Past Leadership Challenge Events

2015 Leadership Challenge Event

The fifth annual Leadership Challenge EventTM took place on April 9 and 10, 2015.


The Leadership Challenge Event™ was a two-day leadership development program that consisted of an educational orientation conference as well as a competitive leadership simulation in which small teams of regional high school and college students interacted within a variety of leadership environments.

Day 1: The Orientation (April 9, 2015)

The orientation portion of the Leadership Challenge Event™ was more traditional and allowed students to understand leadership roles and challenges specific to the organizations and positions they would be simulating on Friday.

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

Session 1: STRIVE – Thriving through Stress

Dr. Bruce Jackson

Session 2: Creative Innovation

Mikki Burcher

Session 3: The Power of Listening

Dr. Mary Pilgram

Session 4: Contextual Leadership

Washburn University Leadership Institute Students

On Thursday evening student participants, team advisors, campus and community sponsors, and community members gathered at the Washburn Memorial Union for a dinner and political nomination convention.

Banquet Featured Keynote Speaker: Greg Tehven

Greg Tehven has spent much of his life believing he can “Create the Community You Want To Live In.” He is the Co-Founder of Emerging Prairie,, 1 Million Cups Fargo, and Students Today Leaders Forever. He teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Concordia College. Greg’s current activities include co-organizing Startup Weekend Fargo and curating TEDxFargo. He loves Settlers of Catan, coffee, hosting dinner parties and ND Class “B” state champs. You can track him down at or on twitter @gregfromfargo.

Day 2: The Competitive Simulation (Friday, April 10, 2015)

 The full-day competitive leadership simulation expected students to work both individually and as a team to solve critical leadership challenges. Students were judged at each step of the competition, and winning teams were announced at the end of the day.

The simulation recreated real-world leadership scenarios for students using a variety of methods:

  • Live interactions—community leaders role-play to enhance the reality of the simulation
  • Video and audio feeds provide real-time updates and simulation theatrics
  • Online environments for information provision
  • Planned and unplanned tasks, meetings and presentations for team members
  • Final presentations in an expo-style event where teams competed head to head.

Student Participants

29 teams participated in the 2015 LCE™.

  • 24 high school teams
  • 5 colleges and university teams
  • Teams represented four states: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Florida

High Schools

  • Derby High School (Derby, KS)
  • Hayden Catholic High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Highland Park High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Louisburg High School (Louisburg, KS)
  • Marian High School (Omaha, NE)
  • Olathe North High School (Olathe, KS)
  • Rossville High School (Rossville, KS)
  • Salina South High School (Salina, KS)
  • Seaman High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Shawnee Heights High School (Tecumseh, KS)
  • Topeka High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Topeka West High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Washburn Rural High School (Topeka, KS)
  • Wellington High School (Wellington, KS)
  • Wichita Heights High School (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita High School East (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita High School South (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita High School Southeast (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita North High School (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita Northeast High School (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita Northeast Magnet High School (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita Northwest High School (Wichita, KS)
  • Wichita West High School (Wichita, KS)

Colleges and Universities

  • Florida Gulf Coast University (Florida)
  • Fort Hays State University (Kansas)
  • Missouri Southern State University (Missouri)
  • Southwestern College (2 teams) (Kansas)


There were 138 volunteers representing Washburn University students, faculty and staff and the Topeka and Shawnee County communities.
  • Community – 52, representing 35 organizations
  • Washburn University Faculty/Staff – 32, representing 27 departments
  • Washburn University students - 54
Volunteer opportunities included:
  • Judges—individuals that engaged in the evaluation of the competitive teams in the leadership simulation, focusing on elements of both leader and leadership effectiveness
  • Simulation role players—individuals that played fictional roles as part of the simulation in a live interactive format: Roles included:
    • Crime Victim
    • Unemployed College Graduate
    • Concerned Teacher
    • Competing Organization Member
    • Graphic Designer
  • Administrative volunteers, comprised of Washburn University Leadership Institute students, managed the logistics of the two-day event

Award Recipients

High School Division Champion Award:

Marian High School #1

High School Division Second Place Award:

Topeka West High School

High School Division Third Place Award:

Shawnee Heights High School

High School Division Outstanding Team Collaboration Award:

Salina South High School

High School Division Outstanding Team Communication Award:

Shawnee Heights High School

High School Division Outstanding Team Innovation Award:

Highland Park High School

College Division Champion Award:

Florida Gulf Coast University

College Division Second Place Award:

Fort Hays State University

College Division Third Place Award:

Southwestern College #2

College Division Outstanding Team Collaboration Award:

Southwestern College #1

College Division Outstanding Team Communication Award:

Southwestern College #2

College Division Outstanding Team Innovation Award:

Fort Hays State University

Community Involvement

The Leadership Challenge Event™ required the involvement and support of the entire community in order to be successful.

Advisory Board
Eleven community members serve on the Leadership Institute Advisory Board, representing their respective organizations:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Capitol Federal Foundation®
  • Educational Credit Union
  • Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce
  • Grogan Coaching and Consulting
  • Jack Hope Design
  • Schendel Lawn and Landscape
  • United Way of Greater Topeka
  • USD 501 Topeka Public Schools
  • Washburn University
  • Westar Energy


Thank you to our 2015 Sponsors!

Platinum Sponsors

  • Capitol Federal Foundation
  • Westar Energy

Bronze Team Sponsors

  • BA Designs
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
  • BNSF Railway
  • Educational Credit Union
  • Hills Pet Nutrition
  • The Craig Group
  • Topeka Community Foundation
  • Washburn University Foundation
  • Washburn University- Office of Sponsored Projects
  • Washburn University-Office of Student Life

Champion Sponsors

  • Capitol Federal Foundation
  • Westar Energy

2nd Place Sponsors

  • Washburn University- First Year Experience

3rd Place Sponsors

  • Heartland Visioning
  • Ron Brown

Medallion Sponsors

  • Shea Kirsop
  • United Way
  • Washburn University- Student Activities and Greek Life
  • Wayne and Kristen Basso

Performance Award Winner

  • Ron Brown
  • Washburn Small Business Development Center
  • Alliance Bank
  • Leadership Institute Class of 2010

General Sponsor

  • Angela Dake

In-Kind Sponsor

  • Panera Bread
  • Washburn University Memorial Union & Chartwells Dining
  • Westside Stamps and Awards
  • Washburn University - Office of Admissions

Team Registrations

  • Lyndon State Bank
  • Go Topeka EMBD

What's an Ichabod?


Washburn's mascot, the Ichabod, honors the school's early benefactor, Ichabod Washburn, a 19th century Massachusetts industrialist. The original design of the studious-looking, tuxedo-clad figure was created in 1938 by Bradbury Thompson (ba '34), who became an internationally acclaimed graphic artist. Design wasn't Thompson's only consideration. To the stylized Ichabod the artist attributed the qualities of "...courage and enthusiasm, as shown by his brisk walk. He is democratic and courteous, for he tips his hat as he passes. Sincere in his search for truth and knowledge, he studiously carries a book under his arm..."

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