Stories of Gumption is a regular column that profiles individuals who admirably demonstrate Gumption as we define it. These are the stories of real people who exhibit gumption in overcoming personal challenges, and validate the spirit of Gumption during their journey. Let’s take inspiration from those who seize 100% personal responsibility and show us how to live a life that exhibits Gump-like character traits worthy of applause!
This past weekend, I had the pleasure to speak to 1200+ of Montana’s finest students representing more than eighty high schools across the state. The annual conference of the Business Professionals of America (BPA) Montana Association met in Billings March 10-12, 2013.
BPA is a national organization with 43,000 members in over 2,300 chapters in 23 states. Their tagline is: “Today’s Students. Tomorrow’s Business Professionals.” The mission of Business Professionals of America is to contribute to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills.
Montana has 101 chapters, and the state is divided into eight regions.
Here is what I liked about the students I personally met.
- They are Montana’s best and brightest. The kids in BPA are the cream of the crop, as the Mayor of Billings stated in his welcome remarks.
- The organization stresses professionalism at all times, and it enforces a business attire dress and a professional code of conduct that each student voluntarily follows.
- It’s a chance for students to practice both public and group communications – the foundation of successful business practices.
- The entire conference is lead by the student directors who are elected by their peers for one-year terms. It’s an opportunity for all participants to learn and practice leadership skills. This year’s student leaders just happened to be all female.
- It proves to me that Montana’s youth do have Gumption … and makes me optimistic about Montana’s future.
My guess is that the other state associations and virtual chapters are also filled with America’s future leaders. It gives me hope and a reason to be optimistic for our Nation.