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Students Place in Top 10 at Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference

July 2, 2018

Five School of Business students placed in the Top 10 in the nation recently at the 2018 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, last month.

web-PBL-team-Baltimore-copyEight students, along with PBL advisor James Willingham, traveled to Baltimore to compete at the event June 23 through 26:

  • Paul Frost – junior accounting major from Concordia
  • Mackenzie Hofstra – sophomore psychology major from Ozawkie
  • Karoline Kennedy – sophomore business administration major from Derby
  • Rob Lara – senior business administration major from Emporia
  • Madison Orrange – senior accounting major from Drexel, Missouri
  • Kimberly Raygoza    junior business administration major from Emporia
  • Ashley Rietcheck – sophomore accounting major from Rossville
  • Carolina Taylor – senior accounting major from Ashburn, Missouri

At the conference, Kennedy received two first places finishes — one in Business Presentation and one in Public Speaking. 

“The 2018 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference is an experience that I will never forget,” she said. “Through this conference, I rode on a train for the first time, found an amazing Baltimore cookie shop, made connections with people from all over the country, and learned that hard work really does pay off.

“If someone were to tell me nine months ago at my first PBL meeting that I would be a national champion, I probably would have laughed. But after 13 rewrites and countless sleepless nights working on my presentations, I am proud to say that I am the national champion in not one but two events. This experience is one that I will never forget, and it has given me the confidence to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. Thank you to everyone that was involved in helping me turn this dream into reality.”

Four other students placed at the National Leadership Conference:

  • Rob Lara – Fifth place, Impromptu Speaking
  • Carolina Taylor – Sixth place, Cost Accounting
  • Ashley Rietcheck and Madison Orrange – Eighth place, Accounting Analysis & Decision Making

Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the School of Business, is very proud of the whole team. “These students exemplify what Emporia State University and the School of Business are all about. Organizations like Phi Beta Lambda give our students high-impact learning experiences that supplement what they learn in the classroom. These opportunities such as traveling to Baltimore give our students leadership skills and the competitive advantage they need when they graduate. Their talent, hard work and poise led them to their successes at PBL’s national competition, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.” 

Earlier this year, 14 students from ESU’s PBL competed at the 2018 Kansas State Leadership Conference, collectively placing 29 times and qualifying 12 students for the 2018 National Leadership Conference.

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, go to

About the National Leadership Conference (NLC):

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



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