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Interview with an NLC Competitor

Written by Caitlyn Yates, Rogue Umpqua Region Vice President

The 2017 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California was filled with fun rides, grueling competitive events, and never-ending networking. There were many different ways to experience it, from attending the Institute for Leaders, to competing again the best in the nation, to serving as a national voting delegate. For an exclusive perspective, I interviewed Mady Gibbs from Oakland High School, who placed ninth in Client Service, to see how she felt about her experience. 

What was your experience with competing?

“All of the competitors that I interacted with had a super positive attitude, and everyone wanted to meet everyone else. Obviously, it was an intense environment because of the high stakes, but it was incredibly fun overall.”

How did it feel to hear your name called for the top ten?

“That was the most nerve-wracking part, especially since my name was last. I thought I was either going to pass out or be sick, but I managed to make it through relatively unscathed. ...I may or may not have tripped on the stairs off of the stage though.”

What was going through your mind as you shook the National Officer's hand and as you received your trophy?

“My parents are probably freaking out! This is the National FBLA President that I’m shaking hands with, and I'm getting money for this!”

How was it different from when you placed at state?

“Honestly, the feeling on stage was really similar. Hearing your name called and shaking hands goes by way faster than it looks, especially when I looked back on the footage. But nationals felt different simply from the sheer amount of people in the room. I knew it was a bigger deal, even if I tried to ignore it.”

How did it feel when you found out you were the first person from your chapter to even make it to finals?

“I don’t think the information actually registered until a while after I found out, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t react at all at first. But it’s been amazing to represent my chapter in such a positive way. So, I’ll say that it feels like I have been given the opportunity to elevate our chapter to new heights.”

What do you plan to compete in next year?

“Next year, depending on the topic that’s given, I plan to compete in Business Ethics with a fellow chapter member and state officer, Caitlyn Yates. If we agree the topic isn’t a good fit, I’ll talk to my adviser about what she thinks would work better.”

After having conversations with her and hearing what it was like to stand on that stage, I’m sure I am not alone when I say that I’m excited to try next year! Congratulations to everyone from Oregon to make it on stage. Click here to access a list of all Oregon winners.