Future Business Leaders of Oak Park participate in first annual conference of the year

Students experience first ever online Leadership Development Institute convention

The Future Business Leaders of America club attended the annual Leadership Development Institute, a two-day conference on Saturday Nov. 14. Unlike the past years, the convention was condensed to be a single day and transformed to be entirely online. 

“[Oak Park High School] had about 45 members go, and there were workshop sessions, keynote speakers, some networking opportunities to get to know other people and [the opportunity to] take official practice tests that modeled the section and state conference tests,” senior and FBLA co-president Krisha Thakur said.

LDI is one of the three conferences that FBLA does every year. LDI acts as the club’s first conference, then section competition and finally, for the select few that make it, state. 

“Usually we drive out to the convention center: Anaheim [and] Ontario. Those were two we went to before,” Thakur said. “This definitely wasn’t as immersive as it would be if we were in person, but I think everyone still had fun.” 

FBLA also appoints freshmen board members to shadow the older cabinet members like the presidents, secretary and more. 

“I haven’t been to LDI before, but based on what I’ve heard, being online has definitely changed the conference and its experience quite a bit. But I can say that given the circumstances, the LDI fulfilled its purpose to teach and inform [attendees],” FBLA freshmen-appointed board member President Associate Ayush Natarjan said. 

In order to motivate FBLA club members during COVID-19 and inspire incoming members to put in effort, the co-captains have organized an incentive system of points.

“[The board] has made it so that if you come to a meeting, organize a state project, do well in your events [and even] just participate and engage in the general club, we assign you points. Then, if you accumulate enough points you can redeem them,” Thakur said. 

These awards come in forms of merchandise, priority choice in certain competitive events [and] conference discounts. At LDI, the board members noticed first hand the difference in motivation between in person and online conferencing.

“Being online has really changed the overall experience of FBLA and, more specifically, our conferences,” senior and FBLA co-president Beshane Bans. “LDI as a whole didn’t have the level of social engagement as it used to for being completely virtual, but I still applaud the California FBLA board for putting on a great conference with engaging workshops and events.”

Despite the drawbacks of being online, the club remains hopeful for the future section and state competitions that LDI has prepared them for.

“Our hopes are the incentive system will continue to motivate our members to put in effort because there is so much to learn at FBLA competitions and it’s really worth the time,” Bans said.