself from those who chose not to participate.

So how does the Torch Awards Program work, then? Torch operates through an online portal (http://www.bpa.org/service/torchsystem). After logging into the website using your BPA ID and password, participants click “add activity.” This leads them to a link where they can input experiences that pertain to one of the seven categories: leadership, service, cooperation, knowledge, friendship, patriotism, and love, faith, hope. Inputted activities of either 5, 10, 15, or 20 points will show up in a compilation called the Torch resume. BPA members can apply for Executive, Diplomat, Statesman, and Ambassador Torch Awards, which require 10, 30, 50, and 70 points respectively for each of the seven categories. Although this may sound time consuming, in reality, it is not. Because the deadlines for each Torch award submission is spaced out over the span of six months (November to April), participants will get a chance to go back to finish the resume as the year progresses. Also, the descriptions for each activity do not need to be five paragraph essays. For Torch graders are only looking for a proof that the participant completed the inputted activities, descriptions for each can be as short and concise as one or two sentences. If there is an image to be supplemented for the activity, it is always highly encouraged that participants add them. It is beneficial to keep in mind that people grading the Torch resumes are trying to understand whether the applicants deserve the award. Therefore, it is critical to have proper grammar, have proper spelling, and be truthful when filling out the resume.

Receiving Torch Awards is not difficult. The program is designed so that BPA members can take advantage of their prior experiences and expand their comfort zones through trying out new activities to log into their Torch resume. The most challenging part of Torch is taking the very first step. Therefore, when the school year starts, log into your Torch account. Once you get started, you will be well-off to differentiate yourself—to become a true business professional.

Maurice S. Henderson
BPA Spotlight: Monique Callahan-Jackson
Turner Halle

Turner Halle

BPA Spotlight: Monique Callahan-Jackson

by Turner Halle, Vice-President of Communications

 It can be definitively said that the State Executive Council would not be whole without Monique Callahan-Jackson, the State Officer Coordinator. Aside from updating scripts for conferences communicating with state officers, Monique is in many ways, the heart of the SEC. Whether making jokes or pushing officers to achieve, she is always a valuable asset to the team. She is an awesome and universally liked individual that we would love for you to learn more about. So, enjoy the BPA Spotlight of Monique Callahan-Jackson!

Monique Callahan-Jackson

Monique Callahan-Jackson

She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and attended the High School of Commerce, a business high school located in Detroit. Later, she earned a degree in Computer Information Systems and a Master's in Human Resources. Currently, she is married with two children. Her husband joins her each year at the state conference to volunteer.

Monique also has a strong history within Michigan BPA. She first joined BPA due to her plans to become an accountant. From there, she rose to serve the great state of Michigan as Secondary Level President.

Currently, she serves Michigan BPA as the State Officer Coordinator. She describes her work responsibilities as “to guide the state officers throughout their term into making decisions that will impact the Michigan membership in a positive manner.” In addition to this, she also communicates with local chapters, ensuring information is shared with the members. She says her most memorable moment from her time in the position was “a couple of years ago when the state officer team took charge and accomplished every goal they set in the Program of Work. It made me so proud!”

Besides her work, Monique is also highly dedicated to her family. She loves to spend spare time with and be around them. This year, the Callahan family visited a couple of different areas in Michigan and explored Boyne Mountain and Traverse City.

Some fun facts about her are: Her bucket list includes to one day stay in an underwater hotel. And if there was one super power, she could have it would be to read minds. 

We hoped you enjoyed learning about a member of the MIBPA family. Monique is an awesome person that, just from this article, you have probably already began to like. If you ever see her at a Leadership Conference or other BPA event, make sure you ask her if she’s made it to that underwater hotel!

Maurice S. Henderson
An Alumni Spotlight: Jon Perrault
Sunjuna Chalasani

Sunjuna Chalasani

An Alumni Spotlight: Jon Perrault

by Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice-President of Membership

Here’s a look at a recent past national and state officer who hasn’t stopped giving time to Business Professionals of America. We are grateful to have alumni like Jon.

