On Saturday, Jan. 10, UW-Stout hosted the annual DECA District 1 Career Development Conference.
More than 600 students from 16 regional high schools were decked out in business professional attire with shoes polished, game faces on and their “future CEO” mindset.
DECA is an internationally renowned program that prepares students to be career-ready leaders and nurtures skills that will help students flourish in an ever-changing, competitive job market.
This year is particularly special to the Wisconsin state DECA organization because it is celebrating 50 years of changing the lives of thousands of DECA members.
How does DECA work?
DECA is all about taking classroom curriculum that revolves around real-world business and
marketing experiences. Then, students apply that knowledge to competitive events at a district, state and international level.
Although some events differ slightly from state to state, they generally involve the same career clusters. The clusters are hospitality and tourism; finance; business management and administration; and marketing.
I was lucky enough to help the MBEA – Marketing and Business Education Association students at UW-Stout – organize the week leading up to this big competition.
With about 660 students expected to compete (about 100 more than last year), my week involved a lot of paper cutting, folding and alphabetizing; also, stuffing folders, labeling nametags and preparing tests.
It was a long week, but the MBEA students and staff were on top of their game. It was extremely efficient and well-planned. The leadership I saw within the MBEA organization was extremely impressive.
It was so cool to see all of the chai rs stuffed into the Great Hall in the Memorial Student Center the night before the big event.
Although DECA is a new term to most people I meet, it has been ingrained into my mind since my sophomore year of high school. I am proud to say I was part of the Mounds View DECA chapter in Minnesota. It is through DECA that I have grown the most and cultivated my love for how the business world works.
Through the help of my DECA adviser, John Duffy, the Mounds View DECA chapter, family, and friends, I worked my way to being an international finalist my senior year. To our knowledge, I was the first person in Mounds View DECA history to advance that far.
(Wow, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.)
I was happy to help out with the DECA District 1 Career Development Conference because DECA has helped me flourish and build my career goals in so many ways; therefore, I will take any opportunity I have to give back to such a great organization.
Congratulations to all of those back home in the Twin Cities and to those who competed at UW-Stout.
For those who advanced, I wish you the best of the luck at the state Career Development Conference March 10-12 in Lake Geneva.