#DECAELS 2017: Leadership, Networking and…Advocacy?

Ashton Lam | #DECAELS Social Media Team

This year’s Emerging Leader Summit held at Tysons, Va., from July 9-11 was nothing short of incredible.

There, association and chapter officers from around the world gathered to learn valuable leadership insights and network with one another. However, several associations took advantage of the conference location’s vicinity to Washington, D.C., to explore another component of ELS: advocacy.

With the conference site only a metro ride away from D.C., several associations, including California, Nevada, Louisiana, and DECA Inc.’s Executive Officer Team, took to Capitol Hill to advocate for the importance of Career and Technical Education and DECA.

There, the officers met with their states’ representatives to discuss the impact DECA has had on them and specific pieces of legislation that relates to CTE.

However, advocacy is not as simple as it seems. Only a month before, the teams were frantically trying to contact their legislators’ offices in hopes of getting a response, or better yet, a meeting confirmation.

The experience of advocating itself is a different story. For many officers, the opportunity to meet with an actual legislator and have a frank discussion about DECA is an once-in-a-lifetime event. Dustin Chiang, former California DECA association president and current Harvard student, recalled the advocacy meetings at ELS as, “one of the main factors that influenced my decision to study government.”

All in all, #DECAELS was simply an amazing experience for everyone, allowing officers and members to grow as students, networkers, and leaders.  Whether in advocacy or not, there are #Limitless opportunities to get more involved in DECA and apply those powerful lessons from ELS!

This article was written by California DECA Association Officer and #DECAELS Social Media Team member, Ashton Lam. You can follow Ashton on Twitter @DECA_Ashton.

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