Jon Perrault

Jon Perrault

Name: Jon Perrault

Age: 20

Occupation: Student at Northwood University majoring in Management with a minor in Advertising Marketing

Role(s) within Michigan BPA: Served as local chapter President at Escanaba High School, served as State Secretary/Treasurer on the SEC, and served as the National Secondary Vice-President of Business Professionals of America. Now I serve as the chapter President for the Northwood University chapter and am also the volunteer Social Media Coordinator for Michigan BPA.

FUN FACTS

Favorite Food: Macaroni and Cheese

Hobbies: Working with my business, Plus Promos, and hanging out with my friends

Passions: Entrepreneurship, event planning, and Apple products

Ideal Vacation: A 2-week cruise to Europe

BPA EXPERIENCES

How many years have you been involved in BPA and what first got you interested?

I have been involved in BPA for 6 years. I became interested in BPA because I have a love and passion for business and entrepreneurship. BPA provided me with a way to showcase my skills, network with other students, and grow as a professional.

You were on both state and national board for BPA. What lead you to run for both? How did those experiences vary?

I love the organization and what it did for me. By running for state and national boards, I got to share the excitement with students across the state and country. Both experiences are very similar in that you prepare a Program of Work with goals and tasks to complete during the year and in the end, you ultimately prepare to celebrate student achievement with a conference. The main difference is with your team members. On the state level, you tend to have a closer team because you meet in-person several times throughout the year. On the national level, your team members are from every corner of the country, so you only meet them in person about three times.

You are currently studying business at Northwood. How did your experiences from BPA aid in how you approached college?

BPA gave me a plethora of leadership tools that have helped me in my college career. I have been able to use my skills from BPA to get an internship, join many organizations, and get several on-campus jobs.

What led you to work for the state office now?

Mr. Henderson had asked me to take over this position last year at the 2018 National Leadership Conference. I was more than happy to accept the position and am looking forward to creating dynamic social media content to share BPA’s awesome message with the world.

What is your favorite thing(s) about BPA?

I love the BPA conferences! Even as an alumni of Michigan BPA, I still get the same excitement that I did the first time that I attended way back in the day!

What is your favorite BPA memory?

My favorite BPA memory was being elected to the National Officer Team. All of my hard work with the organization was worth it at that very point.

Lastly, what do you think is important for future business professional to know?

Life is not easy by any means. Know that each day is a new one, so go in with a positive attitude and a smile and make it the best day ever.

Maurice S. Henderson
How to Prepare for the Regional Leadership Conference
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How to Prepare for the Regional Leadership Conference

by Apoorva Dayananda, State Secretary/Treasurer

We have all been there, waiting anxiously outside the test room for your chance to go in; your palms start to become wet with sweat as your leg shakes with nervousness. Finally, your number gets called and you proceed into your room, ready to start your test or presentation. The Regional Leadership Conference is the first step on your way to Nationals. There, you will showcase everything you have prepared for your competition in the past couple of months, ranging from tests to presentations. However, before the Regional Leadership Conferences begin, there are steps you will need to take.

You’ve already picked your events and presubmitted your competitions (if necessary). Now that that all has been handled, here are some actions that you will want to take to give you the edge over your opponents. First, read and reread your event guidelines. You do not want to come to the Regional Leadership Conference lacking an essential part of your competition.  Your event guidelines can provide insight to what your competition entails and what factors it is judged upon. Also, your guidelines will inform you of what you need to provide and what will be provided to you on the competition day. For example, a projector will not be provided for presentation events so you will need to bring your own.  

Second, make sure everything you are submitting is correct according to the Style and Reference Manual. If you do not follow this manual, many points may be taken off of your score. The Style and Reference Manual can be found on either the National BPA or the Michigan BPA website. Like the event guidelines, you will want to reference this manual many times so that you are not making common errors.

