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EDITORIAL Publisher Edward Davis Editor Christopher Young Managing Editor Janelle Scudder Editorial Committee Jeff Collins, Sandra Tucker, Lucy Young Advertising Cindy Allen Art Direction and Design Chuck Beatty


DECA NATIONAL OFFICERS President Morgan Thompson North Atlantic Region Vice President Emily Socha Central Region Vice President Christine O’Neil Southern Region Vice President Jordan Robinson Western Region Vice President Victoria Caña




President Elsa Tavares Vice President Demi Hall Vice President Michael Pham Vice President Fidelmar Rivera, Jr. Vice President Jessica Tormey


BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Jacklyn Schiller President-elect Jim Brock Secretary Lynore Levenhagen Treasurer Marsha Bock Members Mary Peres, Ev Vaughan, Dave Wait NAB Chair Roger Glenn Ex-Officio Members Edward Davis, LeAnn Dinsdale, Wayne Kutzer

EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE DECA Direct Magazine 1908 Association Drive Reston, Virginia 20191-1594

SUBSCRIPTIONS & CHANGE OF ADDRESS DECA Direct Circulation 1908 Association Drive Reston, Virginia 20191-1594

DECA Direct (ISSN 1080-0476) is published four times each year—September/October, November/December, January/February and March/April. Copyright ©2013 by the Distributive Education Clubs of America, Inc., 1908 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191-1594. All rights reserved. Annual non-member subscription rate is $5.00. Periodicals postage paid at Herndon, Virginia and additional mailing offices. $1.00 of membership fee goes toward subscription to DECA Direct, a publication of DECA, (USPS 566-200), Volume 1, Number 4. Postmaster—Send form 3579 for change of address to: DECA Direct, 1908 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191-1594.

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FEATURES STAND OUT COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS Discover tips and tricks to perfecting your cover letter and résumé so yours will rise to the top.

ACING THE INTERVIEW So you got the interview, but now what? Publix human resource professional Sue Ward shares how to prepare for a job interview.

SKILLS GAINED FROM THE DECA EXPERIENCE Learn how the skills and experiences you receive as a DECA member can be translated into your college career and postgraduate life.

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DIGITAL DETOX DECA alumna Laura Schneider shares her experience going through a digital detox on national TV.


FROM DECA TO A DIGITAL CAREER DECA helped Laura Schneider turn her dream marketing career into a reality.

FAREWELL FROM YOUR 2012–13 OFFICER TEAMS Your DECA National Officers share their final thoughts and good-byes.



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TIMELINE MARCH 2013 1 dvisor scholarship applications A postmark deadline Advocacy Campaign due I CDC competitors’ final membership eligibility

1–31 Piper Jaffray Spring Online Survey

8 National Officer applications due

25 I CDC registration and hotel rooming list/deposit due from chartered associations

APRIL 2013 1–3 Piper Jaffray Spring Online Survey

24–27 ECA International Career D Development Conference, Anaheim, Calif.

JUNE 2013 13–15 ECA Train the Trainer Certification D Course, Reston, Va.



MORGAN THOMPSON | DECA NATIONAL PRESIDENT Two years ago, I wanted nothing more than to attend a certain college. The institution is known for its sterling reputation and innovative thinkers, and I genuinely believed it was the perfect fit for me. As it turned out, though, the admissions officers at the college didn’t feel the same way. I was devastated at not being accepted—to say the least. This had been the only college I’d ever truly seen myself attending, and I didn’t know where to turn. Then my dad offered me a valuable piece of advice that has stuck with me: be open to new possibilities. As a high school student, you’re constantly looking ahead. The future we so often envision usually includes enrolling at a college or university immediately upon graduating from high school. Reflecting on what my dad told me, though, I can now see how right he was. I had envisioned one specific future, and in doing so had closed myself off to any other options. That rejection letter turned out to be one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever received, because it forced me to seek out new experiences and opportunities. It gave me the courage to pursue the challenge of becoming National DECA President. So, in the end, receiving that rejection letter made me realize that I’m so much more than what one college thinks of me. DECA members are risk-takers and change-makers who challenge themselves to make a difference in the world. As I begin (again) the process of applying to college and waiting for those acceptance letters, I continue to take my dad’s advice to heart. As you look toward your future, there will be plenty of people ready to tell you what they think of you. Don’t let these preconceived notions define who you are. Instead, challenge yourself to seek out new opportunities and to use the skills you’ve learned through your experience in DECA to THRIVE in your future—whether that involves college, starting a career or heading down your own unique path.


