The Three Pillars of BPA
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The Three Pillars of BPA 
By Madilynn Kieling, Historian

There are several components to BPA. Whether you participate in all of them or not, they are always available for members. Three main components, however, are competition, leadership, and service. These “pillars” are what makes BPA unique. As members, BPA provides many opportunities to better yourselves as both people and as employees for your future careers. 

The first and largest pillar is competition. This is what makes BPA and we would not be the kind of organization we are today without it. The Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP), developed by the Classroom Educators Advisory Council, is the method used for testing our skills. There are five categories, including Finance with events such as Fundamental Accounting or Personal Financial Management, Business Administration with events such as Fundamental Word Processing or Administrative Support Research Project, Management Information Systems with events such as Computer Network Technology or Network Administration Using Microsoft®, Digital Communication & Design with events such as Fundamentals of Web Design or Broadcast News Production Team, and Management, Marketing & Communication with events such as Small Business Management Team or Human Resource Management. There are options for both individual and team events, as well as different types of events such as testing, giving a speech or presentation, or demonstrating a concept, and within each category there are open events in which anyone can participate. These categories span almost the entirety of career possibilities within the current business world, and make up the widest and most comprehensive range of events within any career/technical student organization. BPA is truly the premier student organization when it comes to event options. 

The second and slightly smaller pillar is service. The Torch Awards Program provides you with the opportunity to not only serve your community, but also learn more about BPA and its various aspects. There are seven torch categories, including Leadership, Knowledge, Service, Cooperation, Friendship, Patriotism, and Love, Hope, Faith. If you obtain 10 points in each category, you receive an Executive Award, given at the local level. Obtaining 30 points in each category allows you to receive a Diplomat Award, given at the regional level. 50 points in each category gets you the Statesman Award, given at the state level, and 70 points allows you to receive the Ambassador Award, given at the national level, and considered the most prestigious of the Torch Program. Receiving an Ambassador Award sets you apart as a member because it takes time and dedication to put together 70 points in each category. As an Ambassador recipient myself, I can say that it definitely was not easy to obtain all those points, but I truly believe that I became a better person from putting the time in to do those activities. Participating in the Torch Program will provide greater opportunities for you as a member throughout your time in BPA.  

The third and final pillar is leadership. Leadership is at the core of every BPA activity you participate in during your time as a member. From participating in workshops at the Fall Leadership Conference to interning at the National Leadership Conference, learning leadership skills is at the forefront of each activity. Through these activities, we learn how to take charge of any group we happen to be a part of, as well as maybe even seeking additional leadership opportunities such as local, state or national office. As a state officer, I can tell you that running for state office was one of the best decisions I have ever made. BPA is rich with leadership opportunities, and they can be on vastly different scales. If you want to lead on a small scale, chapter office may be for you. If you want to lead on a bigger scale, you can run for state office, and if you want to lead on the largest scale, that is what national office is for. Our organization truly has something for everyone. 

These three pillars are the largest parts of the organization, but there are also other aspects, such as special recognition awards like the Barbara Chambers Outstanding Advisor Award or the Merit Scholar Test/Award, or at the national level, BPA Cares Awards. These awards can be applied for through the state and national websites. However, the pillars cover almost all opportunities provided by BPA. Your time in BPA is what you make of it, so make your time mean something with these pillars, and we look forward to seeing how each of you make this year great!   

Maurice S. Henderson
Recruiting Members for Your Chapter
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Recruiting Members for Your Chapter
By Madeleine Taylor, State Parliamentarian

Having a large membership within your school’s chapter has many benefits. Not only will you have more participation in your school’s service projects, but also, you’re introducing endless opportunities to these students. Showing students their potential through competitive events and their personal victories at the Regional, State, and National Leadership Conferences, not only positively reflects your school's chapter and its efforts, but invests in these students’ futures. Additionally, statewide recognition is up for grabs with membership recruitment awards at the State Leadership Conference. Michigan is one of the largest chapters with an astonishing membership of almost 5,000 people. Additionally, we’re one of the most successful state organizations with 139 members placing at the National Leadership Conference. To keep these impressive statistics up, it's crucial to continue to expose Business Professionals of America to more students so they too will have the opportunity to take advantage of BPA’s offerings and make our State Association proud. Now you may be wondering, how can I help get the word of our chapter out to my school? 

First, encouraging students who have been members previously to promote their chapter to their friends and peers leads to more interested students. By having committed members share with others what BPA is and what it means to them is a very authentic way to get students to join your chapter. The word of mouth from students who’ve experienced everything BPA has to offer is much more powerful than the word of the advisor. Encourage students to post on their social media accounts to reach a large audience. They can post the time and date of the information meeting or just post information about what you do in the organization. Also encourage students to bring it up in casual conversation, their word will travel fast.  