Third, use as many resources as possible. While preparing for your competitions, use as many different websites, books, or people as possible. Your BPA advisors are a valuable resource that you can use. The more information on your topic, the more effective your presentation will be or the more prepared you will be for the judge’s questions. Also, the more information you have, the more you will be able to study for the testing events.

Finally, practice, practice, practice! Like the common phrase says, “practice makes perfect.” While you are presenting in front of the judges, you do not want to be stumbling over words. So, in order to avoid this, practice your presentation multiple times to make it as smooth and easy to follow as possible. Additionally, through practicing, you might be able to memorize specific parts of the presentation. Memorization can make an already great presentation even more effective to the judges. Also, do not hesitate to ask your teacher, parents, or friends to present in front of them. While this may seem daunting, practicing in front of others can provide you with preparation for the real thing and the audience can offer you constructive criticism on how to make your presentation better and more effective. On the other hand, take as many practice tests as you can. This can help you figure out the wording of test questions that Business Professionals of America uses as well as enforce the material that you have already studied.

On the day of the Regional Leadership Conference, ensure that you have a check list to keep all the equipment and materials needed for you competition organized. If you are planning to give the judges any paper, bring extra for emergencies. Additionally, make sure to bring your entry forms as you will not be able to compete in your event without it. Furthermore, review the dress code because violations will result in the reduction of points. These tips can give you the extra boost of confidence needed to get you to the State Leadership Conference.

Maurice S. Henderson
Business Writing Etiquette
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Business Writing Etiquette

by Noah Cox, Executive Vice President

David Maister once said, “Professional is not a label you give yourself -it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” In other words, you must earn the title or image of being a professional. While there are many ways to accomplish this, one major way is by practicing business writing etiquette.

Business writing etiquette is the practice of writing in a professional, sometimes in a formal manner while trying to conduct a business practice. When used properly, it allows you to come across as a great leader who can also communicate effectively. So when practicing proper business writing etiquette, here are a few things to keep in mind.

One, be careful of grammatical or spelling errors. I know it sounds simple, but everybody can make this mistake and its one you must try to always avoid. Whenever you send an email to someone important, always check to be sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. If someone were to read an email from you and it contained spelling or grammatical errors this could demonstrate a lack of thoroughness or a lack of care for your work which hurts your ability to be perceived as a professional and credible communicator.

Two, your message as clear as possible. Whenever you’re doing business, communicating to your colleague an idea or message should be done as simply as possible. This means avoiding metaphors whenever possible, cutting out excess words whenever you’re composing a document, PowerPoint, or email, and just using plain English whenever possible.  By following these tips, you can become a more effective, concise communicator, which can help boost your professional reputation.

Three, direct the tone of your message to match your audience.  For example, when addressing a client or coworker you don’t know always make the message formal and informative. When writing any document related to business, make it polite and courteous/a formal tone. Additionally, people don’t like to hear old information repeated for no purpose, so make the content of your document contain new and informative details or facts.

Additionally, the type of medium you are using should alter what type of business writing etiquette you should emphasize. I’ll go over a few examples.

With PowerPoint: being concise is king. Avoid at all costs bullet points that end up being paragraphs.  The objective of a PowerPoint is to deliver information in a concise, visual format. So if you need paragraphs to properly convey your point, don’t use a PowerPoint. Additionally, PowerPoint does not have to be as formal as certain emails of reports to coworkers. So make them enjoyable, but also informative!

With emails: make your message worth the time it takes to read it. This means avoid mentioning information already mentioned unless needed. Furthermore, this is a scenario where it is crucial to making your message crystal clear. With other mediums, you can often express an idea with other visual aids (graphs, pictures, etc.). With emails, this is obviously not the case. So try to make your messages as clear as possible. And if it’s not possible to explain your message over email, choose another medium or time to share your idea.

Finally, with reports: prepare them as if the audience knows little about the subject. This might seem counter-intuitive given that I just mentioned to only add new information when sending an email, but for business reports, it is a little bit different. When writing a business report, adding the additional context and background info can help make a great business report an even better one. Why? Because unlike the other two methods of explaining an idea or communicating in a business where you are somewhat available to answer questions or clarify ideas, reports need to be entirely self-explanatory. Every question, every new piece of info and every point you make must be fully spelled out and explained given you won’t be there to explain it. With this in mind, your reports shouldn’t be redundant or over explain things either. These both can make a business report less understandable or more confusing.

