(L-R) Monica Chang, PBL Chapter President and State Historian; PBL’s first state president, Bobbie Avant Brown, who served in that position when she was a student at East Carolina University in 1954, and Giselle Chavez, PBL Chapter Vice President
Albemarle, NC – Monica Chang and Giselle Chavez, leaders of Stanly Community College’s (SCC) chapter, began National Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda Month by having lunch with the organization’s first state president, Bobbie Avant Brown.
Phi Beta Lambda is a national organization for college students interested in developing business and leadership skills. FBLA is the high school level. Both promote their goals and success stories during February’s celebration.
Ms. Brown, now a High Point resident, served in that position when she was a student at East Carolina University in 1954. As the national organization celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2017, she returned to her first state conference since graduating to accept the NCPBL Honorary Life Membership Award from the presiding State President, Katrina Sams from Stanly Community College.
Monica Chang is SCC’s chapter president and state historian; Giselle Chavez is chapter vice president and served as the 2018-19 state vice president.
Ms. Brown gave the two students career advice and recounted the birth of the state organization. “Of course, I had no idea how large and influential FBLA-PBL would become,” she commented. “I think there were around 130 in attendance at the first state conference. Both levels met together with the same slate of state officers, some high school and some of us college students.
East Carolina and Western Carolina University were the only colleges represented at that first conference, and the college competitive events were Business Vocabulary, Parliamentary Procedure, and Spelling. Now there are chapters throughout the state meeting for large conferences with competitions in a large number of modern business areas, as well as wonderful leadership training sessions.”
“Hearing about our chapter’s participation in the 2018 and 2019 PBL National Leadership Conferences was of particular interest to Ms. Brown,” according to Giselle Chavez. “She traveled alone on a 24-hour train ride to Dallas, Texas, to be the state’s delegate to a national conference.”
Ms. Brown’s career path began with teaching, followed by work in Los Angeles with a company training hospital employees on patient services, and concluded as owner of her own company doing similar training. “You must always be learning something,” she told the students since they are both graduating this May having studied business and advertising/graphic arts. “Take advantage of every opportunity to be a leader, and find positive and respected individuals at your work places to help you along the way. You never know what may come, and there will be challenges and set-backs to your goals. Just stay determined to do your best work, be honest, and be optimistic. I remember often pinching myself and saying I couldn’t believe I had come from not knowing how I would get the money to continue my schooling to living in Beverly Hills! You can find yourself doing the same.”
Both students expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to have such a personal conversation with Ms. Brown. “She was so encouraging,” Monica Chang commented. “I was amazed at her outlook on life. At an age when many people would see no reason to learn something new, she had spent the morning in a class on downloading apps and functions of new i-phones coming out. She showed us personal items she was proud of, including her certificate as a retiring deacon from Greensboro First Baptist and a plaque of appreciation for her service with the State Employees Credit Union. She participates in the High Point University mentoring program and talked about how close she got to the students she worked with. We were in awe of her!”
Other activities for PBL Month include joining representatives of the Pfeiffer University chapter for a Stanly County Board of Commissioners meeting and Proclamation signing, as well as announcing the chapter’s 2020 Business Person of the Year.
PBL is one of a number of student organizations at Stanly Community College that fosters leadership development for students. For more information call (704) 991-0216 or visit our website at www.stanly.edu.