Inspiring business leaders of tomorrow was the goal of Oklahoma Business Week and the foundation was established at the first-ever event on the East Central University campus, July 8-13.
High School seniors, juniors and sophomores converged on the ECU campus to gain a firsthand experience in the world of business. Students got a chance to interact and learn from community business leaders as well as gain skills in leadership, communication, team-building, responsibility, money management, entrepreneurship, marketing and more.
Students were also placed in a ‘company’ where they worked together in various events and competitions with other ‘companies’. Volunteer mentors from the business community, serving as company advisors, each worked with a small group of 8-10 students and guided them throughout the week.
The program was designed to engage teens in hands-on, experiential learning.
Among the speakers for the event was keynote speaker Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, along with Michael Prince, COO of Guess International; Bill Bridgwater, Retired Director, President and COO for three multi-billion dollar information technology corporations; Craig Scheef, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Security Bank; Brad Fenton, Founder of Fenton Motors, Monica Neal, Senior Vice President of People’s Electric Cooperative; John Hargrave, President of ECU; Wendell Godwin, Dean of the ECU School of Business; and Stacey Bolin, Oklahoma Business Week Camp Director. All nine are ECU graduates. One other speaker, State Senator Susan Paddack, received her Master of Education from ECU and served as an adjunct faculty member in ECU’s Education Department.
Several ECU alums served as company advisors for the week including Alan Marcum, Karen Hudson, Frankie Crawford and Cliff Agee. One of the other company advisors, Mick Cowan, is a former professor in the business department at ECU.
Sixteen students earned first ($1,000) and second-place ($500) scholarship awards during the week.
Capturing first-place awards and their high schools were Sydney Moore, Vinita High School; Taylor Kennedy, Lawton MacArthur High School; Megan Dillard, Ada High School; Kaylen Donelson, Vanoss High School; Chat Henry, Tupelo High School; Jesus Heredia, Cassata High School in Texas; Christian Alvarado, Deer Creek High School; Dylan West, Byng High School; and Jonathan Reed, Ninnekah High School.
Picking up second-place awards were Ilyssa Owen, Carl Albert High School; Miranda McNabb, Bristow High School; Jami Rosser, Latta High School; Kylan Atkinson, Harding Fine Arts Academy; Baylee Williams, Chickasha High School; Keisha Goodner, Roff High School; and Clayton Caulkins, Weatherford High School.
“One of the comments we received from a student is that it was the best camp she had ever been to and didn’t expect that learning about business was so much fun,” said Bolin.
According to Bolin, plans are for a bigger OBW for next summer with the soon-to-be opening of the new ECU School of Business and Conference Center. The date for the 2013 camp is June 2-7. For information on Oklahoma Business Week go to http://okbusweek.com