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2022 Pamplin Student Leadership Conference

At the 23rd annual Pamplin Student Leadership Conference on Sept. 24, 100 Virginia Tech students enhanced their leadership skills through a full-day of innovative programming that included workshops, networking with industry leaders, and keynote remarks from KPMG US Senior Partner Kimberly Davis-Riffe '91.

The conference — open to all Virginia Tech students through a selective application process — was planned and executed by the Pamplin Leadership Development Team, a group of highly-motivated undergraduate students who deliver leadership development opportunities for fellow students throughout the year. 

Conference workshops included:

  • Strategies for successful behavioral interviews using the STAR model for interviewing presented by EY.
  • Methods for personal brand building and highlighting your brand when networking for first-year and sophomore students presented by ALKU. Participants were able to apply their learnings throughout the conference’s networking sessions.
  • An interactive case interview workshop for juniors and seniors delivered by the Consulting Group at Virginia Tech (CGVT). Presenters walked through a real-world case example, sharing their thought processes, and encouraging attendees to share how they would approach specific questions and scenarios.

In her keynote presentation, Davis-Riffe, who graduated from the Pamplin College of Business with a degree in accounting, discussed the professional, educational, and personal pathways that led to her career as a senior partner at KPMG, emphasizing how there is no singular straight path to success.

She drew upon her own experiences as a Pamplin undergrad – sharing how a low grade in accounting helped fueled an enduring persistence to work hard and master the material – to highlight how failures can often help spur positive redirection. Upon graduation from Virginia Tech, she would go on to pass the CPA exam on her first try and serve in roles of increasing responsibility at KPMG US, BearingPoint, Freddie Mac, Protiviti, Inc., and full circle back to KPMG US.

Davis-Riffe spoke to the need for compassionate leaders across every sector. She shared how tapping into values like empathy and compassion can help leaders approach tough decision-making situations, but ultimately it is up to the leader to navigate a balance of head and heart.

Throughout the day, students networked with industry professionals from sponsor companies EY, ALKU, KPMG US, RSM US LLP, Belk, and Ferguson Enterprises.

Keynote speaker Kimberly Davis-Riffe
Keynote speaker Kimberly Davis-Riffe
Students networked with industry sponsors at the event.
Students networked with industry sponsors at the event.

Business Leadership Center 

The Pamplin Leadership Development Team is among the host of programs delivered by the Business Leadership Center aimed at engaging undergraduate students in top-notch leadership development and mentoring experiences.

Housed within the Department of Management, the cross-disciplinary Business Leadership Center operates to educate, develop, and grow students’ leadership skills in preparation for their future careers. The center also coordinates the Pathways Minor in Organizational Leadership program; Pamplin Leadership Academy; and Virginia Tech Ethics Week.