Collegiate DECA chapter prepares members for success in the business world


Collegiate DECA is an internationally recognized organization that prepares students for careers in business. The Collegiate DECA Chapter of Indian River State College is heavily involved in the community. Participation in community projects provides an opportunity for members to develop a better understanding of the role civic activities have in society.

The IRSC chapter also has close ties with the local business community, which provides opportunities for student networking and professional growth. DECA is dedicated to developing those specialized skills needed to be successful in the workplace and those that add value to a business. Members are noted for being more involved in campus activities, community outreach and tend to graduate with a higher GPA than that of a less involved student. Alumni have gone on to work with well-known companies across the nation.
Katie Muldoon, DECA chapter president states:

“Being a DECA member is an impactful opportunity that every student can benefit from. The value gained through the leadership training and mentorship programs are truly life changing. Through my experiences in DECA, I was graced with opportunities to travel the world and make connections abroad that I’ll cherish forever. Being a member is about putting forth the effort to make a difference in someone’s life.

“I have been able to call myself a student leader and advocate for three years now. The guidance and professional development I have gained through my years in this organization has not only made me an internationally recognized finalist in the travel and tourism industry, but also assisted me with developing my brand and prepared me for a career in marketing. I recently was hired by the Florida Small Business Development Center at IRSC as its full-time marketing specialist and I owe it all to DECA.”

One major factor of being a DECA member is the opportunity to travel the nation to compete with other like minded students. Competitions encourage students to apply their business skills through telemarketing, business-to-business sales and event planning.

Competitions are an opportunity for students to apply what they learned in the classroom, to a complex real-world scenario via a case study, provided by DECA. The real-world scenarios are created by industry professionals. Students work either individually, or in small teams, to resolve a given problem in a finite amount of time.

Competitions challenge students to think critically, provide recommendations for real-world scenarios and then present those recommendations for judging. Judges are industry professionals representing companies such as Disney, Pepsi Co, and AT&T. Eligibility to compete at the International Career Development Conference in April is dependent on DECA members placing within the top three of their event category at the state level.

Jacqueline Zamora of the 2019 Florida State DECA Action team states:

“I believe that competition helps students to grow personally and professionally. Members grow professionally by learning proper business etiquette and how to set themselves up for success in their careers. DECA also allows members to network with others by participating in student organized events like leadership summits and fundraisers. DECA is an organization that can help students become well-rounded and ready to work in their industry of choice, so that they can be the future leaders of society.”

This year’s competitive teams are:

Advertising Campaign – Katie Muldoon and Julianne Sansone
Business Ethics – Franklin and Heather Hunt-Gonzalez
Financial Statement Analysis – Jane Kramer and Arturo Ortiz

Individual events:

Human Resource Management – Jacqueline Zamora
Travel and Tourism – Maika Eugene

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Career Development Conference slated for April in Atlanta, Georgia, has been canceled and will not be rescheduled.
The college chapter works diligently each year to raise funds to travel to competitions and events across the nation. The annual Holiday Bazaar held every November is the primary fundraiser. Without these funds, students would be unable to attend the annual leadership conferences, summits and competitions. The event is planned, coordinated, organized and advertised by IRSC business students, led by the DECA executive team, under the guidance of chief DECA faculty adviser Trisha Maitland. The planning of the Holiday Bazaar allows members to develop their skills in management, sales/marketing, advertising and public speaking. The experience gained allows students to understand the role of management in business.

Last November, students raised more than $10,000 for the 2019-2020 academic year and travel season.

“The execution of the annual Holiday Bazaar is a monumental task, but with the work ethic and dedication displayed by the DECA students, each year we are able to put on a great show which benefits the community as well as our students,” Maitland said.

Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, planning and preparation for the 40th annual Holiday Bazaar is on hold. Despite the setbacks, the IRSC Collegiate DECA Chapter is grateful to local community members and business partners for their continued support.

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