An Alumni Spotlight: Skylar McArthur
Randall Madison

Randall Madison

Skylar McArthur

Skylar McArthur

An Alumni Spotlight: Skylar McArthur

By Randall Madison, State Historian

This is Skylar McArthur, a former graduate of Capac High School and Alma College she is currently attending Ball State University for Graduate School and studying Information and Communication Sciences. Skylar is 21 years old. In Michigan BPA, she served as the 2014-2015 State Vice-President of Membership on the SEC and is now serving as the 2018-2019 National BPA Post-Secondary President. She is a Michigan Division Alumni and a Board of Trustee Member as well.  Skylar, while attending Alma College, also started their Post-Secondary Division Chapter.  Skylar is very important to our officer team because of her status in BPA.  I asked Skylar some questions about herself so we the state officers could get to know her as well as the Michigan Organization.

Fun Facts:

Favorite Food:           Any kind of Italian Food

Hobbies:                     Playing Xbox, Going to the Beach, Speaking French, Bowling

Passions:                     Helping others, Business, Education

Favorite TV Show:    Parks and Recreation or The Office

BPA Experiences:

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

I have been involved for BPA for seven years. When I was a freshman in high school my brother was a senior and I wanted to beat him in competition, so I joined BPA to do that and then realized that it was truly my passion and my favorite thing about high school. (He still beat me).

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

I just had a drive and passion for BPA and I knew I wanted to be involved in giving back to the students, so I ran for SEC.

After running for SEC, why did you decide to run for National Office?

After graduating high school and starting a Post-Secondary chapter at Alma College I realized how much the Post-Secondary division was lacking in opportunity compared to secondary and I wanted to change that.

What is it like being the National President of Post-Secondary BPA?

Being the National Post-secondary President has been an amazing experience. Getting to interact and speak with students has really been my drive. I have an amazing officer team and we are working really hard to bring the students new experiences. Everyone at the national level has been so supportive of our goals and has enabled us to accomplish a lot. We cannot wait for NLC in May to give the students the best experience in Anaheim.

 What was it like starting Alma College’s BPA Chapter?

It was surprisingly easy to get a Post-Secondary Chapter up and running and the students in the chapter were brand new to BPA and loved it so that was amazing for me. It was a great experience to participate as well, because I studied business as an undergrad and the competitions were very much in line with the education I was getting in my courses, so it justified the material and my learning for me.

If you could change one thing from your BPA career what would it be?

I wish I would have run for national office in high school. One year seems like a long time but there are so many visions we have as an officer team that will be ongoing goals after we leave office. Other than that, absolutely nothing my experience has been amazing.

What is your favorite BPA memory?

Getting to work with Mr. Henderson and Monique to accomplish our goals and seeing the excitement on the students faces at SLC during my term on the SEC.

What has BPA taught you?

The amount of lessons I have learned from BPA are countless. But I really found out who I was and what I thrived in during my term on the SEC. It also taught me how to set goals and work as a team to reach them, now and then. I’ve learned that improvement is a continual process, you can always work on making yourself better.

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

It’s important to remember that failure is good. You don’t learn from success, you learn and grow from failure and from your failures come success.  Remember as the Great Vince Lombardi said, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary”.

Tips on Packing for NLC
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Tips on Packing for NLC

by Apoorva Dayananda, Secretary/Treasurer

            Packing may make or break your trip. Packing too light may lead you to forgetting an essential item, which will send you on a spree throughout the airport to purchase an overpriced toothbrush. On the other hand, overpacking will leave you with the burden of carrying heavy bags. While packing may be stressful, with these tips, you will be traveling like a pro.

There is a lot to consider when you are packing for a trip: the length of the trip, the activities you are doing, the weather and more. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare in advance for your trip. Be sure to research the place you are going. The weather in Anaheim, California is drastically different than that in Michigan; you will need to pack accordingly. Before you start packing, make a packing list to ensure that you do not leave anything behind. If you are a last-minute packer, having a packing list set will make the process a lot less stressful. Additionally, if you are flying to your destination, keep in mind the airline requirements, such as the weight of your suitcase, and TSA guidelines. Moreover, a lot of airlines let you have one personal item, like a backpack or a purse, to take with you on the flight. With this item, you may want to keep the things you will need on the flight: earbuds, a jacket in case it gets cold, a book, a charger, or anything else you may need for a comfortable flight. Also, pack one outfit in your carry on just in case something happens to your checked baggage.

Now comes the most important part: actually packing. First, be sure to chose the right suitcase. One that’s too big will leave you with an unnecessary load to carry; however, one that is too small will leave you shoving everything in your suitcase. Second, pack realistically. If you cannot picture yourself wearing or using it on your trip, do not pack it. When packing your clothes, gather all the clothes you anticipate you will need and then put half of them back. While this may seem crazy, travel experts swear by it. When choosing your outfits, make sure that you have an outfit for each day and one extra, keeping in mind that you may not need each shirt to match a different pant. Additionally, some clothes like leggings or running shorts could double as an outfit for the day and pajamas for the night. In order to use the space in your luggage effectively, roll your softer garments such as t-shirts and jeans while folding stiffer clothes like dress shirts and blazers. After you have done this, start packing your suitcase in layers. For the first layer, place your rolled clothes followed by the folded garments, and for the top layer, keep the clothes you would need first. Following the clothes, you will need to find a place for the shoes.

