Catawba College Students Compete/Win at State Leadership Conference of Phi Beta Lambda

Catawba College PBL members Catawba College sent the largest number of its students who have ever attended to the annual State Leadership Conference of the North Carolina State Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), and netted six first place showings. Many of those Catawba attendees, including those wit...

Catawba College PBL members

Catawba College sent the largest number of its students who have ever attended to the annual State Leadership Conference of the North Carolina State Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), and netted six first place showings.  Many of those Catawba attendees, including those with first-place, second place and third place finishes, qualified to compete in the PBL Nationals scheduled in Baltimore, Md., in June.

The Catawba students who attended the conference held in Charlotte April 5-8 were a diverse group, representing many academic majors and minors.  They successfully competed in statewide business categories against students from other colleges and universities across N.C.

The prestigious "Public Speaking" competition, generally the largest at the PBL conference, was won by Catawba's own "Mr. Catawba," Duane Leatherberry.  The Integrated Marketing Campaign scored another first for Catawba College with its PBL Clothing Closet campaign for the end of the year sale.  This is the third year that the PBL Clothing Closet has been the basis for awards for the Catawba College chapter.

In all, Catawba has six first place finishes including the Business Law Team (Sara Barbee, Blake Pierce, and Jess Daniel), the Integrated Marketing Campaign Team (Kiersten Nichols, Malen Eiríksdóttir, and Jess Daniel), the Business Sustainability Team (Sara Barbee and Ethan Davis), Accounting for Professionals (Aly Helal), Public Speaking (Duane Leatherberry), and Organizational Behavior and Leadership (Max Bellile).

Business Law Team
(L-R: Blake Pierce, Sara Barbee and Jess Daniel)

"After attending the PBL State Leadership Conference and having my team place first in our presentation event, I feel more confident in presenting research and have a true understanding of how teamwork can make things possible," shared Blake Pierce, a member of Catawba's Business Law Team that won a first place award.

"Representing Catawba College at SLC was a personal and academic accomplishment that I am very proud of.  This opportunity and the supportive culture of PBL has given me the confidence to step beyond my comfort zone, challenge myself, and set higher goals," added Max Bellile, who earned a first place finish in the Organizational Behavior and Leadership competition.

Catawba's PBL Chapter received an award for being the third largest chapter in the state of North Carolina and for increasing the overall number of members from the previous academic year. Catawba students attended leadership development and other workshops and were able to meet Cherie Berry, SLC keynote speaker and current North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, a member of the North Carolina Council of State and head of the North Carolina Department of Labor.  Berry has a connection with Catawba College since she was born in Newton, N.C., where Catawba College was founded.

Another distinction for Catawba was winning $1000 for tying for first place in the Food Lion Food Drive sponsored by PBL Professional Division and Food Lion.  The food drive, which is a part of Food Lion Feeds, was a competition between all chapters across the state and Catawba PBL collected over 1400 pounds of food.

Business Sustainability Team
(Sara Barbee and Ethan Davis)

Catawba PBL Chapter Advisor Dr. Pamela Thompson stated, "This was a special award with the Food Lion connection.  I know Mr. [Ralph W.] Ketner would have been very proud of these students and the effort they made to help Food Lion with this important food drive benefitting local charities. He also would have been proud of the $1000 PBL won for our efforts! These funds will be used to support travel for students to the national convention in Baltimore this June."

Dr. Thompson attended the conference with Catawba PBL Chapter President Malen Eiríksdóttir of Reykjavik, Iceland, and PBL officers Jess Daniel of Greensboro, Madelyn Liefert of Concord, Caitlin Gordon of Chapel Hill, and Tara Bailey of Kannapolis.  PBL members attending were Sara Barbee of Salisbury; Blake Pierce of Thomasville; Kiersten Nichols of Mocksville; Ethan Davis of Winston-Salem; Aly Helal of Cairo, Egypt; Duane Leatherberry of Egg Harbor Township, N.J.; School of Evening and Graduate Studies student Max Bellile of Cornelius; Emily Najar pf Villa Rica, Ga.; Regan Nolan of Columbus, Ohio; Federico Borrego Higareda of Mexico City, Mexico; Lukas Hebling of Bissingen an der Teck, Germany; Josi Rogers of Lexington; Ryen Reid of Claremont; DaQuanda Magwood of Walterboro, S.C.; and Andrew Romano of Mooresville.  Former Vice President (2017-18) and Professional Division Member Andrew Chambers of Advance also attended with the Catawba members.

