Our National Business Advisory Council provides a liaison
between business and industry and BPA.


Our National Business Advisory Council provides a liaison between business and industry and BPA.

Learn More!

About The National Business Advisory Council

The National Business Advisory Council (NBAC) was established to provide a liaison between business and industry and BPA’s Board of Trustees. The purpose of the Council is to offer insight and guidance on the future of business and industry in order to assist with the development of programs that offer real-world experience for BPA students.

The membership of NBAC consists of representatives from various segments of the business community.  It is important to the organization’s Board of Trustees that the strength, knowledge and expertise of this group are utilized to help with the advancement of its members and that the make-up of the Council offers a variety of experiences and opinions from different sectors of business and industry to better serve the organization and its members.

All members of the Council are approved by the Board of Trustees based upon recommendations from the Council Chair and other members serving on the National Business Advisory Council.

Basic Expectations of Service/Participation

  • Provide industry insight to BPA programming
  • Identify and recommend ways business and industry may become involved
  • Participate in activities to obtain financial support where appropriate
  • Advocate for BPA within business and industry
  • Represent one of the assessment areas as identified by the BPA Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP)
  • Serve for a three-year appointment with the opportunity for re-appointment by the BPA Board of Trustees
  • Attend at least 40% of meetings (4 total per year including one at NLC)
  • Contribute 10+ hours per year to National Programs through any combination of the following:
    • Technical judging (NLC)
    • Micro event writing
    • Recommendations review
    • Conference calls
    • NLC judged events
    • Content Questions for online course (Next Step)
    • Virtual event Judging (Technical and Skype interviews)

National Business Advisory Council Members

David Watkins


NBAC Chair

David Watkins is the Global Learning Product Manager at Certiport, a Pearson VUE company. David oversees the learning products portfolio as well as manages and develops various business growth strategies including industry partnerships and alliances. David has over 15 years of industry experience and is responsible for successfully implementing several new product offerings that have resulted in seven figure revenue growth. David graduated from University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business with a degree in Marketing and Spanish and is the proud father of three beautiful children.

Nick Kellar


NBAC Secretary

Nick Kellar is a Data Center Engineer for Worldwide Technology located in Missouri where he performs consulting and professional services work specifically in the Information Technology Industry. Prior to joining Worldwide Technology, Nick served as a Sr. Network Engineer for Harris Corporation working for their Government Communications Department specializing in Aviation Networks. Prior to his technology career, Nick attended Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors degree in Computer Network and Information Systems. While at Wentworth, Nick interned with Cisco systems in Research Triangle Park, NC. At Cisco Nick was responsible for recreating customer networks for troubleshooting any issues that customers experience. Nick has been involved with BPA for more than a decade and supports the organization at both the state (Massachusetts) and national levels as an alumni member.

Angie Benson

Restaurant Technologies, Inc.

BPA Alumni Representative

Angie Benson is currently employed as an Inside Sales Specialist at Restaurant Technologies, Inc. She assists with sales and project management of large scale orders. She is a 2016 graduate from Ridgewater College in Minnesota. She has served as the President of the BPA National Alumni Division (2018-2019 Membership Year) and is currently serving on the BPA Board of Trustees as the Alumni Division Representative (2019-2022). She is also very active with BPA in her home state of Minnesota where she serves as the Alumni Representative on the MN College Division of BPA. She credits BPA with helping her grow and develop skills that translated into the workforce. In BPA, we start as competitors, become friends and end up being family. BPA helps you discover who you are and allows you to shine.

Symone Gamble


Symone Gamble is a Marketing and Communications professional at X, a moonshot factory based in the San Francisco Bay area. She has supported and advocated for Business Professionals of America since she was a student member in high school where she served as a state and national student officer. She has served as the President of the BPA National Alumni Division (2016-2017 Membership Year) and the BPA Board of Trustees as the Alumni Division Representative (2016-2019). In 2017, Symone was recognized by BPA as the Emerging Professional of the Year award and in addition, was elected as the Secretary of the Board’s Executive Committee.

