Advice to Younger Members from a PBL State President

Article by Casondra Rutschke and edited by Sophie Burtman

Casondra Rutschke is a graduate student at the North Dakota State University where she is pursuing her Master of Business Administration. Casondra was active throughout high school in activities including FBLA, band, speech, and yearbook. She continued her FBLA-PBL journey in college and got involved in numerous honor societies and the NDSU College of Business Strategic Planning Committee and Advisory Board. She graduated summa cum laudefrom NDSU in May 2018 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and Management with a minor in economics. She currently works as an Administrative Assistant at a local non-profit organization, American Gold Gymnastics, and hopes to someday have a career in non-profit management. 


I joined FBLA as a freshman, but I had no idea what a great experience it would be and how it would help me grow as an individual.  FBLA allowed me to travel across the nation and meet many fantastic new people. In 2012, I placed 3rdin Business Math at the State Leadership Conference which gave me the opportunity to travel to San Antonio, Texas, and to represent my school and state while competing at the National Leadership Conference.  That conference was the realbeginning of my FBLA-PBL involvement.  I came home with a new interest in the business field and a desire to become more involved in my local and state FBLA chapters.  FBLA gave me the opportunity to travel across the nation to four National Leadership Conferences while forming friendships with people from across the country and learning public speaking skills, responsibility, and leadership skills that I have implemented in all areas of my life.


When I came to college at the North Dakota State University, I was forced to leave FBLA-PBL as we did not have a PBL chapter.  After taking a year off from FBLA-PBL, I knew that this organization would be an excellentopportunity to supplement students’ class work, and I took it upon myself to reactivate the NDSU Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, and the NDSU Student Government officially recognized uson October 12, 2016.  I now serve as the NDSU PBL Chapter President and grew the chapter to include thirteen paid and active members in only four months.  With my position, I lead executive and chaptermeetings, assist in organizing chapter activities such as speakers, service projects, and team building activities, and focus on recruitment.  


After diving back into FBLA-PBL, I was ready to join the State Officer Team.  At our State Leadership Conference in March 2017, I was elected to the position of State Vice President of Public Relations and was later appointedState President.


Having the opportunity to start this organization has allowed me to help others become better leaders and better officers.  I think one of the most important aspects of being a goodofficer, whether it’s atthe local, state, or national level, is being able to connect with others.  When you can tell someone why you love PBL, your passion is contagious.  It’s often hard to explain what Phi Beta Lambda is without someone’s first questions being, “So is that a fraternity/sorority?”, but being able to share your love and passion for the organization is key.


As with all leadership positions, time management is vital. There are times before a big conference or another eventthat it seems like you have a lot on your plate—and with school, work, community service projects, and extracurricular activities, you probably do—but that’s what makes it exciting and worthwhile.  It may be stressful at times, but it gives you the opportunity to practice prioritizing your tasks.  It doesn’t have to be busy or stressful, but the more you give the organization,the more you get back.  


I have found that delegating tasks can be challenging, especially if you’re one that likes to take charge, but the ability to delegatecontributes to the success of a leader and empowers other members of your team.  Do you have someone on your teamthat is great at graphic design?  Ask them if they want to design your membership poster!  Don’t waste your time doing something you aren’t very good at when you have skilled and talented people on your team waiting to help you. Utilize your team’s strengths and abilities to the organization’s advantage.


Finally, just have fun: play silly icebreakers, make memories, meet new people, laugh at lame jokes, form lasting friendships—that’s what being a part of PBL is really about. It’s not about the extra line on your resume, but it’s about what you take out of it.  The lasting memories, friends, skills make it all mean something. But don’t forget to thank them. Thank the people who helped you become a better officer and leader.  Thank your fellow officers, your members, your advisers, professors, university staff, everyone who made this experience possible.


My experience with PBL was a bit unique, but it is one I will never forget. The opportunity to start a student organization and grow it to something so impactful in the NDSU College of Business coupled with the opportunities I have had to meet new students and business professionals is one that has changed my life,and I will be forever thankful to this organization.  

Sophie BurtmanComment