Future Business Leaders Prepped for Success

January 27th 2015, Written by Jahla Seppanen


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Hundreds of high school students gathered in Denver this week for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Colorado Leadership Conference, hoping to answer this very question. Sheri Smith of the Indigo Education Company, among others, spoke with students about the skills they need to achieve their dreams.

“General manager for a sports team,” Andres Vizurraga of Littleton High School said, when asked to state his career plan.

“Owner of my own photography business,” said classmate Julia Arellano-Votaw.

Together with their fellow future business leaders, Andres and Julia formed a sea of teenagers all appearing as if they had worked in business for a decade: suits, ties, dresses, blazers, eye-contact, confidence, and - most of all - a plan.

This is the genius of FBLA, a non-profit education organization dedicated to preparing students for the business world. In an effort tobring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs, the FBLA cultivates vital skills not taught in traditional classrooms. At the Colorado Leadership Conference, students learned the importance of Resiliency, Self-Management, Teamwork, Personal Accountability, Negotiation, and Futuristic Thinking, among others. These non-academic skills, which are measured by Indigo Education’s Assessment technology, will directly and positively impact student success during the transition from classroom to career.

During the conference, CEO of the Indigo Education Company Sheri Smith spoke with FBLA students about career paths and values development. Smith is a believer in the power of non-academic strengths; she has tailored her company’s Assessment tool to measure skills gaps that may hinder students’ capacity for success after graduation. Indigo is currently partnering with schools across the nation, creating innovative ways to incorporate these underdeveloped job-skills into pre-existing curricula. Indigo, along with FBLA, believes that teaching non-academic skills will accelerate student success in and beyond the classroom.

Both Andres and Julia attest to the positive impact FBLA’s business training has had on their future career plans, as well as their self-awareness and confidence. “I didn’t know there was a proper way to interview,” Julia said.

FBLA is among the top 10 organizations listed by the U.S. Department of Education, and it services over a quarter million students around the country. Participation in job-skills education equips individuals like Andres and Julia with confidence and preparedness they would not have gained from a traditional classroom.

We all answer the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” FBLA students, however, face a new and perhaps more important question: “Are you prepared for the job?”