Area CEOs Talk Careers at Bemidji High School’s 4th Annual “CEO in the Classroom”
Bemidji High School welcomed 17 CEOs from around the area this past Wednesday to talk to ninth grade students about their future and financial plans after high school as well as providing their personal career journeys.
“It’s kind of similar to what we do with the [Bemidji] Career Academies and that there’s a lot of members of our community who want to get in and talk to the students. What I really like about the program and how I really feel like it fits with the Career Academies and one of the reasons why we continue it is that it’s real stories that the students are hearing and it’s real pathways that students are hearing. These are members of our community who didn’t graduate from high school and say, ‘I’m going to do this for the rest of my life,’ and I think that’s really meaningful for our students to hear,” said Bemidji Career Academies School Counselor Jenny Fraley.
Each CEO was assigned to a link leader, who was responsible for taking their CEO to their respective homeroom class. Each class had a variety of ninth grade students with different career goals.
“This is my first year helping out and again, this was a great opportunity to be available and be included in regards to helping the students learn about what skills and tools are realistically needed to be successful, and so that was fun engagement; we had lots of good interaction between the students and I when it came to actually, what are the tools that they have that will help them, and the career academy helps set them up for success by providing some of those tools that they can use to be successful,” said Independent Contractor Scott Nyegaard.
CEO presentations were geared around the topic of being financially aware and equipped for real-world situations.
“What they do today matters about their career, also setting a good example right now, taking classes, being responsible on social media, etc., and then also maybe the biggest surprise was the expenses: how much it costs for an apartment, for car insurance, utilities, etc.,” said Pinnacle Marketing Group CEO Shelly Geerdes.
“I always hope that our students find a connection to their own lives and to what they’re thinking they might want to do, so even if they didn’t connect with the industry that their CEO was in, that they can connect to that person and say, ‘hey, he kind of made it or she made it and I can do the same thing.’ So to kind of, again, make that connection between what they’re doing in school now and what comes after,” said Fraley. “For our CEOs, I really hope that they take away from this that our students are eager to learn and eager to become apart of the workforce and that they can see that and can feel like they made an impact as well.”
This event shows students that although there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere, building connections and relationships with those in your local community is just as important.
CEO in the Classroom is a collaborative effort between the staff at the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce and Bemidji High School Career Academies.