IBEA members—Welcome to 2016! The Illinois Business Education Association will continue to thrive because each of you is continually Switching It On with legislators, businesses, school boards, and, especially, students. There is a vast amount of information about resources which are available via our website, details about opportunities for professional recognition, and more.

2015 Fall Conference
The 2015 annual fall conference was held November 11-13 at the Hilton-Springfield with 186 people in attendance. The theme for the conference was "IBEA—Power of the Past; Force of the Future; Switch It On!" From the conference reviews, many of you enjoyed the vast amount of knowledge from the sessions offered. Two tours were offered, including US Bank and Horace Mann. If you were unable to take advantage of last fall's conference, mark your calendars for 2016 now!

2016 Fall Conference
The greatest professional opportunity for Illinois business educators is the annual IBEA Conference. The 2016 conference, "Celebrating Business Teacher Education!" will be held at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre from November 9-11. Plan to attend this great conference. IBEA First Vice-President Diane Mahinda and the Program Planning Committee have been diligently preparing a superior schedule. Some of the key features of the conference are:

Tours of local businesses
Over 40 sessions
A welcoming reception
Outstanding exhibitors

In order to make this year's conference successful, please send your session proposal form to Diane Mahinda. Visit the IBEA website at www.ibea.org and follow the link for "Call for Presenters" in the right column or contact the IBEA First Vice-President at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, please contact IBEA Second Vice-President Christie Hovey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or complete the form via the IBEA website to be a session chairperson. Please be sure to contact your EFE Director if you need funding assistance to attend the 2016 conference. Start looking today for funding sources, and let your administrators know how important these excellent professional development activities are. We must continue to make business education a focal point at the local and state levels. Legislators and employers must hear from us on a continual basis in order for our classrooms, and ultimately, our students, to continue to thrive.

Local Affiliates
Another wonderful opportunity for members is their local affiliate. Please read the affiliate reports in this issue to learn more about chances to network with professionals in your region. Many affiliates offer wonderful tours and professional development meetings for their members. By connecting with IBEA members close to you, you will find unlimited possibilities to share new ideas and strategies. In addition, I first became involved as a presenter with my local affiliate, CABEA, and then became involved at the state level; please seek opportunities to serve at both levels!

Awards and Scholarships
You are also encouraged to nominate members from your affiliate for one of the many awards presented at our fall conference each year. The IBEA awards are an exceptional way for members to be acknowledged for professional achievements. Winners at IBEA who meet the criteria will be forwarded for consideration at regional and national levels.  In addition to award nominations, consider sponsoring a candidate for one of the Dora J. Beattie IBEA Scholarships. These scholarships are a wonderful incentive for those just entering our profession as well as seasoned colleagues who are continuing their education.

Member Representation
As IBEA members you are provided resources, publications, and updates on legislative activities that impact you. Members attending the 2015 conference were given informational brochures and promotional posters that can be used to share the importance of business education with others. If you are not a part of the IBEA listserv, get connected to members throughout Illinois via this valuable source. The listserv provides updates on legislative actions regarding Illinois business education, teacher pensions, and more.

As IBEA President, I traveled to the Association for Career and Technical Education Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana; the conference was held the week immediately following the IBEA conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn what teachers in career and technical education from around the country are doing to promote their programs and increase enrollment.

Along with several members of IBEA, I attended the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education Conference in Peoria, Illinois, on February 18 and 19, 2016. The conference planning committee provided great professional development sessions, and IBEA was responsible for securing several of the sessions. IACTE advocates for all areas of career and technical education at the state level; it is important for us to support IACTE as well. If you are not a member, or have allowed your membership to lapse, please consider joining or renewing membership with IACTE today—we must maintain a strong voice to advocate for our programs!

March 22-26, 2016, I attended the National Business Education Association Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Please make plans to attend these exciting professional development opportunities. I always look forward to seeing familiar faces and making new friends from Illinois at these meetings.

Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have questions or suggestions to improve our organization. I look forward to serving you this year—continue to promote business education and "Switch It On" in your classroom and in our state—business education is the "Power of the Past" and will continue to be the "Force of the Future"!

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