Fresh faces join Mustang family: Lailah Gallegos

Simply put, entrepreneurship is the pursuit of success through both risk and initiative. As teacher of Business Entrepreneurship, a Certified Technical Education (CTE) course, and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) adviser, Lailah Gallegos, helps instill these values in her students and members.

Gallegos was introduced to the field of business as a business manager, where she oversaw one location and eventually became a supervisor of 23 locations.

“During that time [in business management], because I was learning about business, I was also very passionate about starting a business that related to entertainment. And so, I had an opportunity to promote musical acts, books and concerts and [I] co-hosted a radio show. I had a chance to do some fun things there and that was what inspired me to get into business myself,” Gallegos said.

As a supervisor, Gallegos came across the potential of teaching others as a CTE teacher.

“The fact that I’ve had an opportunity to hire, train and develop people to go on and open their own businesses [was] a natural step [to being] offered a position as a CTE teacher,” Gallegos said. “Somebody saw me in my role as a supervisor, approached me, [but] I did not actually take the position. I waited 10 years until after I helped raise some nephews and had my child and said I could do this because hiring, training and developing was [my] favorite part of my business.”

Before teaching at WHS, Gallegos taught business and retail marketing at Burbank High School and was the adviser of the school’s SkillsUSA program. However, after the district rejected a grant to fund the business and marketing programs at the school district, the school traded her out. However, as a result of her experience in the SkillsUSA program and her CTE credentials, she received a job offer at Walnut.

“When [Walnut] found out I wasn’t going to be at Burbank, they approached me and said ‘come on board, we’ve got this great program’ because they needed somebody with a business credential,” Gallegos said. “It was really exciting to become a part of [Walnut FBLA] because the students here worked so hard that they’ve had two first place national medals in a row.”

As FBLA adviser, Gallegos plans to partner with former lead FBLA adviser Mike Moore to bring business learning and competition experience to the student body.

“I want to encourage students to check FBLA out because whatever they do goes for all students — not just students in my business class. People can have amazing talent, but I feel like they should learn about business in case they ever want to open their own,” Gallegos said. “[In FBLA], it’s really exciting to see so many students with the drive and passion to learn and succeed.”

Despite her 14 years of teaching experience, Gallegos believes that there is always something
new to learn from her students.

“I hope to continue to broaden my horizons and have a chance to see what fresh, new ideas students at Walnut have because, of course, Walnut has an outstanding reputation. This is a new era, and it’s different than when we get to see students every single day, but I like seeing them also because it gives teachers a chance to see a different side of our students that we might not normally see in class,” Gallegos said.

By Ethan Park, Copy Editor-in-chief
Photo courtesy of Lailah Gallegos