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It’s Not All Business at National FBLA Conference

It’s Not All Business at National FBLA Conference

NORFOLK, Neb. – It’s almost impossible to avoid mixing business with pleasure, especially when the business involves a conference in Orlando, Fla.

Twelve Northeast Community College business students returned on Friday, June 28, from the national Future Business Leaders of America Conference in Orlando. They arrived in the Sunshine State on Saturday, June 22.

Their trip included work, competition and conferences -- with a little fun and sightseeing that included Universal Studios in Orlando. Jacie Ambrose of St. Paul, Neb., placed sixth in public speaking and eighth in business communications. Mori Lopez of Norfolk finished 10th in computer applications.

A team of Max Heppner, Norfolk; Eli McPhillips, Humphrey; Payton Silva, Shelby; and Kyra Louthan, Stanton, placed 10th in finance case competition.

McPhillips said he appreciates the connections he makes and meeting people at FBLA conferences. McPhillips made nationals last year as well at Northeast, placing eighth in management analysis and decision making and ninth in marketing analysis and decision making.

“Both years were a lot of fun,” McPhillips said. “Last year made me want to come back.”

Ambrose said she had been to FBLA nationals in high school, so she knew a little about it and that motivated her.

“I didn’t (place last year), so I knew that I had to put in a really good effort to start out my collegiate level right,” she said.

Ambrose said she enjoyed being with other students and making friends with those on the trip.

“Probably the best was just the self-satisfaction I had,” she said. “I had worked really hard on my public speaking and there were probably 60 people in that category, and I got sixth place. I was a little surprised, but all that hard work really does pay off.”

For public speaking, those competing had to speak on one of the FBLA goals. Ambrose chose to speak on how FBLA has strengthened her confidence, including overcoming insecurity aspects that everyone must overcome to be successful.

Lopez, who originally is from Northern California, received 10th place in computer applications. 

Lopez said she chose Northeast because it was more affordable than college in California.

“California, even if you have lived there your whole life, it gets really expensive,” she said. “That and we just had a major fire happen near us (the Dixie Fire). We just decided that we didn’t really want to live there anymore.”

Lopez said her family has relatives in this area, so they decided to move. 

Lopez went to the nationals last year with Northeast but didn’t place. Along with the competitions, students attend leadership development workshops, network with their peers and business experts, and discover new ideas to shape their career futures.

Cara Hoehne, Northeast business instructor, said the FBLA revamped some of the competition this year.

 All 12 students who went to Orlando had to qualify at the state competition in April in Kearney.

Parker Clausen of Norfolk said it was an enjoyable time, especially the bonds formed between Northeast students.

“I got to build a good, family relationship with these guys,” Clausen said. “Universal was probably my favorite. That was my first time being there and I had some good times with my classmates.”

FBLA Return
Shown returning from the FBLA National Conference on Friday (from left) are Eli McPhillips, Jacie Ambrose, Mori Lopez and Cara Hoehne, Northeast business instructor. FBLA is the largest career and technical student organization in the world focused solely on business. (Northeast Community College)