Two Southwestern Community College (SWCC) students traveled to Orlando, FL, from May 10-14, 2017, to compete and place in the top 10 during the 2017 Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference.

Jenna Shepherd, arts and sciences college transfer/business administration major from Shannon City, and Shawna Abell, administrative office technology major from Greenfield, represented SWCC at the national conference. During the conference, Shepherd and Abell participated in a number of business-related contests. Shepherd placed eighth in the “Interview Skills” category. Abell placed 10th in “Fundamental Word Processing.” They qualified for the national competition by placing in the top three at state competition in Des Moines in February. 

Shepherd, who graduated from SWCC in May 2017 with her Associate of Arts degree, plans to transfer to Northwest Missouri State University in the fall where she will major in business administration. Shepherd is a 2015 Creston High School graduate.

Abell, who achieved a 4.0 during the spring 2017 term, will return to SWCC in the fall to work toward her Associate of Applied Science degree in administrative office technology. Abell is a 2016 graduate of Nodaway Valley High School in Greenfield.

While at the 2017 BPA National Leadership Conference, the students listened to renowned youth speaker and teen expert, Josh Shipp, deliver a poignant and positive message on overcoming adversity and becoming a positive role model to those influenced by others actions. In addition to attending the keynote speaker, Shepherd and Abell attended workshops on leadership development and spoke with state and national BPA officers. The students were accompanied on the trip by Dr. Barb Brown, SWCC administrative office technology instructor and BPA sponsor. 

BPA is the premier Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) for students pursuing careers in business, management, office administration, information technology, and other related career fields. BPA has 45,000 members in more than 1,800 chapters in 25 states and Puerto Rico. The organization’s mission is to contribute to the preparation of global professionals through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills. More than 5,800 BPA members gathered to compete, showcase their business skills, and develop their leadership acumen at the national conference in Orlando.