MBAResearch Conclave, Providence, R.I.

18–21 Bring Your Classroom to Life with DECA Institute, Charlotte, N.C.

24–27 ECA Entrepreneurship Best D Practices to Enhance Student Achievement Institute, Miami, Fla.

27–July 4 DECA National Officer Training, Reston, Va.

JULY 2013 5–19 DECA Goes to China with People to People Student Ambassador Program

22-24 Emerging Leader Summit, Washington, D.C.

AUGUST 2013 13–14 New Advisors of Chartered Associations Training, Atlanta, Ga.

15–17 State Association Management (SAM) Conference, Atlanta, Ga.





TIMELINE MARCH 2013 1 Advisor of the Year Award deadline Chapter and State Leadership Award deadline Community Service Award deadline Passport Award applications (chapter and individual) due at DECA Inc.

15 National Officer Candidate applications due

20 ICDC Registration (to DECA Inc.) and housing (to hotel) due date Recipients of students, advisor and chapter recognition programs posted online at

APRIL 2013 17–20 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference, Anaheim, Calif.



AUGUST 2013 15–17 State Association Management (SAM) Conference, Atlanta, Ga.

There are lots of decisions to make when thinking about college, but the decisionmaking process doesn’t stop once you’ve selected a school and started your education. As graduation approaches, you’ll begin to make more decisions about jobs and life after school. Here are a couple things to consider when making decisions about your post-college career. What are you good at? We consider our strengths when choosing our classes and declaring our majors, because we tend to do well at the things we enjoy. We even choose our careers based on our interests and talents. On the contrary, though, you may discover that what you enjoy as a hobby is not what you see yourself making into a career. College academic advisors are valuable resources, so seek their help in choosing a variety of classes that expose you to new ideas or areas of study. Experience pays off. Many schools offer career services ranging from tips on résumé writing and professional dress workshops to valuable internship opportunities; often, these services are even available free of charge! Take advantage of these perks as an undergraduate and alleviate some of the stress associated with landing a job during your senior year or right after graduation. Don’t give up. A few years ago, a handful of other students and I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Bernake, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve at the time. We asked Mr. Bernake what he felt was the best advice to give a soon-to-be college graduate. He told us to be cautious with our expectations. More often than not, you won’t land your dream job right out of college. Maybe that “dream job” won’t even turn out to be as ideal as you’d imagined. Do these realities mean you should abandon your fantasy of a dream career? Not necessarily, but they do underscore the need to work hard if you want to achieve your lofty goal. Just remember to stay positive, be proactive, learn as much as possible, keep abreast of industry trends and, most importantly, don’t give up! “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” —Colin Powell MARCH–APRIL 2013




@decainc or @collegiatedeca


@MatthewRod_21: Just because exams are over doesn’t mean I’m not going to stop studying for my DECA exam for state. :P #decacated #DECA @bdogtweets: My judges were actually awesome! #DECA #area4deca @linds810: Last #DECA districts ever. This is the only thing that I will legitimately miss once I graduate :/ @ellieh439: Gold student project=DONE #relieved #DECA







Leave your comments on DECA’s Facebook pages at or DECA DIRECT

@ayeeeitsemily: I’m already too excited for State! #deca @KanwalChandani: All the work paid off! Made it to state! #DECA #CorpusChristi ‫@‏‬KarishmaRatnani: hearing all our members talk about how much they enjoyed today makes me so happy #DECA #excited4state @Jessy_Jewell: Still can’t believe I won all 3 medals today. #DECA



@Stephen_Perkins: What a day! D4 competitions went great despite some small challenges. We really brought it though! Now looking forward to state CDC! #DECA


@WyandotteDECA: Tomorrow is a new day! #staypositive #deca @Caleb_Chappell: @decamorgant: Who is excited for #DECA competition season?” Every DECA member alive. @traaker: Foothill DECA excels at district conference! 19 students take top honors (1st - 3rd place) overall! #DECA #cadeca #foothilldeca

Tweet: Do you have a great résumé that is just waiting to score you the perfect job? Tweet a picture of it to @DECAInc and tell us what makes it so exceptional!


COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS One of DECA’s guiding principles encourages members to become professionally responsible. True professional responsibility is extremely rare, but it’s an essential quality in high-demand by today’s top employers. The first step to showing your future boss that you’re the best candidate for the job happens before you even sit down for an interview. Your first impression with an employer usually takes place within the company’s human resources department, where its staff reviews your cover letter and résumé. Let’s first address the cover letter. Some common misconceptions about a cover letter are: • It’s just your résumé in narrative form. JORDAN ROBINSON • It’s okay to use the same generic cover letter for every job application. SOUTHERN REGION • The use of a cover letter is optional. VICE PRESIDENT These couldn’t be further from the truth. Cover letters are all about selling @JAY_DECAVP yourself. Your ultimate objective is to convince the business to “buy” you, and your cover letter is very much like opening the sale. It’s a brief letter tailored to each employer that should include the position for which you are applying, a short reference to your qualifications, and finally, a call to action. The call to action should firmly state your interest in the position and in meeting for an interview. A strong cover letter not only shows employers that you are serious about a certain position, but it gives you a chance to showcase your writing skills, a major requirement for virtually any job today. MARCH–APRIL 2013



The second step in securing your dream job is your résumé, which, like the cover letter, is not optional. The résumé is where you fully outline your qualifications and experiences that pertain to the potential position. When it comes to developing your résumé, it might be tempting to simply list every single thing you’ve ever done. While this information may be appropriate to have somewhere on your résumé, it may not be relevant to the specific position for which you are applying. A simple way to make sure you are focusing on only the most pertinent skills is to pull up the job description. By carefully reading the description, you will be able to identify keywords related to the skills and qualities the employer is seeking in an employee. After reading, go back to your résumé and within each section write a brief description highlighting how you demonstrated those key skills and qualities. It’s also beneficial to include in your descriptions what your responsibilities were, what you learned and what you gained from your experience. If there is a section on your résumé where you cannot easily include some of those keywords, you should reconsider how crucial that section is to the position. This is an effective way to better your chances of your résumé being viewed. With more companies implementing electronic applications, the number of résumés for a single position is well beyond the number that can adequately be reviewed. One method an HR department employs to speed up the process is a keyword search. HR professionals search the pool of résumés and pull out those that include essential keywords from the job description. Depending on the number of applicants for a position, they may add more keywords to the equation before deciding on a final pool of résumés to consider. By incorporating as many keywords as possible into your résumé, you increase the chances of your cover letter, résumé and application being pulled for an interview. Obtaining a job in tough economic times is no easy feat. That said, there are some basic, but nonetheless crucial, ways to ensure you have the best possible chances of being selected for an interview. Having a well crafted cover letter and résumé that are tailored to an individual employer and position, you’ll demonstrate your awareness of some basic business etiquette, and you’ll make it clear that you took the time to learn about the position for which you are applying. Don’t let your cover letter and résumé fall to the bottom of the pile.

? QUICK QUESTIONS Why do you think it is beneficial to use an individual, tailored cover letter instead of a generic one when applying to a job? What keywords do you think would be important to have in your résumé if you were applying for a marketing job? What about a job in hospitality or finance? 10




Tweet: What is the best interview tip you have ever received? Tweet @DECAInc and share your piece of advice with the whole DECA community.




After applying for job after job and playing the waiting game, you finally get the call that you’ve been waiting for! You’ve been invited to an in-person interview. Pat yourself on the back! Only a fraction of those individuals who apply actually land interviews. You can barely contain your excitement! You want to call and tell everyone you know the good news. Then, BAM, it hits you. The excitement starts to wear off, anxiety kicks in, and before you know it, you’re sweating bullets! Take a deep breath! Landing the interview was half the battle and by using some of the tips I’m going to provide here, you’ll increase your odds of turning that interview into a job offer. Repeat after me … R-E-L-A-X. If your body is in a relaxed state, your brain functions better and you’ll be able to respond better to those off-the-wall questions you may get during an interview. Easier said than done, huh? Well, the first step to relaxing and calming those butterflies in your stomach is to figure out what relaxation tricks work best for you. For example, some people have MARCH–APRIL 2013




to get in a workout the morning of a big interview, while others may opt to meditate. Some other ways to relax your body and mind include: • Fresh Air • Controlled Breathing • Massages • Power Nap • Music Once you have identified the best way to relax, it’s essential to start off with a good night’s rest before the interview. This is a must for waking up and feeling refreshed, cool, calm and collected. Have you ever heard the saying, “dress for success?” Well, it’s true! Pick an outfit that you feel confident in wearing. You’ll have a little extra pep in your step when you have that first face-to-face meeting with the interviewer. Once you have the perfect outfit, then you can focus on preparing for your interview and not being distracted by how you look. Next on the agenda is to fuel up with a power breakfast. Opt for a cup of water over a cup of coffee during breakfast to prevent anxiety. Last, but certainly not least, arrive early enough to your interview to have some “me time” to meditate, take deep breaths, listen to your favorite music or do other things that bring your body to a calm, relaxed state. To make the most of your interview opportunity, follow these tips: • Prepare a list of questions you might want to ask the hiring manager during the interview. • During the interview, make good eye contact with the hiring manager, and answer questions with more than a “yes” or “no.” • State clearly why you want to work at the company and what you have to offer. These are your most important objectives during the interview. • Before you leave the interview, make sure you find out when the hiring manager will make a decision and how you will be contacted. Feel free to ask when the new hire should be ready to begin work. In the end, if you don’t receive a job offer, please remember that it’s nothing personal. Managers have to make a business decision on which candidate is the best fit for the job, not which one they like best. The candidate who did get hired must have had more relevant experience, better availability, deeper knowledge about the company or strong recommendations from friends or relatives who work there. Use the interview as another experience to help you better prepare for the next one!

? QUICK QUESTIONS What are some other ideas you can use think of that will help you relax before a big job interview? What are some questions you should have prepared ahead of time to ask your interviewer? 14



Meaningful summer work is waiting for you! Vector is a great stepping stone for DECA students who are itching to put the skills they’ve learned with DECA to use in a practical, real-world setting. As one of the largest recruiters of students in North America, our people develop some sweet sales/customer service skills while selling CUTCO® and they build a resume that can take them anywhere. If you’re willing to work hard, have an open mind and a great attitude, we might be a good t for you! Working with Vector allows you rapid advancement, a exible work environment, great pay and the opportunity to earn scholarships. conditions apply • all ages 17+ WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/VECTOR.MARKETING.CORP @CAMPUSVECTOR




Create Conversation: How have you used your DECA skills in other areas of your life? Log onto and share your story with us!



McKenzie Strickland (center) with finalists in the 2012 Finish Line Challenge.

While you may wish that your time as a high school DECA member could last forever, the day will come to say goodbye and embark on a new journey. Entering college means new experiences, adventures and possibilities. What you may not realize, though, is that you can take your high school DECA experience and use it to your advantage in college. McKenzie Strickland is a prime example of how you can continue exercising your passion for DECA beyond your high school years. Now a freshman at the University of Portland in Oregon, McKenzie joined DECA in 2008 as a freshman at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington, and she immediately fell in love with the organization. “When I walked into my first association career development conference, I had the feeling as if I was walking into Disneyland for the first time,” McKenzie recalled. “That ‘DECA’ feeling you get when you are surrounded by intelligent people, exploring a wonderful city and competing your heart out—that’s what it’s all about.” McKenzie’s love for DECA inspired quite a history of participation and leadership during her four years in high school. Her many achievements include serving as both chapter president and Area 2 president (within Washington) and running for Western Region Vice President, which McKenzie describes as “the pinnacle of [her] DECA experience.” McKenzie’s DECA drive didn’t stop with her leadership roles, though. She also competed in the 2012 Finish Line Challenge, where she and her partner were selected as a top three finalist team. “We were flown to Indiana, where we were picked up from the airport in a limo, went to a fancy dinner and received any pair of shoes we wanted,” said McKenzie. “The next day, we toured the Finish Line headquarters and presented our project. It was nerve-racking, but it was also one of the best experiences I had in DECA.” JANELLE SCUDDER These DECA experiences are not just great memories, either; for McKenzie, MANAGING EDITOR they helped her hit the ground running upon enrolling in college. “DECA @JJSCUDDERDECA and the Finish Line Challenge gave me the skills to be successful in college, ranging from meeting new friends to giving a presentation in my Business 101 class.” McKenzie adds that skills she learned through DECA even impressed her business professor after only one presentation. “I used various techniques from when I competed in DECA; [it’s] because of my DECA experience that I’m able to speak with confidence and poise.” McKenzie truly believes that participating in DECA prepared her for college by helping her improve her public speaking, business knowledge and networking skills, as well by simply boosting her confidence as a student and future business professional. “DECA gave me a glimpse into the real-life business world,” McKenzie stated, and she used this glimpse to her advantage to land a part-time job at college. By having DECA on her résumé, McKenzie was hired for a position for which freshman are not typically considered. “The director of admissions noticed DECA on my résumé and hired me on the spot [for a position] in the admissions office. I was also able to get another job in the mail center because I was recommended by the admissions office.” 16



Although she’s only a freshman, McKenzie already knows she wants to go into marketing after graduation and has already declared marketing as her major. She feels confident in her post-graduate plans because of her opportunities as a DECA member. “I believe that DECA members make excellent future employees,” McKenzie adds. “DECA members stand out from other potential candidates because they have confidence, professional skills and business etiquette.” Possessing such skills before entering college allows former DECA members to use their college years constructively to further develop their sense of professionalism. McKenzie has good news, too, for any high school seniors who are anxiously dreading the transition from high school to college. “I absolutely love college and am having a blast!” McKenzie said. “I was surprised how easy [the] transition was. I felt that I developed a lot of skills in high school and had many experiences beyond the classroom, so that definitely gave me a leg up.” What final piece of advice does McKenzie have for current DECA members poised to start their journeys on college campuses across the country? “Get involved as much as you can!”

? QUICK QUESTIONS What ways have you been able to use your DECA experience and skills in other areas of your life? Describe how you think you might be able to translate your DECA skills into a real-life situation you could face in your career one day.

Helping students prepare for successful careers since 1931. Widely recognized among colleges and universities, Berkeley College offers a time-tested approach to career education that can help students reach their goals. This innovative combination of benefits is known as The Berkeley Advantage®.

Some of the benefits include: • A supportive faculty selected on the basis of academic excellence and relevant professional experience • More than $40 million in Berkeley College grants and scholarships provided during the 2011-2012 award year • Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree programs developed and updated to meet current business and professional demands • Extensive network of employer contacts • Free lifetime career assistance for Berkeley College graduates

For more information, call 800-446-5400, ext. GD5 Locations in New York, New Jersey, and Online Berkeley College reserves the right to add, discontinue, or modify its programs and policies at any time. Modifications subsequent to the original publication of this information may not be reflected here. For the most up-to-date information, please visit BerkeleyCollege. edu. For more information about Berkeley College graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed programs, and other important disclosures, please visit •




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Create conversation: Are you addicted to social media too? Let us know on Facebook if you could go on a social media detox and how long you think you could last without our digital technology.


DO YOU FIND THAT YOUR PHONE IS ROUTINELY “GLUED” TO YOUR HAND? Do you spend more time communicating with your friends via Facebook and Twitter than you do talking to them face-to-face? Do you text your parents from your bedroom while they are downstairs in the kitchen? Do you find yourself compelled to upload photos to Instagram of your morning coffee or the meal you’re enjoying for dinner? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, perhaps it’s time for a “digital detox.” Phoneless in Times Square! DECA alumna Laura Schneider and her three roommates recently gave up their cell phones, laptops and all other technological devices for two weeks. To keep them honest, Dateline NBC filmed the young women for a special segment, “Digital Detox,” hosted by NBC news anchor Natalie Morales. As a mobile strategist for Omnicom Media Group, one of the largest media companies in the United States, Laura is surrounded by technology on a daily basis—and is fully aware of its power and potential. “[My job requires me to conduct] many case studies and research consumer behavior to better understand how people are using technology, so the chance to be part of a case study myself was really an exciting opportunity,” Laura explained. JANELLE SCUDDER Despite her initially positive attitude, though, she did experience MANAGING EDITOR some anxiety about giving up all digital devices. @JJSCUDDERDECA




Day one of the digital detox was a surprise for the girls. “I thought I knew when it was coming, so I had planned it out in my head, but I was wrong,” explained Laura. “I thought they would take our stuff on a Wednesday, but it actually happened on Tuesday, so I On the TODAY Show! wasn’t prepared at all!” The show described Laura and her friends as “dependent on their smartphones,” but Laura doesn’t necessarily see that dependence as negative. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing; it’s a utility,” she said. “However, I have learned that there are times when I don’t really need to be using [my phone].” Another lesson Laura learned from her digital detox experience: discovering her true friends. “I [realized] that if you’re not talking to people on social media, they’re not talking to you, either,” she explained. “People I thought I would hear from [didn’t contact me], and people I never expected to talk to me did!” Some of the more lighthearted moments from the detox included ged. Our digital world—unplug Laura and her roommates creating their own real-life Pinterest board on the living room wall, taking Polaroid pictures instead of Instagram photos and writing their own “tweets” on Post-It notes. Laura found that it was actually nice to get a little crafty for a change instead of channeling all her creativity though her cell phone and social media platforms. And what challenge isn’t fun without some taunting? Laura and her roommates sorely missed their smartphones when they viewed an ad for the iPhone 5 on television, which they were still allowed to watch during the detox. In the end, Laura described the digital detox (and her 15 minutes of fame) as “extremely positive.” “When most people give up technology or ‘go off the grid,’ they’re on a camping trip or visiting a spa, but we were living our real lives without technology,” Laura noted. “We’re so accustomed to being ‘plugged-in’ Hangin’ with Natalie Mora and connected 24/7, so if you have the chance to have a real one-on-one les! conversation, you should do it!” Before the detox, Laura and her roommates would go to brunch or dinner and sit together at a table, but each would have her phone in her hands the whole time. The result? Friends who were physically together but totally disconnected from one another. “Now when we go to brunch, we stack our phones in the middle of the table. The first person to check her phone loses and has to get the bill,” Laura added jokingly. “We all realize now that [while] technology is wonderful, it’s nice to stop and look up every once in a while.”

. eline on the pier Filming for Dat

? QUICK QUESTIONS Describe what you think your life would be like if you had to go two weeks without technology or social media. Is being dependent on technology all that bad? What are some possible advantages to being digitally connected 24/7? MARCH–APRIL 2013



FROM DECA TO A DIGITAL CAREER When Laura Schneider isn’t busy filming TV specials, she works as a mobile strategist, developing ad campaigns and strategies to help her clients best navigate the digital world. Given the fastpaced nature of technology, marketers have to be quick to keep up with the latest trends, software, hardware and consumer behavior. “A day in the life of a marketer is completely different now,” Laura explained. “The digital world is an untouched landscape with so many new possibilities—it really is the next mass medium [for communication].” Laura attended the University of Missouri, where she studied strategic communication and advertising. She showcased her fearless attitude and innovative thinking long before college or her job with Omnicom, though. When she was a DECA member at Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs, Mo., Laura was already breaking the rules (in a good way). “One of my proudest DECA moments was when I ran for vice president of my district,” said JANELLE SCUDDER MANAGING EDITOR Laura. “I developed a creative ad that was completely different from the usual ones, which tended @JJSCUDDERDECA to focus on words. Even though I didn’t win the election, I was still proud of myself for thinking outside the box and doing something different.” Laura’s DECA experience has proven to be more than just good memories, though, as it has benefited her as both a college student and as a professional in the media world. “It’s hard to get up in front of people and present your thoughts and ideas, and DECA helped me practice and perfect my public speaking skills.” Laura said. “I still think back to the first DECA speech I gave when I ran for district vice president—it was awful! Now I give presentations to between 30 and 50 clients at a time, so that is one skill I’m glad DECA helped me develop.” Laura also credits DECA with motivating her during college. “You are constantly building and adding to your résumé, but my time in DECA made me proactive when the time came to find a job, [which was] before I even graduated,” she added. “In the end, DECA really helped me get to where I am now.” Some more advice Laura has for current high school and college students is to network. “Everyone always told me that it’s about who you know, and to build relationships and create connections. I didn’t necessarily believe [how important that was] until I realized how true they were,” she admitted. “The people you know now, even your peers, can affect your reputation and your future positions or job opportunities. So make sure you are thinking about that when you are talking to anyone you meet.” When it comes to résumé help, Laura has some Laura (third from left) and her roommates filming a Dateline NBC segment high above L.A. simple reminders to take to heart. “You’ll learn at least one thing from every position that will help you with your next one, so constantly be updating your résumé so that it’s current and you don’t forget about all your accomplishments,” she advised. In the end, whether Laura is a TV star or a successful marketer battling the ever-changing media world, she will always be a DECA member at heart. “I still meet people at conferences who were DECA members, too, so it’s easy for us to relate to each other.” 22



First Class.


The Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Italy. One of many work abroad locations.

• Nationally ranked program • World’s first bachelor’s degree in tourism • Founding Member of Leading Hotel Schools of the World


• Student Consulting Teams at The Waldorf-Astoria. • Cruise Course with Carnival Cruise Lines. • National/International internships and job placements. MANAGEMENT MAJORS IN HOTEL/RESORT, TOURISM, FOODSERVICE, SPORT

Education That Makes a Difference


Send a photo and caption of your chapter activity to


Riverdale DECA (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) took its chapter yearbook picture to a whole new level this year (above). As the largest DECA chapter in Tennessee, Riverdale DECA went all out to show its DECA pride by spelling out “DECA” on the football field using its chapter members.

Sylvan DECA (Sherwood, Ark.) members D’carlo Willis, Nicole Pylant, and Mallory Stovall (left) decorated an angel tree for their annual community service project (left). DECA officers and members cut out bears to use as ornaments. Sylvan students, staff, faculty, parents and community organizations adopted seven families this holiday season.

Southwest Career and Technical Academy DECA (Las Vegas, Nev.) had an impressive guest list (below), including three association officers and a national officer, at their officer retreat.

Appleton East DECA (Appleton, Wis.) officers met with City of Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna to discuss their accomplishments from the previous year as well as their goals for 2013 (above). The officers also received a signed proclamation of Appleton East DECA Week for the City of Appleton from the mayor.




Tabb DECA (Yorktown, Va.) and its fashion marketing department hosted its 5th Annual Fashion Show for a Cause, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (left). This event raised over $1,500 in honor of Team Amanda. Amanda Varnes is a secondyear fashion marketing student with Cystic Fibrosis. Pictured are hosts Becca Mackey and Amanda Varnes, both DECA members and seniors at Tabb.

BUZZ Manzano DECA (Albuquerque, N.M.) and the Manzano Student Senate collaborated to host a Halloween dance (below). More than 200 students attended and helped raise more than $700. The money was donated to a fund that helps low-income families in the Manzano community. Manzano DECA also donates 50 percent of profits from the school’s online store to the fund.

Warrenton DECA (Warrenton, Mo.) members organized a Christmas toy drive for patients of St. Louis Children’s Hospital (left). DECA members delivered nearly 100 gifts. Kellis DECA (Glendale, Ariz.) members joined together to count donations from their canned food drive (right). Kellis DECA members teamed up with other organizations from their school, including student council and HOSA, to help make the event a great success.

St. Amant DECA (Saint Amant, La.) members attended the New Orleans Hornets: Sports and Marketing Conference (right). Members listened to guest speakers from the sports marketing cluster, watched half-time games presented by DECA members and participated in DECA group challenges. The evening ended with a Hornets vs. Grizzles basketball game.

Woodrow Wilson DECA (Dallas, Texas) hosted an appreciation breakfast for 150 teachers, passed out bookmarks and wore “Ask Me About DECA” buttons as part of DECA Promotion Month (above). The chapter also received a DECA Month proclamation in November from Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Independence DECA (Glendale, Ariz.) received high honors during the Metro DECA competition (below). Members won first place in both the role-play and the buying and merchandising competition and received over 70 percent on their DECA test.

Spanish River DECA (Boca Raton, Fla.) hosted its first annual Superhero Walk-a-Thon in support of a local charity, Boca Helping Hands (above). With the help of students, teachers and local sponsors, Spanish River DECA collected over 7,200 cans of food, its largest donation yet.





This past holiday season Socastee DECA (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) visited an elementary school and an assisted living home, where they provided treats, entertainment and a visit from Santa (above).

Auburn DECA (Auburn, Wash.) public relations team of Wendy Menchu-Lopez, Jordin McCoy, Maggie Elston, Carly Patterson and Jackie Bruya won the Evergreen Council for Problem Gambling DECA Peer-to-Peer Campaign (left). The Peer-to-Peer Campaign challenged high school DECA members to develop and produce a variety of communications tools to raise awareness about teen problem gambling. Auburn DECA’s team won with its powerful slogan, “Don’t Let the Bet Hold You Back.” Their slogan will even become the official media campaign for their local radio station. The team also won a DJ pizza party for their entire high school, an on-air radio interview and $1,000 in cash and prizes.

Thirty-two members from Southwest DECA (San Antonio, Texas) gave back this past holiday season in a unique way—through a three-day Random Acts of Kindness trip (above). Members participated in various random acts of kindness such as leaving change on vending machines, delivering coffee and sandwiches to the homeless and handing out carnations to strangers.




Parkview DECA (Springfield, Mo.) members celebrated the funding of the Pick-a-Project Pop Caps for Portland (above). The public relations project supports an underprivileged elementary school near Parkview High School. Parkview DECA has collected 5,000 caps for the cause.

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Nothing has had a larger impact on my life than the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met through DECA. Our DECA chats, DECA laughs and huge DECA accomplishments will stay with me forever. I am nothing short of extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to serve you for what has been a truly amazing year. #DECALOVE



It has been a year of learning, growing, teamwork, excitement and tremendous accomplishments for all the members and advisors of DECA’s North Atlantic Region. Each moment has played a role in creating an experience we will all remember. Our love for DECA and tireless pursuit of our dreams make us the leaders of today—and tomorrow. Never let your failures stop you from pursuing your dreams. Continue to THRIVE—in DECA and always!


CENTRAL REGION VICE PRESIDENT Few people can say that they truly love their work. I am fortunate enough to be one of those individuals. DECA provides its members with a drive to THRIVE, and there’s nothing I am more passionate about than making other members’ DECA experiences positive and meaningful. I’ve had the pleasure of working with members to develop skill sets, brainstorm exciting projects and create new connections. Looking forward, I only hope my future holds opportunities as enriching as my DECA career has been.



Looking back over my four years as a DECA member, I can’t help but smile. This journey has been incredible. Having had the opportunity to meet so many members over the years and to work toward a common goal has been among the greatest experiences of my life. I thank all of you for an amazing year as a national officer and an amazing four years as a member of the DECA family.




WESTERN REGION VICE PRESIDENT It’s hard to believe that this DECA year is quickly coming to a close. Although I’m sad my term is ending, I am so grateful for all of the memories I have. Thanks to all of you. I have loved every minute of serving you and watching you grow into incredible young leaders. Thank you for your hard work, passion and eagerness to THRIVE. I can’t wait to see you on stage at ICDC in Anaheim!





A heartfelt thank you goes out to all the dedicated advisors, talented students, and courageous DECA Inc. staff who made this past year possible. I feel so blessed to have been chosen to represent you and this amazing organization. It has been a great year, but do not let the magic stop now! Continue to THRIVE today and beyond.



I have had the opportunity to work with the greatest students, advisors, and business people on incredibly exciting projects from visiting local chapter meetings to hosting the international conferences. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the ride as much as we have.


It has been a privilege and honor to serve you this past year. This has been one of the most remarkable experiences of my DECA career. I have enjoyed every moment of my term and I will never forget the people I met along the way. Thank you for being part of this amazing experience!


It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I stood on the stage with the rest of the team! Being able to witness the achievements of our chapters and members has been an experience that I will cherish forever. Your determination and dedication makes Collegiate DECA the great organization it is today! I look forward to reading about many of you in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Week in the future!


VICE PRESIDENT It’s been an incredible year that has been full of surprises, successes, and wonderful opportunities. As this year winds down and my duties come to an end, I find myself thinking of just how incredible this experience has been. Most importantly, I will always remember the people I shared those experiences with. Thank you for being such amazing people and making this year one of the best I’ve ever had.




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DECA Direct | March April 2013  

DECA Direct is the magazine for members of DECA and Collegiate DECA. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance,...