 Like the clothes, you will not want to overpack with the shoes; therefore, you would want to follow the rule of threes. The rule of threes encourages one casual pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers, and then one pair of dress shoes. In order to save on weight and space, wear your heaviest pair of shoes. Furthermore, in order to save even more space, you can pack your socks in your shoes. When packing the rest, pack the shoes with the sunglasses, toiletries and other accessories. In order to keep these things clean, place the shoes in bags, like reused plastic grocery bags or large Ziplocs if possible.

For your beauty products and toiletries, keep in mind where you are staying. If you are staying in a hotel or resort, chances are that they will provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, and maybe more. However, if you are not staying in a place where they provide these items, try opting for an array of travel-sized bottles to put your product into, preventing the need to bring a big, heavy bottle of shampoo. When you are choosing your bottle, keep in mind the TSA guidelines. Additionally, in order to avoid a messy spill in your suitcase, put these items into a sealable bag. Therefore, if they do spill, it will be contained. 

Now that you have your essentials packed, you can pack the rest of your miscellaneous items. If you are carrying any fragile items, pack them in the center so they have a cushion around them. For jewelry and other valuable items, do not check them. In order to reduce the risk of theft or loss, keep them on you, either in your pockets or in your bag.

After you have finished packing everything that you need, go through your packing list one more time to make sure that you have not forgotten anything. With these tips, your packing can be stress free and you will have an amazing NLC.

Maurice S. Henderson
Succeeding in the World of Business
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Succeeding in the World of Business

by Noah Cox, Executive Vice-President

Business is the language of commerce. Whether this is negotiating a merger deal between two companies, to simplifying supply chains by working in supply chain, to be the “doctor” of the business world as a consultant, helping companies with their problems and bringing them back to “health.” Anybody who wishes to succeed in the professional world must have a business mindset. But, just like any skill in this world, becoming a savvy businessman or woman is something that can be taught. The first thing you need to know is how to market your product.

When I mean “product,” this can vary. This can vary from a good your company produces; a service your company offers, or a skill set you yourself can bring to the table when working on a project or applying for a new job. The first trick in succeeding in the business world is knowing how to market this. One of the best ways to market anything is not as much to support the logical reasons as to the emotional reasons why you should buy what you’re trying to sell. When you look at some of the largest companies on the planet (take Apple for example), they aren’t trying to sell you the latest iPhone, they’re trying to sell you a feeling. Take a look at just about any Apple commercial. When you watch the video, noticed how they portray the people in the ad as happy with their iPhone, rather than advertising how much processing power their latest phone has, or how much of a better value their phone is as compared to their competitors. By doing this, your emotional subconscious takes over, and you associate Apple’s products with success and happiness, enticing you to buy their products. Another example would be selling your professional experience to a new employer. In this case, you should try to start with the logical reasons as why they should hire you, but when you make it to the final rounds of the interviews, often the charisma or feeling you can leave your interviews with is the thing that gets you the job. Because when you leave the room from that interview, you want that interviewer saying, “That person talks, acts, and carries themselves in the way we feel like our company’s employees should.”

Another great way to get ahead in the world of business is being prompt and sticking to your word. It’s easy to talk the talk, but saying what you plan on doing and then actually following through is a whole new level. Sounds simple right? But think about how many times someone you know said they were going to do something major and then didn’t follow through. Being a person of your word is priceless to employers. People don’t want to hire a talker, they want to hire a doer. On the topic of doing what you say you’re going to do, having a great work ethic builds on this. If you look at some of the world’s most successful people, Elon Musk for example, they aren’t only known for their genius but also their work ethic. Elon is known for working 120 hour work weeks just to make sure his companies survive (keep in mind there are only 168 hours in a work week). Now, I’m not saying you need to work 120 hours a week to make it big, but you will have to be the one that’s known to go the extra mile in order for your employer or investor to take a chance on you.

Finally, a big skill you’ll need if you want to become successful in business or in general the workforce of tomorrow is a drive for what you do. Almost nobody you’ll meet has gotten successful off a career or a job or a company they hate to work for. Rather, they go there because they love what they do so much they are willing to go that extra mile I mentioned in order to achieve that success. Furthermore, a passion for whatever they are doing has most likely also inspired them to learn more about their field, further honing their skills and making them an industry leader in their expertise.

Everybody wants to get ahead and succeed. It allows one to gain a sense of self accomplishment and satisfaction with their life. But they’re not going to get there doing something they hate, improperly marketing what they are trying to sell, having a poor work ethic or not making good on their promises. All of these skills can come naturally, as long as you find out what you love to do most. And once you’ve turned your passion into a career, the rest gets easier from there.

