Each year the UNL College of Business Administration sends a select group of students to the U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference in Annapolis, Md. The goal of the conference is to bring together the best minds in the practice and study of leadership to exchange ideas and experiences among both military and civilian students.
This year’s participants include James Verhoeff, a management and marketing major from Cortland, Neb.; Emily Phillips, an actuarial science major from Overland Park, Kan. and Chris Spanel, a finance major from Lincoln, Neb.
Each student had their own motivations for wanting to participate in the conference. Verhoeff was impressed with the diversity of the participants.
“The more I looked into it I was surprised it had such cross disciplinary participation from business leaders to the military to athletes,” Verhoeff said. “Having a conference with such a wide variety of experience is a great opportunity.”
Spanel emphasized the student connections.
“There are about 60 institutions from across the country that will be represented,” Spanel said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and to learn from them as much as possible.”
Phillips was interested in learning more about leadership in the secret services.
“I took a class where I learned about the FBI and the CIA so that sparked my interest when I found out this conference will have speakers addressing leadership in those areas,” Phillips said.
Betsy Klemme, an academic adviser at CBA, explained that the expectation for these select students is that they bring back a couple of ideas that could be implemented to improve the college.
“Every single time they come back from the conference energized,” Klemme said. “They meet leaders like Tom Brokaw and important generals in the military. It also stretches their thinking as to what they can accomplish.”