The people who succeed the most in business all seem to have at least one thing in common: they’re good communicators. They’re not only good because of what they say in their message, but how they say it. This how can best be replicated by the proper use of business writing etiquette. With proper business writing etiquette, coupled with an involvement in Business Professionals of America, you’re setting yourself apart from most of your peers and helping to prepare yourself to become a leader of tomorrow’s world-class workforce.

 

Maurice S. Henderson
Serving in the State Service Project
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Serving in the State Service Project

by Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice-President of Membership

Getting involved in the state service project might seem like a daunting task. There are so many possibilities of what your chapter can do to give back to those who have served (or are serving). Figuring out what you can do to make an impact can be difficult, but worry no more -- here are some ways to get involved in this year’s state service project!

This year we are challenging all of our fellow Michigan BPA members to help fundraise $1,000 dollars to donate to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). We are also challenging our members to spend 2,000 total hours serving veterans in the community. While these may seem like lofty goals, we strongly believe that with your participation it can be an easy feat!

One of the easiest ways to get involved is by raising money. There are so many ways to do so and you can get your whole school involved. Hosting an event like a benefit concert or walkathon can do just that.

Walkathons are the perfect fundraising idea for those who serve because they’re active and healthy, which mirrors the lifestyle of our soldiers, servicemen, and veterans. Generally, walkathons ask participants to secure donation pledges based on the distance they’re able to walk. To encourage more people to get involved, try contacting local businesses to donate items and set up a tables around the track for concessions and other miscellaneous things. Business love to participate in community events as it only helps their image. Ideally, all profits would go to the cause.

The same applies to benefit concerts. In my experience, the hardest part of planning a concert is simply finding a location; however, someplace as common as a school auditorium or gym should do the trick. As with any concert, you need the performers. You can enlist the help of local artists and bands to determine the line-up. Ask around for people who love to sing, dance, or even just do stand-up comedy. Reach out to other organizations and school clubs who might want to partake in this. Charging a simple fee to watch the concert and selling concessions are easy and efficient ways to raise money. However, don’t forget to set up a general donation table to accept other contributions throughout the night.

Charity auctions can also be a fast-paced and energetic way to raise more money and interact with your community members face-to-face. Ask for charity auction items from local businesses and organizations. Ideally, try to get as many items donated for close to nothing, so that you can work to raise as much as possible for the cause. Find a volunteer to be the auctioneer and spread the word through the school about this exciting event. Make sure that everyone is aware of the rules of your charity auction beforehand. The great thing about charity auctions is that people will walk away with unique items and experiences while you can raise more money for your cause. Veteran’s Day is November 11th, so make sure to take advantage of that.

There are other alternative ways to help without going the traditional route of fundraising. Your chapter could host a furniture donation drive to collect furnishings for veterans transitioning into housing in your community allowing you to see the impact you are making in the lives of others directly! Another way to help out includes organizing a back to school drive to distribute backpacks and school supplies to military children. As the seasons start to change and the air gets colder, making blankets is a great way to show your appreciation. Even something as simple as making cards for local veterans and current members of the U.S. forces in your community can do so much!

Whatever your chapter decides do, remember who and what you are doing it for. There are over 635,000 veterans in the state of Michigan alone. This accounts for 22% of the veteran population in the United States. These are the men and women who have dedicated their efforts to this country for you; the least we can do is appreciate them. :)

Maurice S. Henderson
Fundraising Through a State Service Project
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Fundraising Through a State Service Project

by Nolan Greisinger, Vice President of Leadership Development

Sometimes in life, it is hard to find a motivating drive, whether that be in school, sports, extra-curricular activities or just life in general. Often it is a driving force that persuades individuals to get involved and become motivated to create change in and out of their communities.