 

Maurice S. Henderson
Job Shadowing Through BPA
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Job Shadowing Through BPA

by Noah Cox, Executive Vice-President 

            Business Professionals of America’s main purpose is to help prepare our members to succeed and become leaders in tomorrow's workforce. This year, one of the new things Michigan BPA will be implementing is an opportunities tab on the Michigan BPA website where you can sign up for business camps and internships to help make you more prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Currently, BPA offers multiple avenues for you to prepare for the careers of tomorrow.

            One of the best things BPA has to offer that can help you when you get your first internship or job shadowing opportunity is helping you understand the power of professionalism. Carrying yourself professionally means to be someone who is well composed, from the way you’re dressed to how you speak (do you address someone as Mr. or Ms., do you use a formal tone, etc). By demonstrating professionalism, you can be the one that your boss at an internship can turn to and say “they’re the one we need to hire when they get out of college.” One of the best ways to perfect your professionalism is to attend a talk about networking or professionalism at the state leadership conference or at the national leadership conference.

            Another great thing to gain from BPA that can help you with job shadowing or future internship opportunities is networking. This benefit has two components. First, the networking skills taught through BPA can bring you bountiful opportunities in the future. Studies have shown that employers often use a person’s strength in soft skills (ex. networking) as a deciding factor to see if they will hire a person. BPA can help you gain that edge that will allow you to receive that job or internship. Second, BPA can give you networking connections that can help you out significantly when job shadowing or interning or even farther in the future. BPA is a group of the hardest working, most motivated individuals in our generation. We will be the source of tomorrow’s great leaders and getting connected to the BPA members of today can help you get that once in a lifetime opportunity tomorrow.

Finally, BPA offers you the knowledge you need to get a great head start at any business related internship or job shadowing opportunity. BPA teaches you the language of the business industry. Terms like Return On Investment (ROI) or the 5 c’s of credit offer you the language you need to sound informed and land that next great internship opportunity. Additionally, BPA can help you develop great skills that can make you stand out at your next job. Skills like accounting can help you stay informed of any financial event, while an understanding of Human Resources or Business Law can make you well prepared for events in the workplace, on a job site, or at any business related event.  

While Business Professionals of America can’t fully prepare you for a job shadowing or internship as a doctor, a biomedical engineer, etc., it can certainly help you succeed in the business aspects of these careers and will help you stand out in any workplace. The 2018-2019 Michigan BPA State Theme is rely on your rarity. And with BPA, you can acquire the skills you need to be a rare, but highly valuable asset in any workplace, job shadowing or internship that helps you hold an important place in the workforce of tomorrow.

Maurice S. Henderson
BPA Spotlight: Randall Madison
Randall Madison

Randall Madison

BPA Spotlight: Randall Madison

by Randall Madison, Historian

Hi, I am Randall Madison, a former graduate of Swan Valley High School and I am currently attending Northwood University majoring in Operations and Supply Chain Management.   I am 19 years old, in Michigan BPA I am serving as the 2018-2019 State Historian on the State Executive Council and I ran on the motto “Be on the right channel, and vote for Randall”.  Our officers thought it was important for our members to learn more about your State Officer Team this year. So, I came up with some stuff I thought you guys would like to know about me.  

Fun Facts:

Favorite Song: Life Must Go On – Quinn XCII

Hobbies: I love to sit back and relax with my friends, watching and playing sports, and listening to Quinn XCII

Favorite Food: Nachos

Favorite Movie: 42 The True Story of a Sports Legend

BPA Experiences:

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

I have been involved for BPA for four years.  My sophomore year I was sitting in class where one of my BPA advisors taught, and she told me I should show up to the BPA meeting after school.  I decided to go to the meeting and haven’t regretted it since.

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

At Swan Valley I was the local chapter treasurer for two years and felt like I could do more within Michigan BPA.  Swan Valley had students run every year I went to states and I always wanted to run as well.  I then took a big leap forward and asked Mrs. Perez if I could, and she was thrilled I was running, which made the decision a lot easier.

What makes BPA important to you?

BPA has brought me some of the greatest relationships of my life. I made lifelong friends while serving on the State Executive Council.  I also have changed my life plans while being in BPA, before I joined BPA, I wanted to be an engineer, after I joined BPA, I knew I wanted to go into business.

What is your favorite BPA memory?

My favorite memory would have to be at the 2018 Dinner Session when they were announcing the new State Officers.  I was so scared I wasn’t going to get on, they first announced the Vice-Presidents and when I didn’t get called up, I put my hands up to my face and almost started crying.  Then, the 2017-2018 Historian came up to the stage and said “Will… Randall Madison the 2018-2019 State Historian Elect come up to the stage please” I was so happy, I got a ceremonial officer position.  I had to sign my name in front of 2,000 people and if I were to look at the signature today, I probably wouldn’t recognize it as mine.  After that I just remember smiling and just being so happy to be on the State Officer Team.

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

Take a risk, there is nothing holding you back but you.  All professionals do not go by the book, they take risks with their company to make it better.  I live by the quote by Muhammed Ali “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”

Maurice S. Henderson
The Changing World of Business
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The Changing World of Business

by Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice-President of Membership

“Change is constant” is an unfortunate oxymoron.

