This research project was conducted by Micah Melling, Central RegionVice President for 2011-2012DECA (Organization)DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, management, hospitality,and finance in high schools and colleges throughout the world. DECA’s membership exceeds 200,000,and it is considered to be one of the most powerful student organizations in existence. DECA is one often Career and Technical Student Organizations endorsed by the United States Department ofEducation.History: The 1940sFor DECA, the 1940s was the “decade of creation.” The first interstate conference of the formerlyknown Distributive Education Clubs of American was held in Memphis, Tennessee in 1947. More than100 students and sponsors attended the three-day event. During the conference, the first NationalOfficer Team was elected, charter and constitution committees were appointed, and a series ofresolutions were passed. The second national conference was held n 1948, and DECA’s nationalmembership had increased to nearly 800 students. At this conference, a governing constitution wasadopted and an emblem, creed, and official colors were approved. Additionally, 17 states wereaccepted as charter members of the organization. DECA’s national publication, then known as theDistributor, was first published in 1948, as well. By 1949, DECA laid claims to over 2,300 members andnearly 90 chapters. Also, the first Board of Trustees for DECA was elected in 1949.History: The 1950sThe 1950s was the “decade of firsts” for the organization. Work on a DECA Foundation began in theearly 1950s as the organization wanted to provide more awards and recognitions. After years ofplanning and many donations, the DECA Foundation began operating in 1960. In 1953, George M. Stonewas hired as DECA’s first Executive Director and served until 1955. Under Stone, the first DECAHeadquarters opened, although it was only a small office in Washington D.C. that housed Stone and apart-time secretary. Harry A. Applegate became DECA’s Executive Director in 1955. In 1957, DECAadded a Member Services Division. David Robinson of Texas became the head of this division. Robinsoncoordinated member activities, advised the National Officer Team, and communicated with variousDECA committees. During the 1957 school year, DECA approved a diamond-shaped emblem as theofficially registered trademark of the organization. 1959 proved to be a landmark year for theorganization. DECA officially formed the National Advisory Board, a collection of the organization’sbusiness partners. The first national theme, “Distributive Education – The Gateway to Success,” wasunveiled during the 1959-1960 school year, as well. Also, during that school year, the DECA Board of
Trustees approved a Junior College Division, now known as Collegiate DECA. By the end of the 1950s, 21states and Puerto Rico had been issued charters to be a part of the National DECA Organization.History: The 1960sThe 1960s was the “decade of growth.” By the end of this decade, DECA would be present in all 50states. In 1961, DECA adopted their first tagline: “Developing Future Leaders for Marketing andDistribution.” A year later, the organization adopted an official creed and blazer. Also, in 1962, ascholarship program was put into place to recognize outstanding members. In 1967, DECA’s AlumniDivision began to officially organize and grow. Additionally, DECA Headquarters expanded and movedto Falls Church, Virginia in 1968. By the end of the 1960s, DECA had grown exponentially and was in theprocess of making ambitious plans for the future.History: The 1970s The 1970s is known as the “decade of change” as DECA began to adapt to new members’ needs. In1971, the DECA National Officers had the privilege of meeting President Richard Nixon and presentinghim with a plaque to thank him for his support of private enterprise. Two years later, DECA andmembers of Congress organized the Congressional Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB aligned the supportof Congress and the mission of DECA. It was the first such liaison for any such vocational studentorganization. 1975 proved to be a banner year for DECA. In cooperation with the National Federationof Independent Businesses, DECA produced the film DECA is for Everybody. Additionally, DECA selectedthe Muscular Dystrophy Association as its “favorite” charity. 1976 was another headline-making yearfor DECA. DECA’s new national center, located in Reston, Virginia, officially opened for use. Over 1,000DECA members and guests from 36 states attended the dedication ceremony. Additionally, the bookDECA: The First Thirty Years was published in 1976.History: The 1980sFor DECA, the 1980s is known as the “decade of challenges.” The challenges came when long-timeExecutive Director Harry Applegate retired in 1981. Elinor F. Burgess served as an interim ExecutiveDirector until Dr. Frederick L. Williford took the job in mid 1982. In 1982, DECA began to host a careerconference in New York City that focused on careers in apparel and accessories. Due to the success ofthis first conference, it became an annual event. DECA received national exposure in 1984 when MDAfeatured the organization in commercials during the MDA Telethon. In 1985, Congress passed aresolution officially declaring DECA Week. This was the first and only time Congress has formallydeclared a “week” for any Career and Technical Student Organization. Also, in 1985, the Apparel andAccessories Conference went to Europe. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about fashion in citiessuch as Paris, Milan, Florence, and Rome. DECA received prestigious recognition in 1987 when theorganization was prominently featured in a Wall Street Journal article.