Cedric Bandoh


Cedric Bandoh is the Chief of Staff to the Global Head & Vice President of Personal Systems Software Engineering at HP where he leads organizational strategy, planning, business operations and culture and engagement initiatives for HP’s talented PC software engineers. Cedric loves developing organizational culture and people to reach their full potential. He is an active participant in university recruiting, global diversity & inclusion, and employee engagement initiatives. Cedric has been involved with Business Professionals of America since serving as a student officer for his state while in high school. In 2016, Cedric was elected to the BPA Board of Trustees as the Business Representative, serving a three-year term from 2016-2019 and was re-elected for a second term in May 2019. aHe served as the Treasurer of the Board’s Executive Committee in 2017 before being elected to serve as Chair of the Board in 2018. He is currently serving his second term as Chair for the 2019-2020 membership year. Cedric is passionate about technology, civic engagement, education, and the arts.

Latesha Byrd, CPA

Byrd Career Consulting
(North Carolina)

Latesha Byrd is the founder and CEO of Byrd Career Consulting where she and her company help people to step out of their comfort zones and make a change that will positively impact their future and allow them to take charge of their careers. She lives by the words Purpose, Passion and Preparedness and believes everyone has a chance to create their own “way out” with the ability to mold their future and live out their dreams. Understanding that professional development is not taught in the classroom and is something that must be nurtured every day, Latesha believes it is her duty and honor to give her clients the tools to equip them with the ability to position themselves in areas of career success. Latesha is a licensed CPA being issued a North Carolina license and a recipient of the 2016 Black Chamber of Commerce 30 Under 30 Award.

Fran Kick

Kick It In

Fran Kick is an author, educational consultant and professional speaker who knows What Makes Kids KICK! He is the creator and presenter of KICK IT IN® a series of self-motivational personal leadership presentations and materials. Since taking an educational leave of absence from teaching, he has developed his part-time speaking adventure into a full-time mission. Today, Fran presents over one hundred programs every year across the U.S. and Canada to thousands of college/university, high school, junior high/middle school students, plus the many people who work with them. In addition, he works with association, convention and corporate organizations who are actively engaged in teaching and reaching today’s kids. Fran speaks at many state, regional & national conferences about What Makes Kids KICK and how they can KICK IT IN & TAKE THE LEAD. He has his B.A. in Education and a M.A. in Educational Psychology.

Margaret Manchik

Disney Destinations

Margaret Manchik is the National Sales Assistant Director, The Walt Disney Company/Disney Destinations. With over 25 years in the meetings and events industry, including 13 with The Walt Disney Company, Margaret has a passion for creating long-term relationships and supporting her clients in finding the right meeting experience. Prior to joining Disney in a national sales role with their portfolio of meeting and convention resorts, events and education, Margaret had built her career with sales and management roles in various organizations including The Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau (Now Visit Orlando), The Cavs/Gund Arena Company, Renaissance/Marriott Hotels and Resorts and Hyatt Hotels. Margaret knows the importance of investing in students and their future in the business world and is committed to being an active supporter of their efforts.

Karla Stroud

Blackboard, Inc.

Karla Stroud is a functional consultant/trainer for Blackboard, Inc. She is responsible for delivering strategic e-learning consulting services for a broad range of clients around the topics of course design, course facilitation, faculty development, and implementation of Blackboard platforms to support online teaching and learning. After her twenty-year career as a program coordinator for a web design and multimedia program at the university level, Karla returned to high school to teach web design and multimedia thus completing three years of teaching at the secondary level. In addition to teaching, Karla has been a Business Professionals of America advisor for twenty-two years. She is a former national officer and has served in a variety of capacities at the national level of Business Professionals of America.

Darlene Uren

Chinsky Restaurant Group, Inc.
DBA Penn Station East Coast Subs

Darlene Uren is a young professional and BPA alumni who has been involved with the organization at the state level for many years serving as both a student member and alumni volunteer. Joining the organization her freshman year of high school, Darlene competed in various events and also served as a state officer for BPA. She credits BPA with establishing a foundation for her current success in leadership and project management. Although her career has taken her to many different places over the years, Darlene regularly makes time to volunteer for BPA by serving as an event judge for State Leadership Conferences and the National Leadership Conference whenever she is able. Darlene is currently serving as the BPA National Alumni Division President for the 2019-2020 membership year. It is Darlene’s goal is to get more young people excited and engaged with Business Professionals of America and looks forward to the opportunity to inspire the next generation of business professionals.

Dr. LouAnn Ross, MAEd, MPPM

Ex-officio Member

BPA Executive Director/CEO  

Mark Burch

Staff Liaison

BPA Director of Member Services 

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