Business Professionals of America

Business Professionals of America (BPA) is a career and technical student organization that is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.[1]

Business Professionals of America
Formation1966; 58 years ago (1966)
TypeYouth organization
Legal statusIntra-curricular non-profit organization
HeadquartersColumbus, Ohio
Region served
United States
Over 45,000 (More than 1,800 chapters) in 25 states, Puerto Rico, and China
National Presidents
Lucy Christensen (Secondary National President) and Amber Lane (Post-secondary National President)
Formerly called
  • Vocational Office Education Clubs of America (VOECA)
  • Office Education Association (OEA)


Former logo of the organization

Every Business Professionals of America chapter has presiding officers for the national organization, state associations, and local chapters. They all share and carry out similar tasks at the corresponding levels. Additionally, national virtual membership is open to any Middle Level, Secondary, or Post-secondary student in a state not currently chartering a stand-alone school chapter or virtual chapter.[2] National virtual chapter members are able to go straight into national levels of competition.

At the national level, the national officers are collectively referred to as the Executive Council. They represent the national organization at various conferences and meetings during their term and have the opportunity to make recommendations to the National Board of Trustees.

The Executive Council for the Secondary Division is composed of up to six officer positions, including

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Historian
  • Parliamentarian

The Executive Council for the Post-secondary Division is composed of up to four officer positions, including

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Parliamentarian

The 2023-2024 National Officers are

Secondary Division:

  • Lucy Christensen (Idaho) - President
  • Melina LaPlante (Montana) - Vice President
  • Abby Renoux (Iowa) - Secretary
  • Annelise Do (Texas) - Treasurer
  • Sophia Pinarreta (Massachusetts) - Historian
  • John Woodward (Iowa) - Parliamentarian

Post-secondary Division:

  • Amber Lane (Indiana) - President
  • Sreya Ravi (Massachusetts) - Vice President
  • Victoria Pinarreta (Massachusetts - Secretary/Treasurer
  • Tavin Blake (Idaho) - Parliamentarian



Types of awards


BPA rewards members in three categories:

  • Competitive Events: Members are rewarded for high placement in competitive events using the Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP), preparing students for success in the business world by developing skills in areas such as finance, IT, and computer applications.[5]
  • BPA Cares Awards: Members can apply or nominate others for awards in the areas of Service Learning, Special Recognition, and Professional Awards.[6]
  • Torch Awards: Members are rewarded for excellence in seven categories, Citizenship; Leadership; Love, Hope, and Faith; Knowledge; Cooperation; and Friendship.[7]

Leadership conferences


There are several levels of competition held at conferences and competition advancement is sought at each level in events referred to in the awards section.

  • Regional Leadership Conference (RLC) or District Leadership Conference (DLC)
  • State Leadership Conference (SLC)
  • National Leadership Conference (NLC)

Many regions, districts, or states opt to also arrange Fall Leadership Conferences in which there is no competition. These conferences are usually less formal than at RLC/DLC, SLC, and NLC instead often focusing on workshops over areas such as social media etiquette, proper professional dress, public speaking, etc.[8]

The inaugural Student Leadership Summit was held in 2023 in Oklahoma City.[9]

National Leadership Conference


Every year BPA hosts a National Leadership Conference (NLC) with more than 6,000 students from across the nation. Student members vie for top honors in more than 100 competitive events, receive awards for chapter and individual achievements, participate in service activities, attend leadership workshops, and network with peers and business professionals.

Past National Leadership Conference Locations [10]

Year Location Dates
1967 Green Lake, Wisconsin
1968 Des Moines, Iowa
1969 Kansas City, Missouri
1970 Fort Worth, Texas
1971 Indianapolis, Indiana
1972 Columbus, Ohio
1973 Albuquerque, New Mexico
1974 Minneapolis, Minnesota
1975 Chicago, Illinois
1976 Topeka, Kansas
1977 Houston, Texas
1978 Detroit, Michigan
1979 Cincinnati, Ohio
1980 Minneapolis, Minnesota
1981 San Antonio, Texas (Secondary)
Corpus Christi, Texas (Post-Secondary)
1982 Nashville, Tennessee
1983 Chicago, Illinois (Secondary)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Post-Secondary)
1984 Indianapolis, Indiana
1985 Houston, Texas
1986 Columbus, Ohio
1987 Des Moines, Iowa
1988 Louisville, Kentucky
1989 Dallas, Texas
1990 Minneapolis, Minnesota
1991 Orlando, Florida
1992 Cincinnati, Ohio
1993 San Antonio, Texas
1994 San Francisco, California
1995 Nashville, Tennessee
1996 Phoenix, Arizona
1997 Orlando, Florida
1998 San Antonio, Texas
1999 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2000 Minneapolis, Minnesota
2001 Anaheim, California
2002 Chicago, Illinois
2003 Dallas, Texas
2004 Cincinnati, Ohio
2005 Anaheim, California
2006 Orlando, Florida May 10–14
2007 New York City, New York May 9–13
2008 Reno, Nevada May 7–11
2009 Dallas, Texas May 6–10
2010 Anaheim, California May 5–9
2011 Washington, DC May 4–8
2012 Chicago, Illinois April 25–29
2013 Orlando, Florida May 8–12
2014 Indianapolis, Indiana April 30 - May 4
2015 Anaheim, California May 6–10
2016 Boston, Massachusetts May 5–9
2017 Orlando, Florida May 10–14
2018 Dallas, Texas May 9–13
2019 Anaheim, California May 1–5
2020 Washington, DC Canceled (Formerly May 6–10)
2021 Virtual May 5–9
2022 Dallas, Texas May 4–8
2023 Anaheim, California April 26–30
2024 Chicago, Illinois May 10-14