For the 2018-2019 school year, Michigan Business Professionals of America have paired up with different Veteran Organizations throughout the state of Michigan. The sole purpose is to “Serve Those Who Have Served”, by this we plan to make the lives of those who have given so much for our freedom just a little bit better. With the help of your chapters, we can make that happen.

There are many ways that we are asking those to get involved. Whether that be on site and getting your hands dirty at the VA hospitals or raising monetary donations. Fundraising is a key step in that process. Fundraising can be defined as “the organized activity of raising funds (as for an institution or political cause) — often used before another noun (Merriam- Webster)”. With many different ideas and ways to get involved, we ask you, a member of our great organization to just that. Raise the funds, take initiative and raise the spirits of those around you. There are a plethora of ways to do so, even coming up with your own unique idea may even be the best route to take.

There is a multitude amount of ways to fund raise, that can be raising money, doing a food drive, clothing article drive and even fundraising toiletry items. You can start at your school and ask the students to bring these items in. A way to get a solid turnout is providing an incentive for the winning group of students or faculty. By way of competition, people tend to want to participate more. For this year’s state service project that is just what we are looking for, more creative ways to help those who have sacrificed so much for us. By raising money, it may allow for those group homes to do more activities with their residence. By donating clothes it may help those who cannot afford to get new clothes an extra layer of clothes for the cold months ahead. Even the simple task of writing a letter, may spark a smile and make their day just that much better.

Fundraising has many meanings behind it, but it has the sole purpose of benefiting those that are the target market. Making the life’s of those around you better can have a drastic impact on not only them but yourself as well. People who fund raise can build upon their skill set that they previously have, or even learn a new one. Standing up and taking a leadership role may be stressful, hard and never seem to have an end; but once that end goal is reached the reward will pay off. Whatever reason it is that you may want to fund raise, let it be for the greater good of those in and out of your community. Let the fact that you are helping those in need be the driving force that allows you to create change in this world.

Starting anything can be difficult, it is hard to know just where to start and just what needs to be done. The most difficult may just be the question of, “what do I do as a fundraiser?”. Here are just a few things that people do as a fundraiser. Have a bake sale, this can be done at your local high school or even around your community. Doing a can drive is a good way to bring in revenue and takes just one afternoon of work to generate a good amount of money. Organize a 5k walk/run for those around your community to allow those to get an afternoon workout while also raising the funds for those veterans that are in need. For more ideas you can look them up on the michiganbpa.org website, also do not forget to get as creative as you can.

This year we are excited to pair with organizations that give back to those who gave so much for us. Fundraising for this year’s state service project will be one that will challenge you, spark a light inside of you, while also being rewarding for you as you are on your path to relying on your rarity this school year. So we challenge you, Michigan BPA to not look back and raise money while also raising the spirits of those around you.

Maurice S. Henderson
Campaigning for State Office
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Campaigning for State Office

by Ashley Speck, Vice President of Chapter Activities

Campaigning for a BPA state officer position may be intimidating. Depending on how you look at it, there may be a different process from campaigning for a local chapter officer position than a state officer position. For my local chapter, you must write a speech and present it in front of the chapter, then using a google form everyone voted for who they wanted to obtain certain positions. However, when it came to running for a state officer position it was similar to the same process of my local chapter, but the audience was larger and the voting process was different. I know this may seem very intimidating. So, if you find yourself in a bind, here are nine tips on how to get through campaigning at the state level.

1. It’s okay to mess up – If you make a few errors, people will most likely forget by the end.

2. Your peers are forgiving – If something catastrophically goes wrong don’t worry. People do understand that mistakes happen to everyone. Also, sometimes mistakes are out of your hands and your peers will be there to help you. People will most likely forgive and forget.

3. Don’t forget to smile – Something so easy yet many people have forgotten to smile. Sometimes even if you are scared it makes you feel way more confident just to smile. Smiling makes you look more approachable and more understanding. When one smiles it makes them appear as a strong human who can understand a stressful task of leading and speaking to a team.

