Area Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and HOSA students were able to develop their leadership, communication and financial skills at the FBLA Fall District Leadership Conference held Friday at Northeastern Junior College.

The conference started with an opening session and a welcome from state FBLA officers Tyler Wylie, state president (Akron High School); Lauren Hayden, District 6 vice president (Pueblo Centennial High School); Megan Waitman, District 3 vice president (Idalia High School); Briauna McFadden, District 4 vice president (Haxtun High School); and state HOSA officers Josh Foronda, postsecondary vice president (University of Colorado – Colorado Springs); and Cougar LeSueur, president-elect.

FBLA and HOSA state officers welcome students to the annual FBLA Fall District Leadership Conference. From left: Cougar LeSueur, HOSA president-elect; Josh

FBLA and HOSA state officers welcome students to the annual FBLA Fall District Leadership Conference. From left: Cougar LeSueur, HOSA president-elect; Josh Foronda, HOSA postsecondary vice president; Briauna McFadden, FBLA District 4 vice president; Megan Waitman, FBLA District 3 vice president; Tyler Wylie, FBLA state president; Lauren Hayden, FBLA District 6 vice president. (Callie Jones / Sterling Journal-Advocate)

“We are excited to start off another great year of Colorado CTSOs (Career and Technical Student Organizations) with this conference,” Hayden said. “We will learn how to better contribute to the achievements of our local, state and national chapters and student organizations.”

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence for CTSO students in Las Vegas, FBLA and HOSA members took part in a networking activity to get to know other students.

Ashley Brinton, from TRI Leadership Resources, LLC, the group that led the conference, spoke about the importance of networking. She told a story about hearing a professor talking to someone else about how they needed a secretary; she went up to that professor, shook her hand, introduced herself and told her she had overheard her say she needed some help. Brinton was able to land a job with the professor on the spot, which led to her meeting her husband.

“Networking is super, super important,” she told students. “I encourage you take the opportunity today, take the time to network with your fellow CTSO members, because you never know who’s here today and what they can provide for your life.”

After the opening sessions, students were able to choose five out of over 20 workshops to attend, led by Brinton and two other leaders from Tri Leadership Resources, Patrick T. Grady and Jonie Ternes.

Ashley Brinton, of TRI Leadership Resources, LLC, talks about the importance of networking at the FBLA Fall District Leadership Conference.

Ashley Brinton, of TRI Leadership Resources, LLC, talks about the importance of networking at the FBLA Fall District Leadership Conference. (Callie Jones / Sterling Journal-Advocate)

In a “Messages That Matter” workshop, Grady spoke about how to give presentations. He noted everyone has their own individual styles of communicating — a dynamic voice, an ability to sing, a strong enthusiasm, humor, educational speaking, using multimedia such as videos and PowerPoint presentations, etc.

“Find what works for you,” Grady told the students.”There are no real rules; the only thing you can do wrong is lose your audience.”

He also went over the steps of a presentation: Identify your audience, think about what your message is and what you want to say, and have delivering your message review what you said.

At the end of the workshop, FBLA and HOSA members were asked to write and deliver a 30-second conversation speech talking about their organization and why they joined.

Patrick T. Grady, of TRI Leadership Resources LLC, leads students in a singing warm-up activity during the opening session of the FBLA District Fall

Patrick T. Grady, of TRI Leadership Resources LLC, leads students in a singing warm-up activity during the opening session of the FBLA District Fall Leadership Conference. He also led one a workshop on how to give “Messages That Matter.” (Callie Jones / Sterling Journal-Advocate)

During an “In vs. Involved” workshop, Ternes spoke about the importance of increasing membership in your organization, because that increases the strength of your organization and will allow for more ideas.

She also talked about how to be a member that’s engaged, versus just a member, by being involved as a chapter officer, helping to plan activities, competing in events, etc.

In another workshop, Brinton went over the “5 Tools Every Chapter Member Needs to Lead.” Those tools include self-development; being prepared to take whatever is thrown at you; engagement, being an engaged member of the group who goes out of your way to be involved; a personal leadership plan or self, family, team, organizational and community goals; and an online presence to promote your organization.

Other workshops focused on getting prepared for college, how to dress and act professional, networking, creating a resume, leadership hacks, things people do that others wish they didn’t, financial fitness, the opportunities FBLA provides and the opportunities that HOSA provides.

Callie Jones: 970-526-9286, cjones@journal-advocate.com