History: The 1990sThe 1990s is known as DECA’s “decade of preparedness” as the organization continued to respond tothe new marketing trends. In 1991, the Board of Directors chose to no longer have the letters D-E-C-Astand for Distributive Education Clubs of America. The organization would simply be known as DECA.With this decision, DECA adopted the descriptor “An Association of Marketing Students.” Additionally, anew, modern logo was released. In 1992, the National Advisory Board released a revolutionary researchpaper, titled Marketing Education and DECA: Essential Factors in Creating a Quality Workforce. Thispaper was distributed to a wide audience: educators, businesses, community leaders, and members ofCongress. During the 1995-1996 school year, DECA celebrated its 50th anniversary. DECA launched alarge-scale membership drive and stressed community service during the year-long celebration. The 50-year anniversary was also a major focal point during the International Career Development Conferencethat year.History: The 2000sSince the turn of the millennium, DECA has continued to grow and expand, solidifying itself as a topeducational opportunity for today’s students. In 2010, DECA unveiled a new brand, including a newlogo, mission statement, and direction for the organization. This was a revolutionary change for DECAthat altered the face of the organization. With its new brand, DECA continues to make an impact onthousands of students each year.MembershipToday, DECA lays claim to over 200,000 members worldwide, and chapters can be found in over 5,000high schools across the globe. DECA chapters are present in all 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia,China, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.DECA members are some of the best and brightest students. In fact, over 85% of members reporthaving an A or B average. Furthermore, DECA members take more Advanced Placement and CollegeCredit class than other high school students. Over 90% of DECA members plan to further their study inmarketing, management, hospitality, finance, or entrepreneurship. Additionally, nearly 30% of DECAmembers are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.Divisions of DECADECA’s largest division is the high school division, which has nearly 190,000 members. DECA’s CollegiateDivision has an annual membership of around 15,000. The organization is also represented by Alumniand Professional Divisions, which provide support and advocacy.
StructureHigh school chapters around the world are the basic unit of DECA. Chapters perform community serviceactivities, elect chapters officers, prepare students for competition, and host events focused onleadership development and social intelligence.Many chapters belong to a district or region within their charted association. Many districts/regionshost competitions to qualify students for charted association competition.Each chapter belongs to a charted association. Charted associations are run by a chartered associationadvisor, who is generally employed by their state’s education department. Chartered associations electstudent officers to help run the organization and provide direction.Each chartered association belongs to one of four regions (Central, Southern, Western, North Atlantic).Each region has a fall leadership conference that brings the entire region together.Together, all of these units all make up the International Association of DECA.Competitive Events ProgramDECA’s competitive events program is competency based. In most DECA competitive events, there isboth a written portion and a presentation portion, which helps to develop well-rounded students. DECAoffers nearly 50 competitive events. The following is a description of DECA’s competitive eventsprogram. Principles of Business Administration (4 events): Students take a 100-question test about general marketing and business knowledge. They are also given a role play, in which they are to assume the role of a business professional and solve a business-related problem. Students have 10 minutes to develop a presentation about their solution. The presentation is scored by a judge. These events are specifically for first-year DECA members as they are less rigorous than other events. Individual Series (12 events): Students take a 100-question test about marketing and business knowledge. They are also given a role play, in which they are to assume the role of a business professional and solve a business-related problem. Students have 10 minutes to develop a presentation about their solution. The presentation is scored by a judge. Team Decision Making (7 events): Two students compete together in these events. They separately take a 100-question test about marketing and business. Together, they are given a role play and must solve a business-related problem. They have 30 minutes to prepare a presentation about their solution. The presentation is scored by a judge. Business Operations Research (4 events): One to three members will research a topic specified by DECA and will discuss certain elements within the topic. For example, the 2012 BORE requires students to develop a plan that will enhance or introduce a customer loyalty program. Participants must write a paper that can be as long as 30 pages. They must also make a 10- minute oral presentation to a judge.
