2017 Illinois Student Leadership Conference Recap

Article submitted by Maddie Schaafsma, CMO of Core, Inc., Timothy Christian High School

On Thursday, October 5, the average person walking into Northern Illinois University’s Naperville campus would have seen hundreds of teenagers gathered together and talking. These teenagers were not just engaging in the typical getting-to-know-you chat, but instead, networking.

The Illinois Leadership Conference offers a chance for students from VE firms all over the state to meet each other and talk about their businesses and positions within them. Students were also able to discuss how their companies could form partnerships for the year. The entire day at the Leadership Conference was focused on networking, leadership, and gaining key knowledge to grow a business.

One highlight of the day for the VE students was listening to the keynote speaker, Judy Dawson, Development Specialist at Invest Aurora, share her business experiences and give advice on how to succeed in VE and the business world. Students also had the opportunity to ask further questions during a Q&A session.

In addition to a speech from the keynote speaker, students had the chance to attend other seminars, including a Business Plan Competition session, a presentation for chief executives, and sessions set up specifically for each department such as a Graphic Design session and a Social Media session.

Here’s what some students had to say:

“The Business Plan Competition session was excellent. [The speaker] talked about how to present a business plan in a professional way. I learned a lot in this session, especially about being confident and creative. This will help me in VE and in the real world; it helps with public speaking and presenting which is a good skill to have. It was also a great opportunity to network with peers from many other schools from around the state.”

– Trent Marrera, Finance Employee, Timothy Christian High School

“I was able to learn a lot through the different seminars. I learned how to become a better leader through Mr. Young’s Chief Executive Presentation. I am looking forward to applying it in the VE classroom.”

– Catherine Carter, Chief of Administration, Timothy Christian High School

The connections and knowledge students gained at the Leadership Conference will be applicable far beyond their high school years. Students left the conference feeling inspired and more knowledgeable about business, and each firm’s success this year is sure to reflect the key information and tips acquired from this experience.

Photo gallery from the event can be found here.