4. Sometimes you must think outside the box to move forward – Not every task on hand is going to be able to be solved by just simply googling it. Sometimes you are going to have to rely on your peers and advisors to complete a task. Sometimes you even may have to work with people you normally don’t complete a task. A good example of this is making sure any speeches appeals to all the audience and not just the people you know.

5. Think on the fly – You cannot plan for everything. If you forget to mention something at one point in your speech you can mention it later when the time is relevant again. Also, there may be questions that you did not expect someone to ask you. You need to be able to adapt to any situation that is on hand.

6. Make yourself visual – People will need to recognize your face to your name. Leave a lasting impression because at the end there potentially could be many names to remember and you want them to remember yours. You also need to make sure you are reachable, don’t become unapproachable because you are still a peer.

7. Look Presentable – Now this does not mean dress up by any means. Dress for the occasion. Make sure your hair looks nice! I would not suggest rocking sweatpants unless you see fit. I would suggest dressing for the part, and if for you that means wearing a tie then be it, but if that means wearing a nice pair of jeans then that’s wonderful.

8. Project your voice – Don’t yell when you’re talking to your whole chapter. But instead, use a mellow tone of voice and project your voice to all corners of the room. You cannot use small talk or a voice that would be used in your group of friends. This is not only about tone, but it is also about the words you say. When campaigning you should use words fit for the occasion.

9. Treat all with respect – Treat others how you wish to be treated. Understand that you may have competition, but you are classmates’ first, competitors second. People may not always agree with you, and that is okay, but respect their opinions. When campaigning you will have to undertake the mission to help everyone. You have to understand that people are sometimes unintentionally disrespectful and just treat them with respect and you will get through this.

With keeping these in mind you are ready to campaign for a local officer position. Also, these are just tips, it is your campaign at the end of the day. You can rock it however you may choose.

 

Maurice S. Henderson
The Key to Sociability
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The Key to Sociability

by Niral Patel, State Parliamentarian

Have you ever faced the dilemma of wanting to talk to someone, but you feel too shy to actually take the initiative to start a conversation? Don’t worry. We have all been there. It is a common trait of humans to be afraid of taking any sort of step out of their comfort zone. Unfortunately, in the journey of developing yourself—especially to become a leader in your passion—you have to learn to love living outside of your feelings of comfortability. When it comes to socializing, there are many things you can do to become a better “connector” with others. This is a guide for everyone, whether you are introverted, extroverted, or a mix between the both.

The first step to becoming a more social person, and not feeling the fear of starting a conversation with somebody new, is to “trap” yourself into situations where you will have to talk to people. This may be through attending seminars, getting involved in your school, joining an organization, or simply going out to family events more often. Sometimes it is the small steps we take which help us beyond measures. By attending events where you can meet people you don’t usually talk to, the conversation may strike itself to you on its own. Use your opportunities to your advantage and put yourself in situations where you are most likely to talk to and meet new people.

The next key step into socializing is to learn to listen. You may have heard this several times before, whether directed at you, at others, or simply said by someone giving advice on a topic (perhaps the same one you are reading about). Learning how to listen to somebody is what can make you a better speaker yourself. When you are conversing with others, keep yourself silent and actually engage in what the person is talking about. Become conscious of what they are saying, and THEN you can worry about responding. People like speaking their mind, and they like when people listen to them. By opening your ears to what they are saying, you can find different points within a conversation that you can discuss.

Going off the previous step, you may now use what you heard in the conversation to your benefit. If you are no longer speaking on a topic and don’t know where to go next, bring up something that the other person mentioned. Often, when you think about what they are saying, there are several things you can mention and casually bring into a full-fledged conversation. Ask questions about what they mentioned. If, for example, you were having a conversation with someone whom you have never met about a school club, and they mention other clubs they also participate in, ask about their involvement in those clubs. Get them to talk about themselves as you listen. The more you know about them, the better you become at socializing.