Chapter Team (6 events): One to three students led a chapter project or campaign that benefits a specific cause. Here are some sample project topics: raising funds for a charity, creating awareness for financial literacy, promoting a community’s amenities, or operating a school- based enterprise. Participants must write a paper that can be as long as 30 pages. They must also make a 10-minute oral presentation to a judge. Business Management and Entrepreneurship (4 events): Students write a full-scale business plan that must include financial information, target-market analysis, and a marketing plan. In addition to the written plan, students present their business idea to a judge. Two events are for individual competitors, and two events allow up to three competitors to form a team. Marketing Representative (3 events): One to three students are required to develop either an advertising campaign or a promotional plan for a business, product, or service. Competitors write an 11-page paper, deliver a 15-minute presentation, and take a 100-question exam. Professional Selling (2 events): Individual competitors make a prepared sales presentation to a judge. They also take a 100-question exam. Online (3 events): In the Stock Market Game, participants develop and manage an investment portfolio in an online simulation. Participants must write an 11-paper paper to describe the investment project as well as give an oral presentation. There are two Virtual Business Challenges: retail and sports. In these challenges, participants run a business or sports franchise in an online simulation and must make all management and marketing decisions.A sample hierarchy for the levels of competition is such: district/regional, chartered association,international.Please note that most judges for DECA competitions are business professionals who voluntarily givetheir time to judge.Additional Learning ActivitiesA few of DECA’s National Advisory Board members sponsor special challenges for DECA members, whichare separate from DECA’s competitive events. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising(FIDM) sponsors the DECA-FIDM Challenge. Participants in the DECA-FIDM Challenge are asked tocreate a run-way-worthy garment out of previously used fabric, and the cost of the materials cannotexceed $20. Participants are also asked to develop a marketing campaign for their newly developedproduct. Those participating must present their ideas to FIDM executives through videos posted toYouTube.Another Challenge is the DECA-Finish Line Challenge. In this challenge, DECA members, in teams of 1-3people, conduct market research at their local Finish Line store. After the research has been completed,teams present their findings and recommendations to Finish Line executives via videos uploaded toYouTube. The top three teams are flown to Indianapolis, Indiana to present their findings to Finish Lineexecutives. The winning team receives a stipend to cover all expenses to DECA’s International CareerDevelopment Conference.
The DeVry Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge gives participants the opportunity to presentideas to launch innovative business concepts. Challenge participants will make a presentation to DeVryexecutives via videos uploaded to YouTube. The top three participants will get a stipend to attendDECA’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference.Participants in the H&R Block Dollars and Sense Challenge have the opportunity to test their financialknowledge. The challenge occurs online using the Virtual Business: Personal Finance software. Duringthis competition, students manage financial elements such as bank accounts, bills, credit scores, andtaxes. They also interpret charts, graphs, and other financial analysis documents. Winners receive atravel stipend to attend the International Career Development Conference as well as collegescholarships.DECA DiamondThe international symbol of the organization is the DECA Diamond. DECA changed the Diamond whenthe organization unveiled its new brand in 2010. Before the rebranding, the Diamond had four points:Social Intelligence, Leadership Development, Civic Consciousness, and Vocational Understanding. Now,the Diamond has both inner and outer points. The inner points represent what DECA does, and theouter points represent the types of leaders DECA prepares. The inner points of the Diamond are:Integrates into Classroom Instruction, Applies Learning, Promotes Competition, Connects to Business.The outer points of the Diamond are: Academically Prepared, Community Oriented, ProfessionallyResponsible, Experienced Leaders.Additionally, DECA lists its attributes and values as Competence, Innovation, Integrity, and Teamwork.LeadershipDECA members elect five National Officers each spring at the International Career DevelopmentConference. The National Officers for 2011-2012 are: National President Claire Coker, Southern RegionVice President Kendra Wrightson, North Atlantic Region Vice President Jennifer Harrington, and CentralRegion Vice President Micah Melling.DECA is also represented by an eleven-member Board of Directors. The Board is made up of tworepresentatives from each region, the National Advisory Board Chairperson, the Marketing Liaison fromthe Association of Career and Technical Education, and the Executive Director.Additionally, over 30 staff members are employed at DECA Headquarters in Reston, Virginia.Executive DirectorsIn 1953, George Stone was hired as DECA’s first Executive Director. He served in that role until 1955when Harry A. Applegate took over. Applegate served until 1982 and is credited with much of thesuccess the organization continues to experience. After Applegate’s retirement, Elinor Burgess servedas an interim Executive Director until Dr. Frederick L. Wlliford was hired. Dr. Williford served as
