Students in the Professional Communications II class at Minnesota School of Business-Elk River were fortunate to listen to State Representative Nick Zerwas speak recently. Zerwas, who was elected to the District 30A seat in 2012, is an Elk River native and extremely active in the local community in a variety of ways. His message focused on his life story and how he got to where he is today.
Zerwas was born with a heart defect and survived several difficult surgeries throughout his childhood. These put him at a disadvantage in his earlier years and affected him not only physically, but also emotionally. Many times he considered giving up, but with support from his parents, he pushed forward with his goals and persevered.
Mindy Stensrud, a student in the class, shared her appreciation for Rep. Zerwas’ presentation. “Nick was an inspiration and a great example of overcoming challenges in communications (his voice) and with his sense of humor, positive messages and honestly it has rewarded him in his journey,” she said. “I enjoyed his visit and all of his stories of his successes and failures and how he handled them.”
The Professional Communications course objectives focus primarily on professionalism in regard to both written and verbal communication. Zerwas, who holds an MBA, a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and a certificate in Forensic Science, has had a lot of experience in both areas communication throughout his prior employment. He has worked at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and Target Corporation in forensic science-related roles and has recently served on the Elk River City Council.
One thing Zerwas wanted the students to learn from his presentation was to never give up. He told stories about his trials and tribulations with professional writing throughout his roles and that he always kept an open mind and was willing to fail in order to succeed. He also spoke about his experience learning the importance of “tailoring your message and communication style to your audience.” Zerwas explained that these are crucial in any field.
Kipp Jordan, another student in the class, reflected on the ideas that stood out most for him. He especially appreciated Nick’s statement that “powerful communicators reach people.”
On that same token, Courtney Buness enjoyed Nick’s humor when he told the class, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”
We look forward to future visits from Rep. Zerwas so that he can continue to share his story and motivate our students to succeed.