ASWSU President Brian Patrick Credits Carson College for Leadership Success

By Kendall Langis

Brian Patrick credits the Carson College of Business for helping him develop the confidence and leadership skills to be president of the Associated Students of Washington State University (ASWSU).

The junior from Yakima, Washington, is a business management major with a focus in innovation and change. As ASWSU president, he’s the top leader in student government for 16,760 undergraduates on the Pullman campus.

Patrick started taking advantage of professional development opportunities in the Carson College his freshman year. “Classes were super engaging; the professors would get the entire class involved,” he says. “Having classes I really enjoyed made me start getting more involved in extra activities.”

He met with faculty during their office hours, attended career fairs and networking events, and looked into clubs to join.

Patrick became president of the WSU chapter of the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) as a sophomore and managed to grow membership, even while the club was online. The experience made him realize the impact he could have with a leadership position and the number of students he could help.

“I started seeing the scope of it, and I wanted do more,” Patrick explains.

This led to the idea of running for ASWSU president for the ’21-’22 academic year. “I still get to help the Carson College, and I get to help students from other colleges, basically any part of the Pullman campus you can think of.”

Leading During a Pandemic

Patrick says his business background gave him skills he uses daily at ASWSU.

“Carson taught me the importance of collaborating with a team to achieve a common goal,” he says. “When I was SHRM president, mentors coached me on how to provide servant leadership and constructive criticism.”

These skills come in handy as Patrick tackles the challenge of leadership during a pandemic.

“There’s no playbook for what normality is right now, or how we’re supposed to be effective leaders when there’s constant change,” Patrick says. “Previous groups hadn’t lived through a pandemic.”

However, he is taking it all in stride: “I am enjoying it, because whatever we do this year is going to help every ASWSU group for years to come.”

“Just Get Involved”

Patrick has focused on building the internal infrastructure of ASWSU, including weekly reports from staff members and better communication about the various projects committees and departments are working on.

His advice to fellow Cougs? “Just get involved. Yes, it’s important to have the grades and the academics, but what’s more important, and what employers are looking for, are people with life skills and experiences that are a little different from your typical college student. Go out and try new things.”

Kendall Langis is a student at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and social media intern for the Carson College of Business.