Executive Director until 1992. Dr. Edward Davis took the helm after Dr. Williford’s retirement andcontinues to serve as DECA’s Executive Director.ConferencesDECA sponsors three career conferences. The Innovations and Entrepreneurship Conference is heldeach November in Chicago, Illinois. During this conference, business professionals conduct workshopswith DECA members and discuss the most relevant business issues. The New York ExperienceConference is held each December in New York City, New York. This conference allows members toexplore a variety of marketing-related fields in one of the world’s most exciting cities. The Sports andEntertainment Marketing Conference is held each February in Orlando, Florida. At this conference,members interact with executives from Universal Studios and professional sports franchises.Each region of DECA (Central, Southern, Western, and North Atlantic) hosts a leadership conferenceeach fall. These conferences specifically focus on leadership and professional development. They alsoprovide premier networking opportunities for members.Each charted association of DECA hosts an annual Association Career Development Conference todetermine which students qualify for the International Career Development Conference. Manyassociations elect student officers at their association conference, too. Additionally, many associationshost a Fall Leadership Conference. Associations that don’t elect their officers in the spring elect them attheir fall conference.International Career Development ConferenceThe International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is DECA’s largest and most prestigiousconference. Every spring, DECA hosts its ICDC, held in a major U.S. city. Over 15,000 students andadvisors attend this event every year. The ICDC features cutting-edge opening and closing sessions, fullof the latest special effects. The National Officers serve as the main emcees of both sessions.The ICDC provides an international forum for DECA’s competitive events program. Thousands ofstudents compete for the opportunity to get on stage and be recognized as one of the top DECAcompetitors in the world. Many top winners receive cash prizes from members of DECA’s NationalAdvisory Board.DECA’s five National Officers are also elected at the ICDC: a National President and four Regional VicePresidents. Candidates go through a rigorous process to be selected as a National Officer. At ICDC, theymust take a lengthy exam and go through an interview process to be approved to run. Candidates thencaucus with voting delegates and give a speech. The candidates who receive a majority vote win theelection.Several leadership programs also take place during ICDC. The Leadership Development Academy (LDA)helps prepare high school sophomores and juniors for ambitious leadership roles within DECA. TheChapter Management Academy (CMA) focuses on improving DECA chapters throughout the nation. The
School-Based Enterprises Academy helps members and advisors gain important information aboutoperating school stores. The Executive Mentor Program connects high-ranking business professionalswith DECA members. Members are able to interact with these business executives and gain vitalprofessional development information.Recent and future sites of the ICDC: 2008 - Atlanta, Georgia 2009 - Anaheim, California 2010 - Louisville, Kentucky 2011 - Orlando, Florida 2012 - Salt Lake City, Utah 2013 - Anaheim, California 2014 - Atlanta, Georgia 2015 – Orlando, FloridaScholarship ProgramNational DECA awards over $300,000 in scholarships to its members annually. These scholarships areprovided by many of DECA’s National Advisory Board partners and are presented at the InternationalCareer Development Conference.National Advisory Board (NAB)DECA is supported by a National Advisory Board (NAB). The NAB is made up of more than 60 businesses,including some of the largest in the nation, that provide financial support and advocacy to DECA. Someways that NAB members are involved with DECA include advertising in DECA publications, providingjudges for competition, sponsoring competitive events, making scholarships available, and offeringinternships. Some of DECA’s most active sponsors are Marriott International, Men’s Wearhouse, OtisSpunkmeyer, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Hilton Worldwide, Safeway, and Publix.Congressional Advisory Board (CAB) The Congressional Advisory Board is comprised of members of the U.S. Congress that support DECA andits functions. Currently, 31 federal legislators sit on the CAB. The CAB is an element that sets DECAapart for its counterparts. The CAB was formed in 1973 and was the first direct relationship betweenCongress and any Career and Technical Student Organization.Relationship with the Muscular Dystrophy AssociationThe Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is DECA’s most important social business partner. DECA isMDA’s largest student donor, raising approximately $450,000 per year. In their 30 year partnership,DECA has raised over $5 million dollars for MDA. MDA is a proud sponsor of DECA’s Community ServiceProject. In fact, at the ICDC, MDA hosts a breakfast for the top fundraising chapters. MDA also allows
the DECA National President and a representative from the top fundraising chapter to represent DECAduring MDA’s National Telethon in Las Vegas.DECA PublicationsThe DECA Dimensions is the international bi-monthly magazine of DECA. The Dimensions is filled witharticles about DECA news, community service, and professional development. Each DECA member isentitled to a subscription of the magazine. Chapter advisors receive the DECA Insight, a publicationfocused on their needs and wants. The DECA Guide is published annually as the premier source ofinformation on competitive events, chapter supplies, and DECA apparel.DECA OnlineDECA can be found on several online outlets: website (deca.org), Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,SlideShare, and LinkedIn.