Collegiate Leadership Academy takes on the Big Apple

After spending a few days in the Big Apple, I’m fairly certain that the only things brighter than the lights of New York City are the futures of our Collegiate DECA members! 

On Nov. 15, more than 200 Collegiate DECA members, advisors, and guests arrived in New York City prepared to THRIVE at the Collegiate Leadership Academy. Conference attendees participated in one of five tracks: fashion merchandising and retail management, hospitality and culinary arts, international business and finance, Madison Avenue advertising, and sports and entertainment marketing. Within each track, attendees were treated to behind-the-scene tours and career-specific presentations, all of which which helped them complete a relevant case study.

At Thursday night’s opening session, students enjoyed networking with each other before hearing from keynote speaker Michelle Tillis-Lederman. Tillis-Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking, spoke to Collegiate DECA members about the importance of moving beyond networking to create real relationships.

On Friday, members toured iconic New York City sites and attractions as part of their chosen industry tracks. Fashion merchandising and retail management attendees toured Bloomingdale’s and Radio City Music Hall, while students interested in hospitality and the culinary arts made stops at the Marriott Marquis and the Sheraton New York. Bloomberg Towers and a presentation by PricewaterhouseCoopers headlined the international business and finance tour. Madison Avenue advertising and sports and entertainment marketing students started their morning with a presentation by Madison Square Entertainment and a tour of Radio City Music Hall. Later in the day, Madison Avenue advertising students completed an activity in Times Square, while sports and entertainment attendees made a visit to Yankee Stadium.

After their off-site experiences, Collegiate DECA members broke into case study groups to complete executive summaries and prepare their presentations. The Rockettes and their annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular topped off Friday evening; the show featured classic holiday numbers as well as a historic overview of the 85-year-old franchise.  

On Saturday, Collegiate DECA members presented their case studies to industry professionals. The judges hailed from Men’s Wearhouse, Marriott International, PricewaterhouseCoopers, local advertising agencies, and Madison Square Entertainment. 

During the closing session, Collegiate DECA’s national officer team presented new ideas on how chapters can THRIVE throughout the year. Audience members were also invited to share ideas with each other on how their chapters have been successful. Immediately following the officers’ remarks, representatives from Men’s Wearhouse gave an energetic, informative presentation on how to “dress for success” and prepare for job interviews. The session concluded with the announcement of case study winners and chapter photos.

Follow Jessica Tormey on Twitter @jessicadecavp.

Categories: Conference Highlights, Reviews