Future National Leadership Conference Locations [12]

Year Location Dates
2025 Orlando, Florida May 7–11
2026 Nashville, Tennessee May 6–10
2027 Denver, Colorado May 5–9
2028 Orlando, Florida May 10–14
2029 Washington, DC May 9–13



Business Professionals of America was formed in 1966 as the Office Education Association (OEA).[13]

Year Event
1963 Vocational Education Act was passed. The need for a student organization for students enrolled in career/technical office/business programs was recognized.
1964 American Vocational Association conducted a study of 43 states indicating that 67% of the state vocational education supervisors wanted a career/technical youth group for students in office/business programs.
1965 Another study confirms the ’64 study findings; State supervisors meet to develop guidelines.
1966 In July, the Vocational Office Education Clubs of America (VOECA) was formed by the states of Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin. In August, VOECA convened a meeting of youth group representatives to decide the most effective means to implement the office occupations youth group. After intensive effort, articles of incorporation were filed for the Office Education Association (OEA). The first three states to affiliate were Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
1971 A national office was established for the Office Education Association in Columbus, Ohio, and the Board of Trustees approved the Alumni Division.
1973 The first full-time Executive Director of OEA was employed.
1982 The present National Center at 5454 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio was purchased.
1983 Dedication ceremonies for the new National Center were conducted in July.
1984 Board of Trustees commissioned the Market One firm of Columbus, Ohio to do a marketing study of the OEA. The resulting long-range marketing plan recommended reform of the national image of the OEA.
1988 Image reform recommendations of the marketing study were implemented—the OEA became Business Professionals of America.
1992 The National Center is paid off and the mortgage is burned in a ceremony at the National Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1998-2002 Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas pilot a New BPA Middle Level program.
2002 The Middle Level Program was approved by the Board of Trustees.
2003 The Middle Level Program was approved by BPA Corporate. The BPA Middle Level Division is born.
2004 Middle Level Division members participate in the National Leadership Conference.
2006 BPA celebrates its 40th birthday.
2009 The first rescheduling of a National Leadership Conference was in Dallas, Texas. This rescheduling was due to the H1N1 Influenza.
2012 First Walk for Special Olympics held at the 2012 National Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL.
2013 National virtual competitions introduced online.
2015 First BPA Day of Service held at the 2015 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, CA. Over 3,800 service activities were completed during this event.
2016 BPA Celebrates five decades of student achievement with its 50-Year Anniversary in Boston, MA and set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people wearing tie dye Fenway Park.
2017 The 2017-2018 National Officer Team created BPA United, a project and donation system that provided support to those members that were in regions devastated by major hurricanes.
2018 During the 2018 NLC in Dallas, the National Showcase Business Panel is officially adopted featuring a Q&A session with high-profile business partners, including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Social Assurity and Precision Exams.
2019 BPA Unveils New Logo: This is the first major brand refresh for BPA in over 30 years and helps guide the organization into the 21st century. The updates include a new logo, tagline, design approach and brand colors. The new elements will be present on the BPA website, social media channels, communications and marketing.
2020 The BPA Board of Trustees made the decision to cancel the 2020 National Leadership Conference. It was scheduled to be held May 6–10 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center located in Washington, DC[14] This was the first time in the organization's history that the National Leadership Conference had been cancelled.


  1. ^ "Our Culture".
  2. ^ "BPA Virtual Chapters". Business Professionals of America. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  3. ^ "National Officers".
  4. ^ "Run for National Office".
  5. ^ "Business Professionals of America".
  6. ^ "BPA Cares".
  7. ^ "Torch Awards".
  8. ^ "Fall, Regional, and State Leadership Conferences".
  9. ^ pschultz (2023-06-08). "2023 Student Leadership Summit". Business Professionals of America. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  10. ^ "Past and Future NLC Conferences". Discover Your Purpose. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  11. ^ "NLC Headquarters - Discover Your Purpose". 2023-07-01. Archived from the original on 2023-07-01. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  12. ^ "Past and Future NLC Conferences". Discover Your Purpose. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  13. ^ "Our History".
  14. ^ "2020 National Leadership Conference Update". 13 March 2020.