Ifra Waris, Warren’s FBLA President


Ifra (left) at the 2020 homecoming parade

Anushka Agashe, Co-Editor

My clearest memory of the 2019 FBLA Nationals isn’t taking my test or sightseeing in San Antonio or even awards night. Rather, it’s laughing with Ifra Waris about nothing every night in our shared hotel room. Nationals are a tense time for everyone involved, and the days leading up to tests and presentations are filled with stressed revision and practice, yet Ifra was able to take our minds off the stress. This juxtaposition of responsibility and success with humor and kindness has defined Ifra’s time in FBLA, from her first year as a member all the way to her current role as Warren’s chapter president.


Future Business Leaders of America, often shortened to FBLA, is a high school organization that has chapters across the US and in several foreign countries. Its main focuses include volunteering, leadership, and competitions. Competition season lasts from January all the way to Nationals at the beginning of July. Additionally, individual chapters, as well as areas, states, and the organization as a whole, have officers in positions such as president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.


Ifra is currently a senior at Warren, but she’s been in FBLA since her freshman year. Mr. Vranek, one of the Warren FBLA advisors, remarks, “She was one of our most active freshmen that year, and was invited to our National Fall Leadership Conference in St. Louis.” Even as an underclassmen, Ifra pursued leadership opportunities within FBLA. She took up her first officer position in her sophomore year as Bookstore Manager at the O’Plaine campus. According to her, her responsibilities were: “finding workers each semester, making worker schedules, training the workers, taking inventory of all the spiritwear every week, preparing for football games, and keeping the bookstore clean and organized in general.” After serving a year in that position and another year as Almond’s Bookstore Manager, Ifra gained experience working with an officer team and handling the responsibilities of Warren’s large FBLA chapter. As she says, “I have gained and improved on my organization and leadership skills. I’ve learned to build strong relationships with others and effectively communicate with others to get things done.”


The work Ifra did in these roles prepared her for her time as president. She was voted as president by chapter members at the end of her junior year to serve during the 2020-21 school year. It’s a position that comes with a lot of responsibility and a heavy workload, yet Ifra manages to make it work. She describes how her position requires her to “work with the other FBLA officers to plan and organize events, general meetings, social events, and volunteer opportunities. I delegate tasks and report to the advisers weekly about any issues or updates.” Shalini Kolli, one of Ifra’s longtime friends, states, “She’s been a great officer and an even better president. She’s always willing to help out and with such a big workload, that is really impressive.”


In all her roles, Mr. Vranek describes her as the following: “Ifra is great to work with, she is responsible, and does not let setbacks upset or deter what she is working toward.  She is timely with any assignments or projects, and is not afraid to communicate with other officers and advisers.” While Shalini echoes this statement by saying, “Ifra is very determined in everything she does. Once she sets her mind to something, she gives it her 100%,” she also remarks on another integral part of her personality: “She’s honestly like…so funny. Like you wouldn’t expect it and maybe that adds to when she says something funny you know? Like the element of surprise.”


While the position of president has a history of being held by smart, hardworking members, Ifra faces the unique challenge of taking office during a pandemic. Still, Shalini praises Ifra’s work during this time: “She’s handling e-learning as President really well! Which is hard.” Mr. Vranek had similar comments about Ifra’s leadership during this time: “As our president, Ifra has had to navigate the duties of her office, while dealing with the pandemic.  She has done a great job keeping the other officers involved, and communicating with both officers and advisers.  She has had a challenge to run FBLA during a pandemic, and is doing a great job!”


Ifra’s achievements in FBLA aren’t limited to her leadership roles. She has also competed at the national level in both 2019 and 2020. Last year, she had the opportunity to travel to San Antonio, Texas to participate. This year, she was supposed to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, but the pandemic meant that the competition had to be held online. Regardless, Ifra’s high achievement in this area led to her favorite FBLA memory: “Definitely the National Leadership Conference during summer of 2019 when we went to San Antonio, Texas and met so many other people who shared interests from around the world. It was a great experience and really fun to tour the city and compete at the national level.”


Beyond her commitments to FBLA, Ifra is also involved with a wide variety of activities such as Scratch Paper, Science Olympiad, and NHS, in which she holds a variety of leadership positions. Along with her rigorous class schedule, these commitments keep her schedule full. Yet, with careful planning and dedication, she’s been able to make a difference during her time in high school and exceed expectations in her role as FBLA president.