Leadership Challenge Event

2012 Leadership Challenge Event

“I really enjoyed the 2012 Leadership Challenge Event©.  I didn’t participate in the first one last year and I can truly say that I regret not doing that.  It was a great experience.  From the students who came from other universities and high schools to the role players to the judges to the simulation to Ed O’Malley’s speech, everything was truly wonderful and spectacular.”- Anonymous Volunteer through evaluation

The second annual Challenge Event© took place on March 29th and 30th, 2012. 


“This conference was a great experience.  It really helped me figure out what I need to work on as a person.  It was very professional, and everyone that worked and volunteered was wonderful and very helpful.” – Anonymous Volunteer through evaluation

The conference portion of the LCE© continued the traditional approach and allowed students to understand leadership roles and challenges specific to the organizations and positions they would be simulating Friday. 

Leaders from the community provided insights and leadership lessons in break-out sessions:

Session 1: Organizational Leadership

  • Jim Leiker, Chief Executive Officer of Easter Seals Capper Foundation,Topeka, Kansas
  • Pam Leinwetter, Budget Director of USD 501, Topeka Public Schools
  • Charlie Lord, Chief Executive Officer of YMCA of Topeka
  • Dr. Denise Ottinger, Vice President of Student Life, Washburn University
  • Dr. Nancy Tate, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, Washburn University

Session 2: Role Specific Leadership

  • Laura Burton, Public Education Coordinator, YWCA of Topeka
  • Phillip Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Flint Hills Community Health Center, Emporia
  • Jeri Hansen, Vice President of Human Resources, Capitol Federal Savings,Topeka
  • Miriam Krehbiel, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Greater Topeka
  • Charlie Lord, Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Topeka

On Thursday evening, student participants along with team advisors, volunteers, and community members gathered at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center for a dinner and program featuring keynote speaker Ed O’Malley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kansas Leadership Center.


“The application is huge, being able to take the classroom experience and apply it.  That’s what makes it unique and important.” – John Montgomery, advisor to Fort Hays State University

The 2012 LCE© Simulation expected students to work both individually and as a team to solve a budget crisis resulting from the embezzlement of millions of dollars within the Central Kansas Community Foundation.   

19 teams participated, twelve of those being from high schools and seven from colleges and universities.  Four states were represented: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois. 

High Schools

  • Benton (St. Joseph, MO) 
  • Cair Paravel (Topeka, KS) 
  • Caney Valley (Caney, KS) 
  • Louisburg (Louisburg, KS) 
  • Campus (Haysville, KS) 
  • Wellington (Wellington, KS) 
  • Hayden (Topeka, KS) 
  • Washburn Rural (Topeka, KS) 
  • Shawnee Heights (Topeka, KS) 
  • Topeka High (Topeka, KS) 
  • Topeka West (Topeka, KS) 
  • Highland Park (Topeka, KS)

Colleges and Universities

  • York College (NE) 
  • Fort Hays State (KS) 
  • Donnelly College (KS) 
  • McKendree University (IL)- two teams participated 
  • Metropolitan Community College (MO) 
  • Washburn University (KS)


Topeka Community Foundation 2012 Champion Award

College Division: Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas)

High School Division: Hayden High School 

Joe & Jillain Williams Award for Team Communication

Topeka West High School (Topeka, KS)

St. Francis Health Center Award for Team Communication

McKendree University, Team 1 (Lebanon, IL)

Intrust Bank Award for Team Collaboration

York College, (York, NE)

BNSF Railway Award for Team Collaboration

Washburn Rural High School (Topeka, KS)


Community Involvement

“This was an incredible experience and I am so impressed with your campus and community involvement! The quality and reality of the experience was excellent.” - Misty Chandler, advisor to Metropolitan Community College

The 2012 LCE© was truly a representation of the Heartland Visioning initiative strongly underway in Topeka and Shawnee County.  The LCE© required the involvement and support of the entire community in order to produce this event.

  • There was a $50K economic impact in Topeka as a result of the 2012 LCE© (analysis by Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce).


The Capitol Federal Foundation was the title sponsor for the 2012 LCE©, providing significant financial and human resources for the production of the event.

Seven organizations were award sponsors

  • Wayne and Kristen Basso- Participant medallions
  • BNSF Railway- Team Collaboration award (high school division)
  • INTRUST Bank- Team Collaboration award (college division)
  • Joe and Jillain Williams- Team Communication award (high school division)
  • St. Francis Health Center- Team Communication award (college division)
  • Topeka Community Foundation- Champions awards
  • Washburn University Admissions- Scholarships to high school champion participants

Eleven Organizations were team sponsors:

  • BA Designs
  • Capital City Bank
  • Educational Credit Union
  • Go Topeka EMBD
  • Hallmark Cards
  • Lyndon State Bank
  • Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2012
  • Security Benefit
  • Washburn University Foundation
  • Washburn University Office of Student Life
  • Westar Energy

General and in-kind Sponsors:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Sunflower Marketing
  • Washburn University Admissions
  • Washburn Unions and Chartwells Dining
  • Westside Stamp and Awards


There were 173 volunteers made up of WU students, faculty and staff as well as the Topeka and Shawnee County communities. 

  • 81 from the community representing 56 organizations
  • 26 from Washburn University Faculty and Staff, representing 19 departments
  • 66 Washburn University Students