Using your local officer team talk to potential new members is a good place to start. Having these knowledgeable and successful talk to interested students is perfect, because they’ll know the answers to their questions and understand the positives of being involved in their chapter. These individuals should go to business classes at their school and give a brief overview of the organization to spark interest. They should highlight the available opportunities, how fun conferences are, and how BPA is an outstanding resume builder. Also, having your chapter’s officers or other knowledgeable members attend freshman orientation is a great way to introduce new students and their parents to the organization. Promoting BPA in this environment will show these individuals opportunities that will be offered in their high school. 

Furthermore, have an information meeting at the beginning of the year so students know what they’re signing up for. Without this vital meeting, students will be hesitant to join because they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into. Have a meeting during your school’s homeroom, seminar, free period, or before or after school to introduce the organization to interested students. Hang fliers around the school with information about the meeting--a flier has been pre-made and was sent out in Tuesday Tipster #1 for the 2019-2020 school year--just fill in your schools meeting date and time. Also, announce the meeting’s time and date on your school’s announcements.  

Additionally, having an incentive at this meeting such as pizza or donuts could also help find new members. These offerings could be the push some students need to put themselves out there and try something new. Having recruitment activities like a pizza party can be a light and fun way to spread the word about BPA.  

Another great idea that will increase club participation in your school overall would be hosting a club day. At this event, it’s effective to have all of your school’s clubs and organizations set up a booth, so all students can roam the space seeing all of the clubs that your school has to offer. For example, this can be set up in your school’s gym and all classes have a set time where they will be able to explore their options. Also, it is helpful to have students go to the auditorium and listen to a one-minute spiel about each club before they are allowed to walk freely around to booths so they know which areas spark their interest. Another viable option is to set up booths and during lunch, so it’s up to the students to visit booths and sign up for the clubs that interest them. 

Increasing membership of Business Professionals of America will ensure that the amazing opportunities Michigan BPA has to offer reaches as many people as possible. On the local level, having more individuals involved will allow for your chapter to complete a more extensive program of work, qualify more students for leadership conferences, and will increase participation in your chapter’s fundraisers and service projects. So, get out there!  Start promoting your school’s chapter to your friends and upcoming students. Share your story and express the greatness that is Business Professionals of America!  

 

Maurice S. Henderson
Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year
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Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year
By Maxwell Fritz, State President

Hello and welcome to a new year of Business Professionals of America! I am so excited to welcome you as your new state president. Your state executive council cannot wait for you to see what we have in store for this year. We have been very busy over the summer preparing for the fall leadership conference and creating our state theme and service project.

The state executive council is proud to present this year’s state theme “Ignite Innovation.” We took great care in choosing a state theme that fully embraces the direction we want to take Michigan BPA this year. We chose “Ignite Innovation” because we want the members of BPA to ignite their creativity and use this “spark” to ignite their Torch Awards. We are hoping that more members get involved with the Torch Awards Program this year. If your chapter wants a more comprehensive explanation on Torch Awards, you can request a chapter visit from a state officer to explain the program in depth. The state executive council also cannot wait to see what designs members can come up with for the graphic for “Ignite Innovation.” 

We are highly anticipating this year’s fall leadership conference. I hope to see many new faces join BPA this year and begin their journey as future business professionals. This conference will be very educational, as we will focus on teambuilding, leadership, personal reflection, and team bonding. We can’t release what the events will be yet but trust us when we say they will be worth the wait. Also, if you or anyone in your chapter is interested in running for next year’s State executive council, the current council will hold a Q&A session at the conference during lunch. Even if you aren’t entirely sold on running for next year’s officer team, I would highly suggest attending our Q&A. It will be very informative and may sway your opinion on the matter. 

We created a mission statement to put this year’s goals in perspective. The state executive council mission statement for the 2019-2020 school year is: “To give members the opportunity to discover their potential through their involvement in community service and making meaningful connections.” This year we are putting the focus on community service. We not only hope members participate in the state service project, but we also hope chapters continue to make charity work a priority. We hope to increase meaningful connections by communicating with local advisors and posting frequently on social media to keep members informed and involved as well. 

Another big focus this year for our officer team is increasing communication between us and the members. We hope to achieve this by posting frequently on all Michigan BPA social media platforms. Please encourage all of your chapter members to follow Michigan BPA; we are on Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Our team has come up with different theme days for the week where we will post helpful hints, fun facts, and so much more. Here is a quick preview of some of our theme days we will have this year. One is “WSAP Wednesday” where we will post helpful reminders about your events and how to prepare for them. We will also have “Fun Friday” where we will be posting fun facts about BPA. Stay tuned and follow Michigan BPA on all social media platforms to learn what our other days will be. 

We are looking forward to an amazing year. The state executive council is counting down the days until FLC. Also, remember it’s never too late to start planning for your events. We cannot wait to see all the new and returning faces at the fall leadership conference on Wednesday, October 9 in Lansing.

Maurice S. Henderson
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