By Sandy Grossman
Photo by Brian Kojima
Virtual Business teams from over 15 schools in the Los Angeles area, including Santa Monica High School and John Muir High School, gathered at SPHS for the Aspire to Inspire Leadership Training day on October 1. Over 300 students attended workshops on topics ranging from team management to graphic design.
Renowned entrepreneurs, who have worked with companies such as Disney, Honda, and Microsoft, spent four hours teaching these workshops and giving advice on the inner workings of the corporate world.
The event began with a keynote address in the auditorium by 19-year-old Rachel Alaynick, a member of the State Council for the California Association of Student Councils (CASC). In her address, she spoke about the importance of viewing life with excitement, instead of trying to achieve a goal with minimal effort, both in the business world and in life.
“You must approach life from two steps back and with a running start,” Alaynick said.
The Virtual Business teams had the rest of the morning to attend the workshops set up around campus. Each one was taught by an experienced member of the business world, including Aaron Samson, a manager at Mattel who has worked on Scrabble and Pictionary, or Sue Kaplan, the CEO of Kaplan Marketing Group. Marketing team member Perah Ralin attended in order to gain new skills that will help in her position as a first-year member of varsity Virtual Business.
“The workshops were really cool. It was a great opportunity to learn from experienced business people,” Ralin said.
The SPHS Entrepreneur class served food and worked as guides for the visiting students throughout the day. The event was planned by Virtual Enterprise advisor Ms Mason, with help from the Virtual Business Club. Senior Denise Huang, who serves as the vice president of the club, also helped plan the workshops.
“I think it was a great success. The speakers and workshop leaders this year were engaging and knowledgeable, so I know that every student was able to learn from them,” Huang said.
The team is finalizing their positions and business plan before their first competition, which will take place on January 14.