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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

Northview business students California-bound

Neeraj Alavala, Keshav Pandiri earn trip to national conference

At a recent meeting, the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce heard a presentation from the two Northview FBLA students who placed first in FBLA state competition.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Everyone knows social media is an important tool in business, but using it well is a difficult skill to acquire. Two Northview High School students, Keshav Pandiri and Neeraj Alavala, are using their social media skills as Future Business Leaders of America members to earn Georgia leadership awards.

Now they are about to head to Anaheim, Calif., June 27 for the FBLA National Leadership Conference attended by students nationwide where they plan to become national award winners as well.

The two have been friends since meeting in middle school and both joined FBLA as freshmen. Both will enroll in Georgia Tech in the fall. There Pandiri plans to major in business and computer science while Alavala will major in industrial engineering.

This year the young men made a 6-minute presentation at the FBLA State Convention where they outlined ways in which they worked with the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce and with fellow FBLA students to show those students how they could market themselves and chamber businesses through social media.

There were some 3,000 students at the convention held in Athens with 50 teams competing.

Fourteen were chosen to present to the final judges and the two young men won best in state.

Pandiri said they would have seminars for other students and teach them marketing skills, communications skills, networking and making business contacts.

“For instance we showed one of our club members how she could tweet her tutoring out and mention that she and her student are in her favorite restaurant. That restaurant gets a hit from everyone who receives the tweet,” Alavala said. “And they do it sitting at the table.”

They also taught students how to analyze the data students were collecting from hits on their social media.

One of the seminars they presented to fellow students was on crafting a template for business cards. Those are the traditional icebreakers, and an effective business card pays dividends.

Another seminar they devised was a summer camp expo that put parents looking for perspective camps together with parents and their children.

“It was a chance for individuals like me to get hands-on experience in organizing and marketing an event,” Pandiri said.

They will give a slightly longer presentation at the National Conference.

Looking back as they prepare for college, Alavala said what he got most from the FBLA experience was working with other students at Northview.

“I am focusing on keeping the partnerships I’ve formed working with students at Northview. And as my last year in FBLA, I wanted to leave a legacy and have an impact on my school,” Alavala said.

JC Chamber President John Bemont said his organization is happy to partner with the FBLA because it is important to prepare the next generation of business leaders.

“And these young people can show us a few things, too,” Bemont said. “It has always worked quite well at the chamber to have young interns and match them with businesses where the students have an interest in learning about.

“We give the interns the opportunity to get real experience, and they always give us a lot of energy and enthusiasm. And they have been particularly successful this year.”

With 250 members, the Northview FBLA chapter is one of the largest in the state and the country.

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