Experiences in BIG: Brian Gericke

Before I interviewed Brian, all I knew about him was that he was a member of HR who had come to our Halloween meeting dressed as a poptart. However, when I talked to him, I was able to learn a lot about his work and absolute love for Barton International Group. Brian has spent his time in BIG in the Human Resources Department, where he runs a lot of internal operations - including facilitating meetings, developing different procedures, and helping to recruit new members.

He joined Barton International Group because he had seen his friends join before him and saw all the cool things they were able to do. Although he didn’t know a lot about the group at the time, it piqued his interest enough for him to apply. He wanted to discover “what the heck was going on with this group,” and what he found was once in a lifetime experiences that he would have never had if he didn’t join.                                                                                              

Academically, Brian has had quite the journey at Wichita State University. He began as a music education major, before becoming a music performance major, and then finally transitioning into being a business major. He called BIG the “perfect discernment method” for figuring out what he wanted to do – further affirming the group’s ability to act as a way to gain real world experience while still being a student.  

Barton International Group has forced Brian to grow a lot, both personally and professionally. He is much more patient now, and understands how different people function in different situations and how to work with their differences. Additionally, he told me that he is much more confident and self assured now and doesn’t second guess himself like he did before. BIG has helped him improve even with “the little things,” like speaking and communicating what he wants to say in a short and effective way.

During his time in Barton International Group, Brian was tasked with the challenging role of being assistant manager of a project that seemed beyond the group’s capacity at the time. He learned how hard it was to succeed “once you’ve positioned yourself mentally to be defeated.” However, against all odds, the group was able to complete the project under Brian’s leadership and present it to the very happy client.

Brian’s favorite moment in BIG took me by surprise. Rather than relaying a memory from a BIG trip or some project that went well, his best moment in the group was this year’s recruitment, when he facilitated icebreaking activities for the new members. Although it wasn’t some big moment, he thought is was cool to watch them “open up, tear down their walls and just enjoy themselves.” He found it enjoyable to watch the good energy of the group and recognize all of their potential.

Like Kristen, Brian has a love for the advisor of the group - Kate. He told me that she is “wise, but speaks in riddles, like Yoda.” Many times, he has had to fail in order to succeed and ultimately understand that Kate was, as always, correct in the first place.

Brian’s love for Barton International Group became obvious in his sadness when he told me “there’s so many younger members that [he] won’t get the pleasure of watching grow into better business professionals.” From dressing up as a popular breakfast item to comparing our advisor to Star Wars characters, Brian has had no shortage of good memories from BIG, and, because of that, no shortage of sadness for leaving the group.

Written by Zaena Helm