By Nichole Marquis – In the fall of 2015 first year Business Major Nichole Marquis, approached her marketing professor, Shelly McVay, with interest in starting a Collegiate DECA chapter at William Jewell. Seeking out other interested Jewell students, Marquis paired with another first year, Alex Blevins (Accounting and Spanish), and began to put in the work to make their interest become a reality. With previous experiences in High
School DECA, both students were very passionate about the organization and believed it would be a great asset to Jewell. DECA Inc. is a nonprofit student organization which, “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe” (deca.org). DECA consists of over 200,000 high school and college students from around the world who gain knowledge through DECA’s competitive events and conferences. Collegiate DECA students compete on a state level through Missouri’s chartered association at the State Career Development Conference, then on a national level at DECA’s Collegiate International Career Development Conference.
Marquis and Blevins developed a proposal for the organization providing the rationale for the new organization, “Through membership, DECA grants members the ability to build upon skills based in professionalism and modern business etiquette as well as leadership skills with emphasis in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. DECA’s collegiate organization enhances career preparedness and educational programs as well as competition. DECA also provides a platform for students to network with other students, and businesses while being surrounded in an atmosphere that promotes five key business focus areas within entrepreneurial ideals. These areas are broken down into marketing and sales, business management and administration, communications and technology, finance and accounting, and hospitality and tourism.”
Through starting a collegiate DECA chapter, Jewell students will have an increased opportunity to extend learning outside the classroom to other communities; gain a competitive edge in the global job market; develop strategic decision making and project management skills; network with business and industry experts and 15,000 collegiate members and advisors, and earn awards and recognition through competition.
With hopes to bring this unique opportunity for students to the Jewell community, Marquis and Blevins have done the necessary steps to bring the organization to life. The organization is currently in the approval process through student life. Other students involved with the start-up organization are Rachel Kirch, Tim Posler, and Lisa Erhart.
While in the approval process, Marquis and Blevins accompanied by McVay attended the State Career Development Conference on February 25 and 26 at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri. While at the conference Marquis and Blevins competed in the Case Study Event: Event Planning. Being the first individuals to compete in Collegiate DECA representing William Jewell, the team placed second, qualifying for the International Career Development Conference. Marquis and Blevins plan to attend the International Career Development Conference April 16-20 in Washington D.C.