It represents hope, progress, and the never-ending idea that the world is getting better. In the past decade, there’s been a shift in the way things are done. More and more businesses today are altering their organizational model to bring about a positive and impactful contribution to the world. Here are some ways they are accomplishing this goal!

Corporate social responsibility which refers to the attempts of companies to assess the social, economic, and environmental impacts of their activities and take action to reduce these if necessary. There are primarily two types of social businesses: for-profit and private sector businesses that have a social goal. These companies want to maximize profits but not at the cost of their primary social goal. In other words, while they do worry about their financial bottom line, they want to ensure that their business has a positive impact on society and the environment. They are the prime examples of corporate social responsibility. Today more than ever, half of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they know that the company is charitable. Incorporating philanthropy into their business plans allows business owners to experience revenue growth as well as allowing the world to experience social improvements. One of the biggest example in Michigan is Quicken Loans. The company has been doing its part to help revitalize the troubled Detroit economy by investing in its infrastructure and development. The company even offers cash incentives to employees that move to Downtown Detroit, allowing them to help rebuild the once bustling city.

B-corps, or benefit corporations, are a form of for-profit companies that are committed to solving social and environmental problems through the power of business. To be serious about this commitment, companies can become certified B-corps through the nonprofit B Lab. Applicants must pass a certification process that looks at how the company creates value for non-shareholding stakeholders like employees, the local community and the environment. There are more than 2,350 certified B-corps globally that meet these rigorous standards today. Major brands like Ben & Jerry’s, The Honest Company, and Patagonia are all B-corps.

Fair Trade is trade that attempts to be socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. According to the World Fair Trade Organization, the official definition is " a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organizations have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the principal core of their mission. They, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade." Organizations meeting fair trade requirements are recognized by the WFTO and include global giants. There are ten principles these organizations are expected to uphold to qualify for the certification: 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organizations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld: Principle One: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers; Principle Two: Transparency and Accountability; Principle Three: Fair Trading Practices; Principle Four: Payment of a Fair Price; Principle Five: Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor; Principle Six: Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association; Principle Seven: Ensuring Good Working Conditions; Principle Eight: Providing Capacity Building; Principle Nine: Promoting Fair Trade; Principle Ten: Respect for the Environment.

In a fast-changing world, it seems as if progress is inevitable. Every day, more and more people leave poverty and gain access to the basic human rights they deserve. Positive business helps us push this along.

Maurice S. Henderson
Tips on Saving Money for SLC and NLC
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Tips on Saving Money for SLC and NLC

by Nolan Greisinger, Vice-President of Leadership Development

The long nights of staying up preparing, to the awards session, it all seems to pay off once we are at the next conference. Sometimes the cost of these conferences can add up quickly. But when it comes to each one you don’t want to miss out on the lasting knowledge and memories gained when attending States and Nationals. Here are some ways on making sure to get there, without the financial stress that may come along with it.

The first step is to make sure you know the price of the conference. From there you can start budgeting to make sure you’re in attendance. There are many ways to save money, whether that be you saying not going out with friends, or putting a little away at a time, both are easy ways to save.

There are many ways to make money for the BPA State Leadership Conference or National Leadership Conference. One option is to fundraise with your chapter. There are different ways that one might go about doing so. First look at what fundraisers you could do, and then next think about the best location for set. One of the top locations is to set one up at your local school. Your local school is a haven for things like this. It allows for a safe environment to raise money and awareness for your cause. It is always smart to reach out further though as well. Often times, if you reach out to local business, they are willing to sponsor your event or cause. Look locally before extending your research further. It is important to put that money away right after you receive it.

A very important aspect to making sure that you have the funds necessary to allow you to attend conferences is budgeting. One tip that heavily involves budgeting is to save throughout the year. The best strategy is to make this a line item in your monthly budget; saving just a bit throughout the year. This way you already have the cash in hand to pay for everything without taking from your actual checking account. Another aspect to budgeting and saving money for this type of thing is to plan and to register early. This goes hand and hand with saving throughout the year. Allowing for you to seek out the time in advance and set up a plan for saving from there. For example, if you have 6 weeks to save up for a $300 conference, you would budget $50 per week to meet that goal. Now that would not account for the spending money while in attendance. But with the early planning, putting a bit of spending money away will not be a hard step!

When sitting in the long seminars, or spending time getting work done, one could imagine they would build up an appetite. When traveling somewhere new it is always important to try something you have not done before. Make sure to find a good new place to indulge yourself with a delicious meal. One tip to this is to not overdo the eating out. Set a budget of how much you will eat out and stick to it. Find a grocery store and buy healthy snacks at a cheaper price. If offered, you can bring things to make sandwiches and buy other small snack stuff. This will prevent hunger and it makes two of the three meals in a day very cheap. It is far less expensive than eating each meal at a restaurant.

Always know where your money is going. If you lose track of where each dime is going, it can be hard to keep in line with your budget. Sometimes it is best that you keep a small notebook or tab on what you are spending money on. This allows you to check back on exactly what you bought. Even though it is always nice to save, you are there to experience as much as you can so do not feel bad for treating yourself every now and again.

As we continue to grow older, we will be visiting more places for more conferences. These conventions can be expensive, but with simple planning you can minimize a majority of the expenses. By doing so this can lighten the financial damage that can take a toll, and make for an overall more enjoyable experience. Those in BPA have spent countless hours of their time to make the SLC and NLC the best that they truly can be, and we cannot wait to see you guys there!

 

Maurice S. Henderson
Opportunities Available for You
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Opportunities Available for You

by Noah Cox, Executive Vice-President

Ever wanted to learn more about business? Have you ever felt like you want to do more BPA activities but they don’t work with your schedule? The 2018-2019 State Executive Council has been reaching out to many colleges and businesses throughout Michigan in order to help you get more business enrichment opportunities and further your passion for business. Visit our Opportunities page to learn more about various camps and internships. Continue to check this page as we will be adding more camps and internships as the year progresses! In addition, be sure to check out the booths many of these camps and internships will have as well at the 2019 Michigan BPA State Leadership Conference if you are in attendance.

Maurice S. Henderson
Tips on Running a Local Chapter Meeting
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Tips on Running a Local Chapter Meeting

by Apoorva Dayananda, State Secretary/Treasurer

 We have all been stuck in meetings that seem to last forever, where the discussion has no clear path, or the goals of the meeting are not clear. However, meetings are essential for communicating important information. And when conducted right, meetings serve as a powerful tool in ensuring the success of your organization.

Before you can ensure a successful meeting, there are steps that need to be taken. First, review the goals that you want to accomplish during the meeting. Then, determine if the meeting is necessary. While this may seem backwards, in determining what you want to accomplish, you will then evaluate the information that you want to present in the meeting. Most people view meetings as inconveniences, so, when planning a meeting, ask yourself if there is a more efficient way to communicate the information. For example, if there are no handouts or reminders, then send out the information through an email. However, if there is a substantial amount of information, then a meeting would be most effective.

You should also write an agenda detailing the topics that will be discussed during the meeting. An agenda is used to summarize the meeting; it can range from a bulleted list of topics on a handout, to a quick message at the beginning of a meeting. The main purpose of an agenda is to state the purpose of why you are conducting the meeting. According to Adam Bryant, writer for the New York Times, “The agenda provides a compass for the conversation.” If a discussion is not relevant to the meeting, the agenda can be used to steer the meeting back on course. An agenda can also direct the attendees’ attention to the most important aspects of the meeting and keep them focused. For meetings used to discuss certain issues, it is more beneficial to send out the agenda in advance in order for the attendees to already have ideas prior to the meeting, which can also increase productivity.

 In further preparation for the meeting, make sure you assign roles. While most chapters may already have a president, vice president, secretary, etc. some chapters do not. It is important to have someone to facilitate, someone to take notes, and someone to take the minutes. When everyone has a job, it helps ensure that the meeting is more focused.

When it comes to the actual meeting, start and end on time. It can be frustrating for the attendees that arrive on time to have to wait for the meeting to begin. Starting the meeting on time will establish an expectation of timeliness, which can encourage people to be prompt in arrival for future meetings. Along with starting a meeting on time, ending a meeting on time can promote the efficiency of discussion and help prevent it from getting off course. A way to help ensure that the meeting will end on time is by allotting a certain number of minutes to each task on the agenda; because of this, you can also ensure that you are accomplishing every task on the agenda.

Moreover, as a leader of a meeting, it is important to remember a few things. First, encourage discussion. Discussion is an important part of a meeting, and by allotting time towards it, you can still discuss while staying on schedule. While discussion is happening, it is up to you to make sure things stay on course. Second, at the end of the meeting, summarize the main points. While there may be a lot of discussion at your meeting, summarizing helps members leave the meeting with the information that you hoped to convey. Finally, never forget to host a question and answer session. This session is especially important for local meetings to ensure that no member leaves the meeting confused. 

After the meeting is over, always make sure to follow up. Send out meeting notes highlighting the main points of the meeting and detailing the important information, assigned tasks, and deadlines, on the same day as the meeting. By sending out an email, members will have a source to look back upon instead of solely relying upon their memory. Additionally, if there are tasks assigned to people at the meeting, always make sure to check up on their progress until they are completed with the task. The key to any successful meeting is in communication and preparation.

Maurice S. Henderson
Alumni Association
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Alumni Association

By Niral Patel, State Parliamentarian

Browse around on the Michigan BPA webpage, and you may find yourself sifting through tabs about parts of our organization that you didn't even know existed. One community of BPA that you may not fully understand is our Alumni Association. Business Professionals of America is a widespread organization that tries to be as inclusive as possible with all members, including those who have graduated high school or college and can no longer compete in events. As a result of this, there is an established community of alumni who still continue to contribute to the organization.

BPA Alumni spend their time assisting members and advisors at each of the available conferences. You may run across a few at your regional conference, and, if not, will for sure encounter several at the State Leadership Conference. There are a range of activities that alumni are involved in at these conferences, including:

●       Coordinating the activities of the local chapter

●       Assisting with committees

●       Forming a Business Professionals of America advisory committee

●       Sponsoring or chaperoning a field trip or conference trip

●       Serving as judges in local competitive events

●       Helping students prepare for competitive events

●       Participating in the student Special Olympics project.

●       Serve as a guest speakers at regular meetings, banquets, and regional meetings.

●       Present talks and workshops on career development and related topics. These topics may include committee effectiveness, officer leadership training, and sessions on how to apply for a job, how to prepare for the interview, what students should know about the business world as they graduate, and preparation for competitive events.

Their primary purpose is solely to ensure that the BPA experience is the best for you and every other member. They want to give back to the organization that provided so much for them (and, hopefully, you as well).

If you have been enjoying your experience as a member of BPA, be sure to thank the alumni for their help. They are taking time out of their busy lives to help you build your future. If you find yourself loving this organization as much as they do, you should definitely consider becoming a part of the Alumni Network, so you yourself can give back to the organization that has done so much for you.

If you want to learn more about our alumni association, you can check it out at http://www.bpa.org/membership/alumni.

Maurice S. Henderson
BPA Spotlight: Nolan Greisinger

BPA Spotlight: Nolan Greisinger

By Nolan Greisinger, Vice-President of Leadership Development

Four years ago, I walked out of a room not knowing it would change my life forever. I ambled into my first ever Business Professionals of America meeting at DeWitt High School. I sat there entirely confused, as I listened to people talk upon an organization that gave them so much knowledge, hope and wisdom. I now sit here today serving as the Vice-President of Leadership Development as a freshman in college.

Goals. A word that is defined as “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result” (dictonary.com). Growing up there was many things that my mom instilled in me, from the time I could talk to now; she expects the very best from me. One of the most important life lessons I learned from her was to set goals. By setting clear concise goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of your work. You will see the forward progress in which might have seemed like a long process before. I have centered my entire BPA career around the ideals set forth, and the principle of setting goals. As a sophomore my one goal was to advance on to the State Leadership Conference, that year I competed in the Graphic Design Promotion competitive event. The objective was to create a flyer, and logo that would encompass the National Leadership Conference for the year ahead. I stayed after school for two weeks preparing my event in hopes it would be enough for me to advance onto the State Leadership Conference. As time came close to the Regional Leadership Conference, I practiced my presentation, time and time again. I woke up prepared and ready to depart. As my event drew near, my nerves kicked in. I sat outside the presentation room, but I remembered the goal I had set for myself. I remembered the ambition that I had going forward, the drive I had to succeed, and the practice; I was ready. I walked into the room with full confidence, I ended up placing 5th, and it was good enough for me to advance on to states. I learned that you do not always have to be the best, but when you work hard your goals will fall into place. I have now competed at three state leadership conferences, and attended Dallas, Texas for the National Leadership Conference.

Growing up in DeWitt, I always felt the need to compete, I felt the need to strive for the best. I loved the community that was centered around the town, it made for a great place to grow up in. I started my soccer career at the young age of five, not knowing the impact the sport would have on my life. It brought me some of the best times, as well as some of the best friends too. It taught me discipline, teamwork and leadership. I have been the caption of my high school team, along with being the caption for my premier league soccer team. The lessons that I have learned from soccer has helped me with other aspects of my life. It has helped with BPA in regard to the discipline. During soccer season I would have to train my body, so that I could be in shape. Here I must have the discipline to train my mind. I must study my material, set times and be prepared to meet deadlines. For that I am thankful for the DeWitt community for supporting me on and off the field. If it was not for this town, I would not be where I am at today.

My proudest BPA accomplishment yet has been to serve the Michigan Association as the Vice-President of Leadership Development. I decided last minute that I wanted to run, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Running for office was stressful in and of itself. I had to do things I had no prior experience with before. That has helped me to grow up and be able to stand where I am today. I ran an entire campaign, read a speech in front of thousands of people, and dove deeper into an organization. By being in this position it has afforded me the opportunity to express my skillsets and share my passions and goals with the State of Michigan. I have met eight other people with an amazing drive, work ethic, and passion for helping. Together we have accomplished so much, and we are doing work that we can be proud of.

I will never regret the decision I made to walk into that meeting, just a few short years ago. Business Professionals of America has opened doors for me, brought me out of my shell, and allowed me to prove to myself that I can accomplish so much. I walked into that room sophomore year optimistic, but I will leave BPA with confidence, ready to start the next journey in my life.

Maurice S. Henderson
Start-up Enterprise Team Event
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Start-up Enterprise Team Event

By Nathan Lee, State President

            Have you ever wanted to start a bakery? Ever wanted to revolutionize the tech industry with your brilliant idea? Ever wanted to be an entrepreneur? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider participating in Start-up Enterprise Team, arguably one of the most business oriented events offered in BPA.

