Leadership conference uses military-based training to prepare high school students for leadership roles

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‘It’s something, not like the usual sitdown and have a meeting with the District 10 like we usually do,” explained Nevada DECA President Malani Coonrod.

Coonrod is at a leadership conference at True North Enterprises — a consulting agency that focuses on leadership development from a military point of view. She is involved in the school group called Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA).

“It’s a great opportunity to have kids from high school that are going into the workforce to better understand how to communicate with each other, a better understanding to learn from each other,” explained Jimmy Burgess with True North Exterprises. “People that have different strengths and weaknesses learn how they can use that to better and improve their team.”

9th through 12th grade students learn from military veterans what it means to become a leader in life and at work.

“All of us have worked outside civilian jobs, too, so we can bring and mesh both together the civilian leadership and the military leadership that we have learned over the years,” Burgess added.

Students participated in several team bonding activities like an escape room and axe throwing. These activities are meant to teach students to communicate with their team and empower their peers.

“You can tell they want to get to know you and they want to make your leadership skills better and I think that just shows they care about you and want us to have better leadership skills,” Coonrod added.

“It’s about them. We want them to improve on who they are and improve their DECA team,” said Burgess.

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