On March 1, approximately 600 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members from 17 different high school chapters in Southern California gathered at West Ranch High School for the annual Gold Coast Section Conference.
California FBLA is a state division of the largest international business career student organization. According to the organization’s website, it aims not only to “develop competent, aggressive business leadership” but also to “create… understanding of the American business enterprise.”
The organization works towards this goal partly through business knowledge competitions in over 60 categories, such as communications, finance, public speaking, and technology. This year, many ambitious high school students from the Gold Coast Section prepared extensively in hopes of advancing to the California State Leadership Conference, held next month in Ontario, California.
Due to heavy rain and wind, the conference was moved indoors to the main gymnasium, where the opening ceremony, section officer campaigns, and individual competitions took place successively. As school buses began arriving at approximately 8 am, formally-dressed students poured into the gym to receive their competitor badges and visit each section officer candidate’s campaign booth. Open section positions included president, vice president of activities, vice president of membership, secretary-treasurer, and public relations officer.
At the opening ceremony, current section officers welcomed the student crowd and thanked the Gold Coast Section director Eric To, state officers adviser Dr. Laurie Looker, and visiting state officers from other FBLA sections and the collegiate Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) division.
Following the opening ceremony, members either went to the first round of the competitions, attended informative workshops on FBLA and college advice, or waited in the sequester room to network with new acquaintances and mentally prepare for the second round of competitions. After the event ended at noon, participants gathered at nearby Magic Mountain’s Magic Moments Theater for awards.
Hannah Bushing, who was the top qualifier in Public Speaking 1, stated,“I am really excited for the state conference. I have never experienced anything close to what the State Leadership Conference promises to be!”
Calabasas FBLA chapter president Sahar Mahboob, who placed second in Impromptu Speaking, commented, “I was jumping up and down when they announced my name.”
California FBLA strives to encourage students to set early career goals for themselves and give members a way to experience healthy competition through these conferences, and competition season will continue until the National Leadership Conference, held this June in Nashville, Tennessee.