Start-up Enterprise Team is a virtual event designed for students to explore various aspects of business planning. Virtual event is a non-conference event that students can submit a project online to qualify for the National Leadership Conference by getting top ten placement. Out of eight virtual events, Startup Enterprise Team is one of the most popular. Students in a group of two to four work together to come up with a business idea and draft a business plan for it. After completion, the drafts should be formatted in an appropriate way as stated in the event guidelines and be turned in. The business plans then go through the selection process and the judges pick outstanding teams for video interviews. During this interview, your team will have to give a short presentation summarizing the business plan. The judge will then ask questions, which can be practically anything, from the source of data used for financial analysis to logistical issues such as the location of raw material imports and the reason behind choosing the location. The business plan and the interview will be taken into account for the Nationals team placement.

The business plan must include the following sections: executive summary, description of proposed business, objective of business, proposed business strategies, products and services provided, management and ownership, marketing analysis, and financial analysis. There may be additional sections depending on the type of business, but the core sections stated above should still be strong and consistent. As the judges grade the business plan and the interview, they look for logical and coherent statements that resonate consistently throughout the entire business plan and sufficient reasoning behind the decision made. Even if the reasoning is not based off of statistics, something as simple as the headquarter of the company being close to a manufacturing plant may be a solid reason to why a facility is located at a place.

The event should be turned in by mid-February, and there is a $20 fee to enter. With a 15 page limit, the business plan should be concise, engaging, and well-written with few or no grammatical or spelling errors. Below are the specific competencies the judges look for.

·         Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurship

·         Communicate research in a clear and concise manner both orally and in writing

·         Demonstrate effective persuasive and informative communication and presentation skills

·         Identify and utilize internal and external resources

·         Develop a written business plan for a start-up business

·         Identify customer base including consumer and organizational markets and demographics

·         Identify customer relations or markets

·         Demonstrate successful price selection including the reasoning and methods used in determining the price

·         In addition, an analysis of the necessary financial data required to establish their business

As a veteran of Start-up Enterprise Team who went to the National Leadership Conference for it, I highly recommend that you give it a shot. There is a lot to learn from planning and drafting an entire business plan. In addition, the event prepares you in multiple areas of business such as marketing, operations, finance, and management. With all these reasons, why wait to be an entrepreneur?

Maurice S. Henderson
An Alumni Spotlight: Lillia Sheline
Randall Madison

Randall Madison

An Alumni Spotlight: Lillia Sheline

By Randall Madison, State Historian

 

Lillia Sheline

Lillia Sheline

This is Lillia Sheline, a graduate of Berrien Springs High School, currently attending Eastern Michigan University with a major in Special Education Teaching, a concentration in secondary Autism Spectrum Disorders, and a minor in English Language, Literature, and Writing.   Lillia is 20 years old. In Michigan BPA she served as the 2015-2016 State Secretary-Treasurer on the SEC and ran on the motto “Don’t bark up the wrong tree, vote Lilly”.  She is now serving as the State Office Administrative Assistant, she handles phone calls, payments, registrations, etc.  Lillia is very important to our officer team because her team was the first team all of us state officers strove to be in our first year in BPA.  I asked Lillia some questions about herself so the state officers could get to know her as well as the Michigan Organization.

Fun Facts:

Favorite Movie: Bohemian Rhapsody

Hobbies: I love to read, watch movies, spend time with friends, and I’m always up for a spontaneous adventure!

Passions: working with people with special needs. I spend my summers working at a camp for people with disabilities and I hope to one day teach in a special needs classroom.

Favorite Song: Michigan by The Milk Carton Kids

BPA Experiences:

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

I have been involved in BPA for seven years. I was always looking for something new to try and BPA was such a foreign concept to me. I was the only freshman in my high school chapter and then the only sophomore the next year.

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

I remember seeing all the state council elects giving their speeches during the opening ceremonies and it always filled me with so much curiosity. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I knew that if I could do it, it would be one of my greatest adventures.

What makes BPA important to you?

BPA has brought me some of the greatest relationships of my life. I made lifelong friends while serving on the State Executive Council and I've even found friends in the State Office staff and alumni division.

What led you to work for the state office now?

I found a mentor in Mr. Henderson while I was serving as the State Executive Secretary/Treasurer. When Mr. Henderson found out that I was going to be on campus with him and offered me a job, I couldn't say no; it was too good of an opportunity to learn from him.

What is your favorite BPA memory?

During the dinner session of my SEC year, two of my fellow officers surprised the rest of the council with a song that they had prepared. It was the most powerful moment because we had grown to become a family that year, so such a kind and thoughtful gesture made so publicly brought each of us to tears, including me. It was so powerful!

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

Well, for one, social media is very important. KEEP IT CLEAN! Employers look at the things that you post, and your feed can determine whether you get a job or not. Another thing would be to keep taking risks. Risks, although scary, can be so beneficial. You're not going to get anywhere by sitting on your couch; make a move, take the steps, and try EVERYTHING. You never know where your life might take you.

