Jackie Schiller and Student

Minnesota DECA & BPA Executive Director Turns Climate of Uncertainty Into Opportunity

As we all face uncertainty in response to Covid-19, Minnesota DECA & Minnesota Business Professionals of America (BPA) Executive Director Jackie Schiller is seizing the moment to discover new educational opportunities. She manages two secondary organizations, which are career and technical student organizations (CTSO) for business students across Minnesota, and is involved in working with state boards, overseeing membership services and state officer teams, along with organizing state conferences and activities.

Schiller’s relationship with FIDM started during her 12-year tenure on the DECA National Board of Directors. DECA recently recognized FIDM’s 40 years of service on DECA’s National Advisory Board (NAB). The NAB is composed of major corporations, foundations, colleges and associations that provide recommendations, advice and support to the DECA National Board of Directors.

With the current shift towards online learning as schools have closed, Schiller feels her role continues to evolve. The current environment has allowed her to look towards a new future and connect with students from across Minnesota. When the pandemic hit, she started to attend chapter meetings via Zoom with Minnesota DECA & Minnesota BPA from across the state. Both of the boards she oversees are now engaging with each other during virtual coffee meetings to brainstorm ways in which both organizations can support Minnesota DECA & BPA advisors during these uncertain days.

Schiller also connects state association DECA & BPA leaders across the country and feels the current times warrant thinking outside the box, reflecting on their strengths and staying compassionate with one another.

Looking to the future, she is now strategizing and planning next year’s state leadership conferences. She believes it is important to devote more time in reaching out to students and engaging with her state officers to maintain connection.

What is the future of learning? She believes the future will also involve the inclusion of more programs such as the FIDM Entrepreneur of Tomorrow Challenge. Schiller feels is the perfect type of program schools need going forward, to make a positive impact in the distancing learning curriculum. Sponsored by FIDM, the challenge provides an opportunity for DECA students to present an entrepreneurial proposal for a new product idea for a specific market segment, through an online video. Over the years, several of Schiller’s Minnesota DECA Chapters have participated in the FIDM Entrepreneur of Tomorrow Challenge and in early March 2020, her chapter at Alexandria Area High School won 3rd place. “It was forward thinking when it was developed and it is even more important moving forward than ever before,” said Schiller.