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Students Bring Back Half of Kansas Awards at National Conference

web PBL group

The 12 ESU students who attended the 2019 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference are, front row from left, Jan Bard, Carolina Taylor, Madison Orrange, Dulce Guillen, Emily Euler and Karoline Kennedy; back row from left, Michaela Forkenbrock, Martin Okonkwo, Mackenzie Hofstra, Rob Lara, Paul Frost and Ashley Rietcheck.

Emporia State University students brought home 12 top-10 finishes recently at the 2019 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference, accounting for half of the total wins for Kansas students.

Earlier this year, 14 students from ESU's PBL competed at the 2019 Kansas State Leadership Conference, collectively placing 46 times and qualifying 14 students for the 2019 National Leadership Conference. On March 7, 2020, Emporia State University will host the Kansas State Leadership Conference.

"I am so proud of this group of students," said Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the School of Business. "We increased our state placings (29 to 46) and more than doubled our national wins (5 to 12) from 2018 to 2019 respectively. Organizations like Phi Beta Lambda give our students high-impact learning experiences that supplement what they learn in the classroom. This is another example of a great opportunity we offer our students to help them gain leadership skills and the competitive advantage they need when they graduate."

Twelve Emporia State students, along with PBL advisor Leticia Rust, traveled to San Antonio, Texas, June 24 through 27 to compete at the PBL NLC; a total of 36 states competed. The categories, placings and ESU students are:

  • Business Ethics, 6th place, Emily Euler and Dulce Guilleen
  • Client Service, 6th place, Karoline Kennedy
  • Computer Applications, 2nd place, Ashley Rietcheck; 6th place, Michaela Forkenbrock
  • Justice Administration, 4th place, Mackenzie Hofstra
  • Management Concepts, 4th place, Carolina Taylor
  • Org Behavior and Leadership, 3rd place, Carolina Taylor
  • Sales Presentation , 4th place, Rob Lara; 5th place, Karoline Kennedy
  • Statistical Analysis, 2nd place, Emily Euler; 7th place, Ashley Rietcheck
  • Website Design, 6th place, Madison Orrange

At the national conference, students attended workshops on networking, how to properly use social media, interview skills, resume building, building relationships in the business world, leadership, communication, philanthropy and habits to become successful in the career field. Delegates also attended campaign rallies to vote for their next leaders of PBL.

The trip was made possible by many generous community members and businesses. Thank you to those who donated to our fundraiser, car wash, raffle, or anyone that purchased a one-of-a-kind Emporia State t-shirt. Because of this generosity, the students paid less than $200 each to attend the four-day competition in San Antonio.

About PBL:

Phi Beta Lambda is the collegiate level of Future Business Leaders of America. FBLA-PBL is the oldest and largest student business organization in the world. It builds on communication, leadership, networking, and business skills for the future. You do not have to be a business major to join; all majors are welcome. For more information about PBL, follow the School of Business on social media or contact Leticia Rust, PBL advisor, at

National Leadership Conference:

FBLA-PBL members have the competitive edge, as the best and brightest of FBLA and PBL convene to compete in leadership events, share their successes, and learn new ideas about shaping their career future through workshops and exhibits. This four-day conference is considered the pinnacle of the FBLA-PBL experience. For more information about the NLC, go to