Much like the prospectors of 1849, the Winters FFA Ag Sales Team went to Sacramento and returned with gold — or rather, a first-place silver bowl. With 7,000 students present at the State Leadership Conference, one can bet this victory puts a bookmark in the Winters FFA chapter.
Taking place from March 26–29, the California FFA State Leadership Conference was an opportunity for students from 342 different FFA chapters to develop personal and team skills, discover agricultural career paths and network with new friends. For the Winters FFA Ag Sales Team of Bianca Dyer Gonzalez, Ava Skinner, Allison Aguiar and Joe Aguiar, it was a chance to cash in on months of hard work and preparation for the public speaking competition.
Dyer Gonzalez said the team practiced frequently and had two coaches who explained how the competition worked and gave the team insight on judging.
“It was helpful knowing the ins and outs of the competition and what judges were looking for,” said Dyer Gonzalez. “We just made sure we were able to have a comfortable and professional conversation with another person especially for the individual portion.”
The competition itself was made up of three parts, starting with written portion that quizzes competitors on a variety of sales topics and marketing techniques.
Next was the individual portion where competitors are all selling the same product — magazine ad space and social media posts — to a panel of judges who are acting with the personas of different customers. The competitors are then supposed identify which customer each judge is, based on questions asked and feedback.
The competition concludes with the team portion where competitors sell their product to the four different types of customers — as played by the judges. Each teammate takes a turn in the presentation and must think on their feet answering a barrage of customer queries.
“It’s interesting because you get 20 minutes before the team presentation to study customer profiles and tailor the product to fit those customers. I think we did really well collaborating in that and giving different ideas that helped us win,” Skinner said before talking about the team’s next steps. “Since we won state, that means we go on to the national FFA convention in Indiana. So, it’s a pretty big deal.”
With ample time to prepare before the competition at the national convention in October, this small-town team is looking to bring back a huge win.
“I’m looking forward to competing at the highest level possible outside of California, and of course talking to other chapters and groups outside California as well to get their perspective on FFA and how its valued there,” said Joe, who was also not shy about sharing his favorite part of the competition. “Obviously my favorite part was winning. I think that’s everybody’s favorite part when it happens.”
From their charismatic swagger to their tried and true experiential confidence, these teens are set to show the FFA nation that Winters is a chapter with which to reckon.