JSC senior named Vt. director of Future Business Leaders



Tia Drake

JSC senior Tia Drake has been named the executive director of the Vermont Chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

Drake is a business major with a minor in psychology. She has already attained an associate’s degree in business management from JSC, and is planning on getting her bachelor’s degree on a three-year plan this coming spring.

FBLA’s goal is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship, through innovative leadership and career development programs.

Drake has been involved with FBLA since she was a student at North Country Union High School. During Drake’s senior year of high school, she was appointed state treasurer and secretary of the Vermont chapter of FBLA, allowing her to work with students from around the state that were involved with FBLA at their schools.

“FBLA did more than just teach me about business-leading,” Drake said. “It increased my confidence dramatically, and helped me develop teamwork, public speaking, leadership and business skills.”

Drake received a phone call from a FBLA adviser with whom she had worked as a state officer in high school. The adviser asked if she would be interested in becoming executive director of the Vermont chapter of FBLA.

“At first I was unsure, knowing that I was finishing my final year of college,” Drake said. “I would be very busy and I was young to be taking on such a big job. But I went for it and was really excited when I received the job. It was great meeting with all of the people I worked with in high school.”

Drake’s responsibilities will include coordinating and working with the state officer team to prepare and lead the fall and spring state leadership conferences, as well as handling the fiscal responsibilities of the Vermont FBLA, including the submitting of invoices, distribution of grant money and maintaining accurate financial records.

She will also have to communicate deadlines and important information to advisers and students around the state.

Drake has several plans for the future of the VT FBLA’s programs. She is planning to increase membership, and is working on developing the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) division. This is the college version of FBLA. Drake said she would like to make FBLA better known in communities across Vermont.

Drake grew up surrounded by business. Her grandparents owned a John Deere business, Collins Farm and Garden, out of Newport. They also owned a dairy farm.

At a young age, Drake would help her grandmother with tasks like making copies and doing calculations for the businesses.
In addition, Drake also has an uncle who owns Sweet Water Trout Hatchery, also out of Newport Center. Drake would help with just about anything from packaging fish to taking orders and payments from customers.

“This exposure to all types of business-related activities really led me to find an interest in business in general,” Drake said.
These experiences led to Drake enrolling in the Business Technology program at the North Country Career Center (NCCC) in high school. Drake also attained an internship for JSC in the marketing department at Community National Bank through a connection with NCCC.

JSC Professor of Business and Economics James Black eventually met Drake at a Legislative Breakfast during her senior year in high school, where she was talking about the importance of FBLA.

“He told me about all of the opportunities at JSC, especially in the Business Department,” Drake said. Drake eventually served as Black’s research assistant.

Black describes Drake as one of the best students he has had in the past decade of teaching at JSC. He said he taught her management skills that would give and create opportunity for her.

“Tia models the best of business students at Johnson State College,” says Black. “She is self-reliant, responsible and highly motivated.”

Drake is looking at Clarkson University in New York to get her MBA, either as part of their one-year master’s program or online.

She is also hoping to develop a small business with the alpacas that she raises on her farm. She currently has seven alpacas, and is hoping to sell their fibers.

In addition to this, Drake would like to continue as the Executive Director of Vermont FBLA.