Maurice S. Henderson
Transitioning from High School to College
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Transitioning from High School to College

By Ashley Speck, Vice President of Chapter Activities

Packing your bags and leaving for college may seem surreal. I started collecting items for my perfect dorm room almost a year before I moved in. College was knocking on my door step in August. I wasn’t scared or concerned at first. I didn’t realize how on my own I was until I got sick for the first time. College is different there’s no passing period, and no one cares if you’re tardy to class. You start calling your teachers professors, and your assignments only start coming in heavy when every other class gets hard as well. You learn that you can function off of no sleep, and you can magically type a 14-page paper in a matter of hours. Transitioning to college is not easy for everyone. Here are a few tips I think could help you!

1.    Don’t be scared to ask your RA questions. S/he can be your resource!

2.    Everyone is in the same boat you are. Reach out and make friends.

3.    Don’t fall behind. Create a planner or a schedule and stick to it.

4.    Stay involved. Join a club or go to sporting events.

5.    Remember you are making memories and getting an education.

Thinking of these simple tips will help make the transition easier. Go out to all those Welcome Week events. Students that are in your shoes will be there as well.

6.    Call home. Don’t forget, your parents are transitioning in their own way too.

7.    Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend.

8.    Most colleges have free resources, use them.

9.    Meal plans are nice but have some food in your room for those late night craves.

10. It is okay to have an undecided major walking into college.

Not everyone is just like you, there will be different opinions. People are going to come from potentially across the world to your school. I never knew that my best friends would be from Brazil and Italy. I reached out and made friends. Those late-night laughs that seem so pointless in the moment are creating those “remember when” stories. Try new things. From food to activities there is so much to explore that you may have never had before. New experiences will only make you a better person.

11. Don’t forget about your hometown friends. Call or text them occasionally, they probably miss you too.

12.  No matter how many tips one could give you, this is your experience; make the most out of it.

Live your life to the fullest and get that education you have always dreamed of. Stay positive and stay strong and you will accomplish your dreams.

Maurice S. Henderson
How to Make the Most Out of SLC
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How to Make the Most Out of SLC
by Appoorva Dayananda, State Secretary/Treasurer

For qualifying members, the Michigan BPA State Leadership Conference is the next step on their pathway to becoming national winners, and we, the 2018-2019 Michigan State Executive Council, would like to welcome you to a world of possibilities during the 2019 State Leadership Conference. With the various events hosted throughout the conference, BPA members will have the incredible opportunity to develop their business skills while networking with a multitude of students from all across Michigan.

At the state leadership conference, you will find various activities designed to develop your business and leadership skills while interacting with other members, starting with the Thursday Night Activity. On the first day of the conference, you may feel nervous about your upcoming presentation or competition. Therefore, the state executive council has coordinated a night where you can be relieved of the stress and have a great time. This year, the 2019 SLC Thursday Night Activity will be Glow in the Dark Karaoke, where you and your friends can sing your favorite songs or just have fun listening to others.

Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, Legacy Launchers will be available for members to attend. Legacy Launchers are presentations designed to increase your understanding of various business world aspects. With highly qualified speakers, you can learn about first hand experiences in the business world, business etiquette, social media, and several other business topics. There will be numerous Legacy Launchers available, so if one may conflict with your competition time, there will be plenty more to attend.

Moreover, if you are thinking about furthering your education, representatives from various colleges will be present, providing information about their college or universities. Some of the colleges you can obtain information from include Northwood University, Walsh College, Davenport University, and a variety of others. In addition to the college fair, new this year will be an opportunities fair, specializing in giving passionate BPA members a way to gain first hand experience into the business world through internships, camps, and more.

In addition to your competitive event, open events provide a way for members to make qualify to attend the BPA National Leadership Conference. Open events are an unregistered event where you can take different tests at the state leadership conference. These tests span a wide variety of topics, including Financial Math and Analysis Concepts, Parliamentary Procedure Concepts, and many more. To see the full set of open events available, please view the Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP). To take these tests, all that you need is a pencil and your member identification number.

In addition to the competitions that members will be participating in, there will also be an election for the next year’s Michigan BPA State Executive Council. At the state conference, predetermined candidates will have the opportunity to campaign and make their platform. While some of these events may only be for the current state executive council and/or voting delegates, there are other events to give BPA members the opportunity to learn the goals and insight that the candidates can bring to the next year state officer team. These events include the speeches given out at the opening session as well as the campaign rally, hosted on Saturday afternoon. While the first part of the campaign rally is only for voting delegates, the second part is open to the rest of the BPA membership.

On Saturday night, Michigan BPA will be hosting a dinner session, which includes the dinner and the announcement of the next year’s state officers. Following the dinner session is the BPA Dollar Dance. At this dance, we ask the members to donate one dollar to enter the dance, contributing to our state service project. The dance provides another way for you to have fun with your chapter and other members that you may have met throughout the conference.

We, the 2018-2019 State Executive Council, hope to make the 2019 State Leadership Conference an amazing experience for you. In order to gain all that you can from this conference, we ask you to take a step a little bit out of your comfort zone. Attend as many Legacy Launchers and events as you can. Take as many open events as you can. Talk to a new person every day. Do something that you may have never done. Learn something you never knew. And most importantly, have fun.

Maurice S. Henderson