Bretz considers his value as an employee to extend past his technical expertise. “Franklin gave me more than a good academic experience – it offered me engaged learning and leadership opportunities. Knowing time management and organization is key for what I do.”
At Franklin, Bretz was a computer information systems major and had minors in computer science and leadership. He cites his leadership classes among his most useful. “My leadership classes taught me about numerous styles of leadership, types of power and how to work with leaders and followers of various personalities. I learned to respond with different techniques depending on the situation.”
“At Franklin I took Bonnie Pribush’s ‘Leadership in a Multicultural Context’ course. In this course, we learned how to lead in various cultural paradigms both similar to and different from our own. I was able to apply many of these skills immediately in my economics class with Professor Hisaya Kitaoka. Professor Kitaoka insisted we actively ask questions and structured the class as an energetic environment of questioning. I learned as much about Japanese culture and communication methods through Professor Kitaoka’s teaching style as I learned from his lectures.”
Bretz’ personal life now is as full as his career. He wears different hats as the assistant youth director at his church and recently took students on a mission trip. He has advanced water sport skills that include boating, lifeguarding and scuba diving certifications and has taught waterskiing. The former Eagle Scout enjoys being outside hiking and camping. Engaged in his community, Bretz supports the arts and is concerned about social issues, and volunteers for different organizations.
Bretz credits Franklin for helping create his broad interests and develop skills that have served him well in his professional and personal lives. “The advantage of this school is that it helps you excel at being versatile. Franklin excels where other schools have weaknesses. Franklin fosters diversity and teaches problem solving, leadership and how to interact successfully in an ever changing and challenging world.”
Indeed Bretz’ list of college activities is well rounded. He arrived at Franklin having had a consuming swimming career at Carmel High School, in Carmel, IN. He says, “I came to Franklin interested in its new swimming program but wanted a fuller experience than simply swimming. Dean Ellis Hall helped me see beyond my past and not be afraid to try new things.” Beside two years of swimming at Franklin, Bretz’ extracurricular activities list included jiu-jitsu and participating in two campus choirs although he’d never sung. His choir was honored singing at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts with the world-renowned Irish ensemble The Chieftains. He also traveled to Ireland with the choir his freshman year. In addition, he traveled to the United Kingdom with his Winter Term class “Sports in Sunderland” to learn about international soccer, developing an interest in the sport not there before the trip.
And, not particularly a theatre aficionado, Bretz traveled to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada with Franklin three consecutive years. “The festival stretched me and I learned to support theatre. The trips were a way to meet others not like myself and develop friends who are still part of my life.” Bretz also volunteered while at Franklin and was an active participant in FOCUS, the opportunity for students to volunteer throughout the community. One Winter Term, he took “Inner City Missions” and learned to serve and be comfortable with people in different housing situations. The class stayed several nights in a homeless shelter.
Bretz’ leadership activities at Franklin included Student Foundation, SEB (Student Entertainment Board), Student Congress, including three years on Cabinet, induction into three different honor societies, and various roles within his fraternity. He also participated in National Model United Nations (NMUN), an academic competition where students from around the world converge on New York City to learn about diplomacy and international relations. “Although I was not a political science major, associate professor of political science Randall Smith encouraged me to take part in NMUN and I received an honorable mention prize. NMUN taught me how to listen and how to negotiate. Understanding that exchange of give and take has been a vital skill for my career in consulting.”
Bretz advises current Franklin students to go beyond the academic experience. “You will get the most by being involved in a wealth of experiences and personal interactions.”
“Franklin opened my eyes to see the world in a different light. I experienced so much community and support at Franklin. The friendly atmosphere and engagement that attracted me to the school was integral to my years at the college and helped me develop a full life past graduation.”