Benson proves you can go home
REMARK: This is part of a series of stories about members of Kansas Wesleyan University’s Class of 2022.
By BOB DAVIDSON
The decision to transfer from Bethany College after one semester was a firm one, but the question was, where would Karley Benson go?
Tennis was a big part of the equation, as was academics, and she was looking for a place that would help her choose the right career path and give her the tools to succeed. Benson had played tennis at Salina Central High School, wasn’t ready to hang up her racket, and knew Kansas Wesleyan coach Josh Molino.
She chose to return to Salina and KWU.
“I had a lot of connections here and probably a few more opportunities than if I had gone anywhere else,” she said.
Selecting an appropriate major was the next important step. Enter Wesleyan’s business and accounting department and Dr. Trish Petak, who coaches KWU’s DECA team.
“I really didn’t know much about it until my second year,” Benson said. “I’m a really big fan of the business school, so when they told me it would be a good idea to do this and compete, I took their advice. I also had a few teammates on the tennis team who had competed in the past and they enjoyed it.
Three years later, with a degree in business management and accounting nearing completion and graduation on the horizon, Benson is ready for life after KWU – her college experience enriched by competition and success at DECA and tennis.
And she’s leaving after a monumental final semester. Benson placed first in Restaurant and Food Management and first in Hospitality and Lodging in the DECA state competition on Jan. 28 in Hillsboro, then finished second in Restaurant and Food Management in the competition DECA International April 9-12 in Baltimore – his second straight top 3 finish.
“You get a set of facts and information about an issue that an organization or business might have,” Benson said of a DECA event. “You have to come up with a strategy and create a presentation on how you would go about solving this problem and you will present it to a judge. They can ask you questions, it’s really interactive. There are also certain performance metrics you need to achieve throughout the presentation that are non-negotiable. »
Petak, an associate professor of business and accounting, said Benson would have been successful in any DECA business.
“Karley is the only student I could place in any category and she would always be at the top – any type of management, marketing or financial event, she understands all facets of business extremely well,” he said. she declared. “Karley’s ability to communicate complex ideas strategically has allowed him to achieve high-level DECA finishes in 2021 and 2022.”
Various work experiences at Martinelli’s Little Italy while in high school and currently at the Library Sports Bar & Grill led Benson to choose restaurant and food management.
“I’ve worked pretty much any job you can do in a restaurant,” she said.
There is a downside though – going out to eat isn’t as pleasant as it used to be.
“What I think when I walk into a restaurant is ‘I’m glad this place isn’t mine’ because I can see all the problems and all the things you would have to deal with,” a- she declared. “I think about the waiters and the number of other tables they have, the waiting time, the time people are sitting there…I would never sleep because I couldn’t calm down.”
On the tennis courts, Benson has played singles and doubles and was named an All-Kansas Conference Honorable Mention this spring for the second consecutive season.
“Tennis is an individual sport that teaches you a lot about perseverance and the importance of confidence and problem solving,” she said. “It’s a really mental sport. You can have the best technique and be the fastest and most athletic, but if you don’t make good decisions on the court, you won’t succeed.
Aside from the DECA successes, Benson’s career path will initially be in another direction.
“I’m not looking for a restaurant or food service just because it’s really hard to find a job in a management role if you don’t have any management experience,” he said. she declared. “I want to go to law school eventually. I’m really interested in a few financial companies where I see myself working for a year or two.
DECA, Benson said, will also help in a career in law.
“I feel like it helped me be more confident in my public speaking skills and feel confident when I speak,” she said. “(As a lawyer) you’re in a conversation (with a jury) and you can’t plan everything you’re going to say, so you have to be quick.”