Tips on Running for State Office
Considering running for state office? Congratulations! Running for the Oklahoma Business Professionals of America State Executive Council is an exciting, but extremely daunting time. The difference between your success or failure could be determined by something seemingly minute, like not having your campaign expenses posted at your campaign booth.
However, if you’re well prepared, you won’t run into any preventable complications.
Here are some tips on the application and candidate screening process:
- First, make sure you have the time and commitment to completely devote yourself not only to the campaign process, but throughout your entire office term. In the application, you will sign agreeing to put BPA before all extracurricular activities.
- If you have any questions or doubts, get in contact with current or former State Council members. They will likely be more than willing to advise you in any way they can.
- Compose yourself in a reputable manor on all social media sites. Your social media accounts reflect not only on you, but BPA as an organization.
- Thoroughly review the application before making your final decision. Yes, it is long, but it consists of information and requirements that you must fully understand.
- Keep in mind, your school/technology center grades and absences will be taken into consideration when your application is reviewed.
- Have an idea of what position you believe suits your talents and why you would be best at it.
- Practice giving scripted speeches without rehearsing them beforehand. You will read an impromptu speech before a panel of judges if you advance to candidate screening day.
- Ask an English teacher to review your application before turning it in. This will help limit any mistakes or errors you might have made.
- Turn in your application weeks before the deadline. This is a small thing you can do to give yourself a favorable look.
- Prepare for your panel of judges’ interview by practicing with your advisor.
- Study the Merit Scholar test, Oklahoma BPA Bylaws, the Torch Program, BPA Cares, Parliamentary Procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,) and the history of BPA as much as possible. If your application is accepted, you will be required to take a BPA knowledge exam on screening day.
- Give your teachers a good amount of time to write your letters of recommendation. Not only is this respectful, but it allows them time to ensure their letter is well-written.
- Create a unique, memorable campaign, and have it planned out well before screening day. Your campaign speech is one of the few opportunities delegates receive to see what you’re all about.
- Create friendships with the other candidates. This will make the process less intimidating, and these could be the people you potentially serve with.
- Lastly, enjoy the experience and stay genuine during your campaign. Herman Melville once said, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
Running for state office and succeeding has given me many diverse opportunities to serve our members, which has been an excellent personal growth experience. I’ve created relationships that are determined to last a lifetime and developed unique skill sets that only BPA can provide.
Regardless of whether you’re elected or not, running for the SEC is an amazing experience that will teach you many important life skills.
Best of luck,
2018-2019 Oklahoma BPA State Reporter