Emporia State is home to one of the oldest Phi Beta Lambda chapters. This summer, students will represent ESU once again at the National Leadership conference in San Antonio, Texas. These students qualified by placing first or second at a state competition earlier this month.
“Phi Beta Lambda is a post secondary organization for any student at ESU, but it’s primarily business and leadership focused,” said Barbara Railsback, associate professor of business education and PBL adviser. “It is the college equivalent of Future Business Leaders of America and has around 215,000 members nationally. Its goal is to promote leadership and community service as well as competition in a variety of business events.”
Railsback said at the competition students will be competing in one or two events such as reports, future business teaching and digital video. They must then give a presentation about the project in front of judges who will ask them questions. They will also participate in leadership workshops as well as sight see.
“While I have been an advisor here we have gone every year to nationals and we have had people place first,” Railsback said. “They are competing against students from huge universities as well as junior colleges. We have been very lucky we’ve had many national winners and students placing in the top 10.”
Jessica Dhority, sophomore business education major and competitor, said she thinks Railsback does a good job at getting students ready to win and that thanks to Railsback’s guidance, ESU has a good chance at winning this year.
“I think the reason the national leadership conference is important is because it allows our students to compete against the best from every other state. It gives them confidence and public speaking skills and the ability to interact with the judges that are all heads of corporations,” Railsback said. “So (PBL) gives them an opportunity to showcase themselves as well as the university and gives them the confidence that the education they are getting here at ESU is at the same caliber as other universities.”
Dhority agreed and said she did FBLA in high school and knew that PBL would prepare her for her job in the future.
“I was in FBLA in high school, so when I came here I had a friend tell me there was a PBL chapter and kind of drug me in,” said Shannon Mangnall, junior business education major. “In that first year I went to nationals and realized it was more than what it was in high school.”
The competitors going to nationals this year are Blake Ballinger, Becky Fraker, Russell Cornelius, Dhority, Kelly Oltman, Mallory West and Jacob Winkler. Prizes for winning are trophies, medals and some cash rewards.