Bloomsburg tandem sees success reach national stage


By Jaime North, Content Development Specialist

A pair of Commonwealth University-Bloomsburg business students made a name for themselves on the national level this summer at the annual Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference in Chicago.

One brought back a trophy, while the other took home a title.

Nicholas Spallone, an international business major and secretary for Bloomsburg’s Phi Beta Lambda chapter, won the Emerging Business Issues competition. That same weekend, Kimberly Speece, a business education major and vice president of Bloomsburg’s chapter, was elected as the new national vice president of membership for FBLA-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc.

Bloomsburg tandem sees success reach national stage

“FBLA has helped me stand out from my peers immensely,” says Speece, who plans to become an FBLA advisor as a business education teacher. “While a good number of students do have FBLA on their resumes from high school, my involvement tells scholarship boards and job interviewers about my dedication and focus on the organization.”

She adds, “I strongly believe that FBLA will set me apart from my competition once I’m looking for jobs. An educator that has firsthand experience in the largest career and technical student organization in the world is one I think would connect with students on a different level.”

Spallone’s competition involved having him give a presentation on the increasing need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the business environment. No equipment. A line of judges. Seven minutes to speak.

Bloomsburg tandem sees success reach national stage

“I focused my presentation around how business is a game of chess — a company can only focus on making winning moves against their competition,” Spallone says. “DEI is a winning move in that it's not guaranteed to have any company win, but it makes them more likely to outperform competitors thanks to what DEI can provide for the business.”

Spallone credits his experience with the Zeigler Institute for Professional Development along with the foundation built through Bloomsburg’s international business program on his advancement within FBLA and this summer’s competition.

“I couldn't have done it without ZIPD teaching me to think outside the box as both a student and community member,” Spallone says. “The opportunities ZIPD provided let me get comfortable with speaking to strangers who are more qualified than I am on any topic.”

Speece has experienced a similar effect.

“ZIPD has shown me what traditional college students are looking for in networking and career development organizations,” Speece says. “ZIPD and FBLA are actually incredibly similar, except FBLA covers more ground. Its scope is large. There’s a better chance for FBLA students to win scholarships, receive awards, and gain national recognition than in regional organizations. At a mid-size college like Bloomsburg, student recognition is important to feel heard and welcomed, and I think FBLA can do just that for any student.”

She adds, “I’ve made connections with FBLA members across the nation. Who else can say their best friends are from Utah, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, and more?”