The conference ended with the Saturday evening Awards Ceremony where winners from approximately 350 participants in the business competitive events were announced. In addition to the first place finishers aforementioned, other Catawba results and the competing students included:

  • 2nd: Social Media Challenge Team (Emily Najar, Regan Nolan, and Malen Eiríksdóttir) 
  • 2nd: Financial Concepts (Max Bellile) 
  • 2nd: Statistical Analysis (Federico Borrego Higareda) 
  • 2nd: Administrative Technology (Kiersten Nichols) 
  • 3rd: Personal Finance (Lukas Hebling) 
  • 3rd: Impromptu Speaking (Duane Leatherberry) 
  • 3rd: Accounting Principles (Ryen Reid) 
  • 3rd: Macroeconomics (Ryen Reid) 
  • 3rd: Project Management (Emily Najar) 
  • 4th: Macroeconomics (Lukas Hebling) 
  • 4th: Sales Presentation (Josi Rogers) 
  • 4th: Accounting Analysis and Decision Making (Aly Helal)  
  • 5th: Marketing Concepts (Blake Pierce) 
  • 5th: Entrepreneurship (Madalyn Liefert) 
  • 5th: Macroeconomics (Andrew Romano) 
  • 6th: Management Concepts (Regan Nolan) 
  • 6th: Organizational Behavior and Leadership (Ethan Davis) 
  • 6th: Annual Chapter Business Report (Kiersten Nichols) 
  • 7th: Marketing Concepts (Andrew Romano) 
  • 7th: Impromptu Speaking (Madalyn Liefert) 
  • 7th: Accounting Principles (Federico Borrego Higareda) 
  • 8th: Personal Finance (Caitlin Gordon)
  • 8th: Management Concepts (Caitlin Gordon) 
  • 8th: Programming Concepts (DaQuanda Magwood) 

Students receiving 1st through 3rd place state conference awards in most events automatically qualify for the national competitions to be held at PBL Nationals in Baltimore, Maryland in June of this year. 

Accounting for Professionals
(Aly Helal)

One of the secrets to success this year for the Catawba PBL students was the extra practice at a "Prepare for the Fair" event envisioned by PBL President Malen Eiríksdóttir and administered by PBL officers and faculty members Drs. Darin Spencer, Scott Morton and Pamela Thompson, and Professor Jan Corriher-Smith. Dr. Karen Gaskill worked with the Business Law team to help prepare them for their presentation for the Business Law event.

Dr. Thompson explained, "The success of the students in the many categories of participation is a testament to the outstanding education in general education and all disciplines at Catawba."

PBL has engaged in fundraisers all year and also benefited from funding from the SGA to support registration for the State Competition.  While the PBL Clothing Closet is the primary fundraiser for the Catawba chapter, member students also designed and sold t-shirts and currently are selling Catawba College-branded beach towels. The t-shirts and beach towels are available by contacting any PBL member of Dr. Thompson. All proceeds support student travel to state and national competition.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)-PBL is the largest business career student organization in the world with over 240,000 high school, college and professional division members.  FBLA-PBL is recognized by the Association for Career and Technical Education, International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, National Association of Parliamentarians, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Business Education Association, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Thompson noted that Catawba's PBL members have traveled to local high schools that have  FBLA Chapters and have also connected with prospective students during the college's Admissions events and special days. "With the third largest PBL chapter in the state, Catawba College is a great destination for students who want to continue their involvement in Phi Beta Lambda," she said.

FBLA-PBL's National Awards Program recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. Through state-based competition at the spring State Leadership Conferences, students compete in events testing their business knowledge and skills. Top state winners are eligible to compete for honors at the National Leadership Conference each summer.

Other Catawba PBL members shared their thoughts about both attending and competing at the State Leadership Conference:

Malen Eiríksdóttir '18, President of Phi Beta Lambda 2017-18:
"The SLC this year was by far the best for Catawba and we are only going to go up from here. At my first SLC in 2016, we only had a few people compete and not everyone was able to attend the award ceremony. The other schools had a big turnout and they were so loud and proud of their members. I really hoped that one day Catawba could be loud and cheer on fellow members. This year we really took it to another level. I am beyond proud of all the students that competed, their talent and their ability to actually win, even though it was the first conference for a lot of people. We had two and a half tables filled with excited and nervous Catawba students, and each time Catawba was called we screamed so loud. That was a win already for me and I hope a smaller chapter in the room that night used our enthusiasm as a goal to achieve. The team spirit among our group was amazing and people from different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs all came together and enjoyed a wonderful evening. I even had a student from another school come up to me and say "wow this is no longer North Carolina SLC this is more like Catawba SLC". We really put a lot of hard work into this year's SLC and I hope we can win some trophies at Nationals. 

SLC has taught students appropriate dress code, scheduling, being on time, good networking skills and above all Catawba pride. "

Jess Daniel '18, PBL Vice President 2017-2018:
"Participating at the State Leadership Conference was a fantastic experience that I would not trade for anything.  Standing up on stage for Catawba College made all the hard work and preparation for the conference worth it. Branching out of the classroom and applying skills learned to real life situations was awesome and priceless and will make me a better business professional. The networking with business leaders and other students was valuable and will probably lead to connections down the road." 

Lukas Helbing, Incoming PBL President 2018-19:
"Being able to represent Catawba not only in the pool but also in the classroom was a new but great experience. During my time at SLC I was able to connect with other chapter's presidents to create a better corporation between colleges in Salisbury for the future."

Andrew Chambers '17, Profession Division-Foundation Member and Former Executive Vice President of PBL for 2016-17:
"It was an amazing experience to be at North Carolina's PBL State Leadership Conference as a Professional Division - Foundation Member! It was very different not having to stress about giving presentations or taking tests, but so rewarding to help and encourage our students in their events. I am so proud of our students and of the fact that all of who competed placed in at least one of their events. I hope that I am able to continue to support the next generation of PBL members at future State Leadership Conferences!"

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