SIC Recognized with Top Honors at PBL National Leadership Conference

NCL 2019 (l-r) Lexa Carney of Eldorado, Mattie Ryder of Eldorado, and EmmaLee Pruitt of Norris City travelled to San Antonio where they competed at the PBL National Leadership Conference.

Southeastern Illinois College Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) students, Lexa Carney of Eldorado, EmmaLee Pruitt of Norris City, and Mattie Ryder of Eldorado, along with advisor Kelsie Rodman, joined more than 2,000 of America’s best and brightest college students as they traveled to Texas to Create. Lead. Inspire. They also competed for the opportunity to win more than $114,000 in cash awards.

The PBL National Leadership Conference was held June 24–27 in San Antonio. Participants from across the United States attended this exciting conference to enhance their business skills, expand their networks, and participate in 60 business and business-related competitive events.

Carney, Pruitt and Ryder received national recognition at the PBL Awards of Excellence Program June 27.

Pruitt placed first in the nation, and won $1,000, in the Small Business Management Plan category. Her plan included a company description, industry analysis, long-term development, marketing plan and financials, among many other pieces that were presented. She advanced to nationals by winning first at the state PBL competition in April.

“Joining PBL has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have made” said Pruitt. “I love being a part of a group of people who love the business world and love succeeding, just like I do. Receiving a first place award was already very exciting, but knowing that we all had to compete against students in some of the biggest universities across the nation and even students working toward a graduates degree to earn our awards makes it even more rewarding. We all worked so hard on our reports, tests, and presentations and it showed!”

Ryder placed fourth in the nation, and won $200, in Marketing Concepts. Her objective exam covered topics such as E-Marketing, International Marketing, Legal and Social Aspects, and Marketing Research. She advanced to nationals by winning first at the state PBL competition in April.

“Competing for SIC in San Antonio this year has given me so many memories with great friends that I know I’ll never forget,” said Ryder. “It’s so rewarding to see the hard work that you put into practicing presentations, studying for tests and all of the time that goes into preparing for competitions like this to pay off. Being able to step off that national stage with a trophy is the best kind of reward you can get after all of that and watching people that you’ve grown close to be able to do the same is just as much fun. I’m really glad I was able to represent SIC for a second year and am so grateful to have had these opportunities through PBL.”

Carney and Ryder also placed seventh in the nation in Social Media Challenge. For their presentation, they created a social media campaign to encourage participation in a nonprofit giving campaign for Junior Achievement. They advanced to nationals by winning second at the state PBL competition in April.

“I’m so glad I got the opportunity to attend this conference,” said Carney. “San Antonio is such a beautiful city and was a great host for the convention. I was very excited to come away with seventh place in the Social Media Challenge with Mattie. Walking onstage and having my name called in front of a live audience was so cool. This trip was an experience I’ll never forget!”

Pruitt earned a first-place finish in the state PBL competition in April, and advanced to the national competition in Community Service Project. Carney earned a second-place finish in the state PBL competition in April, and advanced to the national competition in Business Communication.

The award was part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by FBLA-PBL that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. In addition to competitions, students immersed themselves in interactive workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall, and heard from motivational keynotes on a broad range of business topics.

“I am so proud of these students,” said Rodman. “They worked so hard on their presentations, exams and reports for the NLC.”

Rodman urges high school students in FBLA to continue their participation in the collegiate version, PBL at SIC. For more information on SIC’s business program and PBL, contact Rodman at 618-252-5400 ext. 2322 or at

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc., the premier student business organization, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education association with a quarter million members and advisers in over 6,500 active middle school, high school and college chapters worldwide. FBLA-PBL’s mission is to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences. The association is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit