DECA aiming to create future leaders

[Photo provided by WSU DECA] Members of the WSU DECA club receive awards at a competition in Orlando in 2011. The DECA club seeks to train students to be future leaders.
While students are looking for opportunities to get a better job outlook, some students are taking part in DECA to learn how to be leaders in the future job market.

DECA is a club that is part of the technical sales program, which not only reaches out to technical sales majors, but any major at WSU. Collegiate DECA is an extension of the high-school organization that teaches students leadership in sales, marketing and various other areas.

The DECA Collegiate International Career Development Conference was held in Salt Lake City in April, where students were able to compete in different areas of business.

“There’s about 22 different areas that students can compete in,” said Vel Cassler, the WSU collegiate DECA adviser. Cassler said that what they do in the organization is teach students how to compete in the area they want to have a career in.

Cassler said a number of companies right now are looking for Collegiate DECA on students’ resumes. Companies such as Goldman Sachs and Finish Line attend the social events that students compete in to look for the leadership skills they strive for.

“One of our students was offered a job by CNN,” Cassler said.

Judges were chosen from more than 100 local businesses. Cassler said they thought it was fantastic that they could be judges of the competitions. Out of the students who competed at the conference, three from WSU placed first.

James Proudfit, a student at WSU, placed first in the national management challenge. Proudfit said students were put into teams of three or four and given a problem that the company Skull Candy wanted them to solve.

“We came up with some ideas that Skull Candy would like, and it turns out that they did,” Proudfit said.

Proudfit said that throughout the competition, DECA gave students experience in sales, marketing and entrepreneurship.

“The idea was to give students the knowledge to succeed in those careers that they choose,” Proudfit said.

Seth Dickision, a former WSU student on the same team as Proudfit, was offered a job and is now working at Goldman Sachs.

“My advice is to join DECA and become involved,” Proudfit said.

Felice Gant, also a student at WSU, was part of the professional sales competition, in which she placed first nationally. Gant said she joined because she wanted to graduate with honors, and that DECA helped her to compete. She will be president of DECA in the fall semester.

“I’m excited to get everything going,” Gant said.

Gant was offered an internship at Maurice’s, and received a few other job offers because of how well she did competing.

“It shows how quickly opportunities can happen for you,” she said.

Gant said DECA helps prepare students for owning a business or working for a business. She said it’s all about taking that first step to become involved.

“I really want people to know that I was the hesitant girl that sat in the back listening at DECA meetings, and because the club members and professors are so positive and helpful, I broke out of my shell and achieved more than I thought was possible.”