A good note to remember when speaking to others is that you are trying to portray a positive image of yourself to them. You do not want them to associate your persona with negativity, so always try to keep your side of the conversation on a high, rather than a lower note. Say you started off the day on a bad note, with your car running out of gas, or your dog making a mess in your room. Although these may be easy topics to share a response, it is not necessarily the best way to keep a conversation going, or especially start one. Even when the other person is speaking on a negative topic, do everything in your power to bring the conversation to a higher note. You may not realize it, but by doing this you will change your image to be associated with happiness and positivity. You will make yourself a “magnet” for continued conversations.

Overall, there are several tips you can implement in regards to becoming a more social person. Keep in mind that you will never actually change yourself through knowledge until you actually apply it in the real world. This is the key. The true factor that will make you a sociable person is your ability to step outside your own comfort zone. It is as simple as that. I once read an article about a person who met a new stranger every day for an entire year. One of the biggest lessons I learned that article was this: fear is overrated. We allow fear to guide our lives when, quite frankly, it is within our own control. Understand this fact, and you can become the greatest leader of your own cause, let alone more social.

Maurice S. Henderson
Building Your Network Circle
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Building Your Network Circle

by Noah Cox, Executive Vice-President

High School. It’s an important time in your life. Here, you begin to pick the career route that will impact the rest of your life, learn many lifelong lessons, and lay the foundation for most of your adult life. So, while everyone has been telling you to start looking at colleges, practice for the SAT and get good grades, how many people have been telling you to build your networking circle? Probably not many. Yet, starting networking now may be one of the biggest ways you can get a leg up and succeed in the modern working world.

There’s an age-old phrase: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And according to recent studies, this couldn't be more accurate in today’s professional world. According to a 2016 LinkedIn study, eighty-five percent (85%) of all jobs are filled through some form of networking or another. In other words, networking is the core of success in any person’s career and can work as a great foundation to help anyone get an edge, even as early as high school. Networking in a high school setting is crucial as well.  Letters of recommendation, sports scholarships, and college admissions are all great examples of where having a networking circle can help you get that competitive standing in the college admissions process.

Here are some great first steps to help you get a competitive edge: first, get a LinkedIn account. 51% of professionals don’t even have a LinkedIn account. By getting one when you’re only in high school you demonstrate matureness and professionalism to potential places you might want to intern or work at while in high school. In addition, LinkedIn offers pamphlets that teach young adults the power of building a great LinkedIn profile and how to network properly. Second, reach out to your teachers/professionals and start asking who is willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Strong, descriptive letters of recommendation are one of the biggest advantages you can have going into the college admissions process. And having teachers that are informed and educated on your passions and accomplishments can make the difference between a good letter and a great letter. Additionally, getting to know your teachers or whomever you may have written your letter can help you build a portfolio of people in your networking circle that may be able to help you out in the future. Third, reach out to colleges and demonstrate an interest in their school and get to know people at the college. Many colleges today take demonstrated interest into consideration when admitting their students. Demonstrating interest in addition to talking with college admissions reps about tips and trick can help you get an important step up in the college admissions process. Additionally, getting to know admission staff on the inside of colleges allows you to get more detailed inside information on each college’s admissions process, along with what scholarships are available to help make college more affordable. Finally, go to the legacy launchers at BPA FLC and SLC. These workshops are designed to give you the skills necessary to succeed in tomorrow's workforce. These workshops can teach you a lot and are often taught by professionals who bring decades of networking knowledge to the table for you to learn. Plus, you have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and other BPA members. These networking opportunities at the legacy launchers at FLC and SLC could range from talking to business leaders about internship opportunities, to talking to colleges about business programs to business camps, and even other members of Michigan BPA just to see what other members are like. But they all have one benefit: to allow you to leverage the community of business professionals/aspiring business professionals for you to achieve or have available to you the maximum number of opportunities possible.  

Networking is the foundation of today’s business society. Anyone who wishes to do succeed in business today will need to know networking skills in order to succeed tomorrow.

Maurice S. Henderson