Each year, the National Management Association (NMA), a global leadership organization, sponsors the Speech Contest for high school students across the country. DCR Workforce supported this event by permitting someone to volunteer as timekeeper to help out at the local chapter level. Formerly, I’ve helped judge the speeches for the last several years.
Students from area high schools travelled to the Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to participate in the local chapter round. The Lockheed Martin Leadership Association (LMLA) Organization, a chapter of the NMA, sponsored the event. Each student is required to give a four- to six-minute speech on their view of leadership and how it helps shape the leaders of tomorrow. The primary purpose of the contest is to promote better understanding of leadership and to reinforce the importance of leadership development all across the globe.
The students research, write and deliver a speech based on their interpretation of a variety of leadership topics. Topics include leadership in the world, its applications to the free enterprise systems and what leadership means to them personally. At the local level, the judging panel is made up of Lockheed Martin managers and senior members of LMLA. The top three students were awarded a cash prize and received LMLA gear. The remaining contestants received $50 just for participating.
The top three students from the various local chapter rounds then move on to the state level competition. For the last few years, the state level contest has been at the University of Texas at Arlington, a local college that has partnered with NMA. At the state level, the judges are comprised of NMA board members and various industry leaders, such as Boeing, Raytheon, Alcatel-Lucent and Lockheed Martin.
As before, the top three winners move on to participate in the super regional contest. The winners received a college scholarship or cash prizes. Unlike the local round, they didn’t give out participation prizes.
During the national conference (last year held in Reno, Nevada) the top four regional level winners compete for the grand prize. The winner received a $4,000 cash prize. NMA members take enormous pride in their program and herald the contest as one of their greatest contributions to understanding and promoting leadership development to a whole new generation.
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