This summer, three Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students traveled to Nashville, Tenn., for the National Leadership Conference, hosted by Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL). SMWC Phi Beta Lambda members Bethany Arrigo, Heather Davis and Jessica McManus earned the opportunity to compete at the national level after placing in competitive events at the State Leadership Conference this past spring.
“Much can be gained by attending a leadership conference in another city,” stated Bethany Arrigo, PBL vice president and accounting major at SMWC. “Those in attendance learn to adapt in a situation where they have to mingle with new people, navigate in new surroundings, and blend into the culture of a different city. It teaches students to step outside their comfort zone and to learn to thrive in any situation.”
The National Leadership Conference is the annual culminating trip for the SMWC Phi Beta Lambda leadership club, and students are selected to participate based on their efforts during the academic year. The students are able to sharpen their leadership skills by competing in competitive events, attending workshops, working toward new certifications and attending seminars.
“Experience is important for leaders and if they can gain confidence in some low-key opportunities, they will have the confidence to keep climbing higher towards larger scale leadership activities later down the road,” stated Jim Tanoos, PBL advisor and assistant professor of management at SMWC.
Bethany Arrigo of Manchester, N.H., and Heather Davis of Indianapolis, Ind., accounting major, both competed in Personal Finance. Jessica McManus of Logansport, Ind., psychology major competed in Computer Concepts.
“Students that were invited to the conference were rewarded for their leadership during the academic year,” stated Tanoos. “We are proud of their desire to improve their already solid leadership skill sets. These students serve as ambassadors for SMWC and represent their school with true professionalism.”
The PBL chapter at SMWC is a professional student business organization that emphasizes the development of its members into becoming the next generation of business leaders.
“Leadership is important in today’s world because competition for jobs is intense,” stated Arrigo. “Employers want more than just someone with an education; they want an individual who is striving towards a goal and who will lead others to greatness as well.”
The mission of PBL is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. A student does not necessarily need to be in a certain field or major to engage and benefit from PBL. Leadership is inherent in any area and all majors are welcome.