I AM PSE: ROAD TO NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP
I AM PSE: ROAD TO NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP
By: Milo Lam
Featuring: Chase Bettner
Chase Bettner is a senior marketing major with minors in Spanish, entrepreneurship, and urban planning at Gamma Gamma. He is the captain of the varsity swim team on campus, as well as involved with a few other student organizations. Chase has been at Gamma Gamma since fall of my sophomore year and has been involved in several projects throughout his time in the chapter, ranging from small startups to multi-billion-dollar retail brands.
Jacksonville was his third national conference with PSE.
Tell us a little bit about your involvement at Jacksonville and what Nationals is like to those who don't know.
Nationals is a week-long conference that takes place in a hotel/conference center location, with the city rotating each year. Chapters from across the country have the opportunity to compete in a variety of different award categories as well as compete in the Pro-Am (a sales pitch competition) and for scholarships as well. There were over 400 attendees from chapters across the country, as well a significant recruiting presence from PSE’s corporate sponsors.
These conventions are always a great opportunity to not only network with some of the incredible employers that support PSE nationally, but other chapters as well. I’ve found it to be a solid learning experience to understand what other chapters are doing that Gamma Gamma could learn from, and vice versa.
The national conventions are a very organized and structured affair, from both a nationals perspective and a Gamma Gamma perspective. Internally, all chapter members asked to attend are broken up into various teams that compete for the different award categories (things like Top Recruitment Strategy, Top Management Team, Top Salesperson, etc.). Teams usually range 4-6 people in size, depending on category needs and experience level.
I was a project lead for Top For-Profit Marketing/Sales project (we were presenting on our project with Lane Bryant, the women’s plus-size fashion retailer). Preparing for an awards category competition is a fairly intense three-month process, with multiple check-ins and reviews with alumni and faculty. However, my team was fortunate enough to have won our category for the second year in a row; this means that the body of work Gamma Gamma completed within this particular category is considered to be the best in the country for the 2018-2019 term. It was an incredible feeling to have known all the hard work, late nights, and long hours were worth it, and an even bigger honor to have presented on the collective efforts of Gamma Gamma’s amazing members.
Do give us a recap. What happened at Nationals for GG, both at the competition and outside of it? The beach?
The timeline for Nationals is a fairly chaotic but fun time. The first couple days of the convention are entirely focused around practice and preparation for competition day. The chapter usually will break into presentation teams and present, edit, and refine presentations to other members of the chapter. This is a great opportunity to get some unbiased feedback from older chapter members, as well as a fresh perspective from those who have not seen the presentation until that particular point in time. It’s also a lot of fun, as we are all together for pretty much two days straight and a lot of great memories are made. After this two-day preparation blitz, we then dive into competition mode! The entire day is full of different award competitions, with teams coming and going. The atmosphere is electric. After a long day of wearing a suit and stressing about representing Gamma Gamma to the best of our ability, a casual social event for the entire convention helps to break the tension and allow for us to meet members of other chapters.
The rest of the week is filled with programming and speakers, but there are some traditions specific to Gamma Gamma. One of my personal favorites is senior send-offs, which is where all the senior members of the chapter at the convention get to address the entire group and give parting words of wisdom and advice for the future of the chapter. It’s an incredibly sentimental and emotional time, and it has always made me realize how amazing an organization Gamma Gamma is and how fortunate I am to have such a phenomenal group of people surrounding me. In addition to senior send-offs, we were able to go to Jacksonville Beach on the last day of the convention to celebrate our hard work and unwind a little before the last awards dinner.
What did you learn and how did you feel?
This is my third and final nationals; as you could probably imagine, this was a very bittersweet experience. I love being able to see the entirety of the work the chapter has put together throughout the course of the term, but the idea of not being a member of Gamma Gamma in just a few short weeks is a sobering thought. I’ve presented at each national convention I’ve attended, but presenting this year was different given the fact that I was the project manager for Lane Bryant throughout the term and had a serious emotional investment in the project. I love seeing the dynamic of each year’s group and how everyone works together for a common goal—it’s truly an unstoppable feeling!
How has PSE prepared you for Nationals?
The chapter has prepared me in so many different ways, not only from a presentation perspective but from a confidence perspective as well. I can enter a room with six intimidating judges and know that I am presenting on a project that is rock-solid and be confident in the work I have done.
I credit all members of Gamma Gamma with instilling that confidence in me. I believe in the mission of our chapter, the quality of the work that we produce, and the relationships that we foster!
What do you see for the future of PSE?
I have no doubts that we will bring home several awards, including Top Gold, next year! Every year, the incoming board worries about filling the shoes of the previous board, but every year, the bar is set a little higher and higher. This is what makes Gamma Gamma so great. I can’t wait to provide feedback from an alumni perspective and give some motivational words the night before the competition.
I wish all current and future members of Gamma Gamma all the best in their endeavors, both in and out of nationals. Savor these moments, because they will be gone before you know it!