Past Leadership Challenge Events

2017 Leadership Challenege Event


The Leadership Challenge Event™ is a two-day leadership development program that consists of a half-day educational orientation conference and a full-day competitive leadership simulation in which small teams of high school and college students interact within a variety of leadership environments. This is a student-led event and is facilitated by the students of the Washburn University Leadership Institute.

Day 1: The Orientation (Thursday, March 2, 2017)

The orientation portion of the Leadership Challenge Event™ is more traditional and allows students to learn from area experts about key leadership competencies, many of which are evaluated during the leadership simulation on Friday.
Leaders from the Washburn campus and community provided insights and leadership lessons in the following break-out sessions:
Session 1: Incident Command System Workshop

  • Ron Brown
Session 2: Everybody Likes That Guy: How to Be That Guy
  • Andrea Engstrom and Zach Haney
Session 3: Leadership Isn’t Colorblind
  • Dr. Eric Grospitch and Danielle Dempsey-Swopes

On Thursday evening, student participants, team advisors, event sponsors and community members gathered at the Washburn Memorial Union for a banquet and the Centennial celebration of the HoneyDaze Festival. The festival that has been occurring for 100 years in Metropolis, Kansas, is a staple and has been a significant source of revenue for the county.

Additionally, the banquet featured Earl Kemper as the keynote speaker. Earl believes that the key to success in life and business is to have a burning passion to be the best that you can possible be, have clarity, and confidently take action. He helps business owners achieve freedom, finances, and fulfillment in their life and in their business. He is passionate about helping people realize their potential and equipping teams for massive results. He is a Master Coach with ActionCOACH Business Coaching in Topeka, Kansas, and is booked internationally with speaking, coaching, and training engagements. His team serves organizations ranging from small business to Fortune 500 companies.

Day 2: The Competitive Simulation (Friday, March 3, 2017)

The full-day competitive leadership simulation prompted students to work both individually and as a team to
solve critical leadership challenges. Students were judged continuously throughout the competition, and
winning teams were announced at the end of the day.
The simulation recreated real-world leadership scenarios for students in a variety of methods:

  • Live interactions in which community leaders role-played scenarios with participants to enhance the reality of the simulation
  • Video and audio feeds that provided real-time updates and simulation theatrics in order for participants to gain information and make decisions
  • Planned and unplanned tasks and meetings for team members
  • Recruitment presentations where students had to create and present innovative proposals to professionals.

Student Participants

33 teams participates in the LCETM this year:

  • 25 high school teams
  • 8 college and university teams
  • These teams represented three states: Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri

High Schools

  • Chase
  • Derby
  • Emporia
  • Highland Park
  • Louisburg
  • Omaha Westside (2)
  • Piper
  • Rossville
  • Sabetha
  • Seaman (2)
  • Shawnee Heights
  • Topeka High
  • Topeka West
  • Washburn Rural
  • Wellington (2)
  • Wichita East (2)
  • Wichita North
  • Wichita Northwest
  • Wichita South
  • Wichita West

Colleges and Universities

  • Fort Hays State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Metropolitan Community College - Maple Woods
  • Southwestern College (2)
  • Union College
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (2)


There were over 180 volunteers representing Washburn University students, faculty and staff and the Topeka and Shawnee County communities involved with the event.

  • Community – 68, representing 37 organizations
  • Washburn University Faculty/Staff – 39
  • Washburn University students - 73

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:
    • Angry resident
    • Sick patients
    • Concerned student
    • Company representative
    • Journalist
  • Administrative volunteers, comprised of Washburn University Leadership Institute students, managed the logistics of the two-day event.

Award Recipients

High School Division

Champion Award: Piper High School
Second Place Award: Derby High School
Third Place Award: Shawnee Heights High School
Outstanding Team Collaboration Award: Shawnee Heights High School
Outstanding Team Communication Award: Derby High School

College Division

Champion Award: Fort Hays State University
Second Place Award: University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Red Team
Third Place Award: Union College
Outstanding Team Collaboration Award: University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Red Team
Outstanding Team Communication Award: University of Nebraska-Lincoln – White Team

Community Involvement

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

Fourteen community members serve on the Leadership Institute Advisory Board, representing the following organizations:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Capitol Federal® Foundation
  • Azura Credit Union
  • Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce
  • Grogan Coaching and Consulting
  • Jack Hope Design
  • Schendel Lawn and Landscape
  • Topeka Metro
  • Security Benefit
  • USD 501 Topeka Public Schools
  • Visit Topeka
  • Washburn University
  • Westar Energy©


Westar Energy© and Capitol Federal® Foundation w title sponsors for the 2017 Leadership Challenge Event, providing significant financial and human resources for the production of the event.

Award sponsors:

  • BA Designs
  • Heartland Visioning
  • Leadership Institute Class of 2010
  • Shea and Lindsey Kirsop
  • Susan and Clark Duffy
  • Topeka Metro
  • Tower Metal Works Inc.
  • UMB Bank
  • United Way of Greater Topeka
  • Washburn Transformational Experience(3)
  • Washburn University First-Year Experience
  • Washburn University Student Activities and Greek Life

Team sponsors:

  • Advisors Excel (3)
  • Azura Credit Union (2)
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • BNSF Railway Company
  • Flint Hills Community Health Center
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition
  • J. F. McGivern, Inc. (2)
  • Pleasant Hill Animal Hospital
  • Ron and Margaret Brown (2)
  • Security Benefit
  • The Craig Group, Inc.
  • The Robb Company
  • Topeka Community Foundation (2)
  • Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation
  • Washburn University Career Services
  • Washburn University Leadership Washburn
  • Washburn University Student Life
  • Washburn University School of Business
  • Washburn University Student Recreation and Wellness Center

General Sponsors:

  • RJ and Angela Dake
  • Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences

In-Kind Sponsors:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Small Cakes
  • Starbucks Coffee, 1223 SW Wanamaker
  • Starbucks Coffee, 3020 SW Wanamaker
  • Washburn University Office of Admissions
  • Washburn Memorial Union and Washburn Dining
  • Western Associates, Inc.
  • Westside Stamp and Awards, Inc.
  • Panera Bread Co.

Media sponsor:

  • KTWU

Content sponsors:

  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Washburn Institute of Technology
  • KanTRAIN