On Oct. 19, more than a hundred participants attended the Future Business Leaders of America District 12 Fall District Meeting hosted by Williamsville East High School.
Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school students learn more about the business world.
There are several levels within the organization: chapter, district, state, regional and national. Members can win awards at the state and national leadership conferences. Moreover, the location of the national competition changes every year, giving students a chance to travel across the country.
With all these opportunities, it is no surprise this club has been well received by schools nationwide.
For example, at Williamsville East, there are 334 members, a more than 20 percent increase from the previous year, making it the largest club in the school.
"What’s great about FBLA is that it not only provides knowledge needed to survive in the business world; it also provides life lessons needed to survive in college," said Michelle Anzalone, adviser of the Williamsville East FBLA chapter.
The Fall District Meeting, also known as the FDM, kicked off with a speech by Alanna Kramer, a senior at Williamsville East and the state vice president for District 12, who organized the meeting. Five chapters were present: Clarence High School, Eden High School, St. Francis High School, Tonawanda High School, and Williamsville East. Each chapter’s officers were formally inducted into FBLA through a candle ceremony.
"This club has been a meaningful part of my high school career … I am so honored to be a chapter officer," Madeleine MacLean, a junior at Williamsville East, said.
To end the opening session, a keynote speaker, Alan Kramer, talked to the students about the importance of helping others and making connections in business.
After the successful opening session, the second part of the meeting involved workshops. Ani Nrusimha, a senior at Williamsville East, said, "(Workshops are) my favorite part of FDM … Between running and attending them, these past years I have learned countless lessons and made many new friends."
The two workshops, " ‘Suit Up, Step Up’ with FBLA on the State Level" and "Survivor" were presented by Ani Nrusimha and Alanna Kramer.
The first workshop was an overview of this year’s state theme, "Suit Up, Step Up," and encouraged students to develop business leadership by running for state office.
The second workshop, "Survivor," was a team-building event, where students from different chapters were combined to form teams. This strengthened the confidence of students in themselves and each other.
The last part of the meeting was a networking session. Students were required to make personal business cards beforehand so they could exchange cards during this session, much like in real business.
While exchanging cards, numerous students talked about their goals in FBLA.
One outgoing networker was Scott Edwards, a sophomore from Eden High School.
"My goal in FBLA is to actually do something for the community, put myself forward, and develop things to make the world a better place," he said.
Scott explained that this year is his first in the club, but he was already eager to make projects and compete in events.
As the Fall District Meeting came to a close, many people had positive words about FBLA.
"The best thing about being an adviser by far is seeing the growth and excitement of members," said Anzalone.
Ann Wang, a junior at Williamsville East, adds with a smile, "FBLA has definitely changed who I am."
Sharon Luo is a sophomore at Williamsville East High School.