Team DECA Converges on Los Angeles

Too often we get stuck in a rut, constantly trying to recruit students and advisors from areas that we are already familiar with. Sometimes, we need to take a risk, do something that’s not familiar at all.

During the weekend of January 25, Hana Hyder, the current Silicon Valley District executive vice president; Isabella Zhang, the Silicon Valley District president-elect; Danielle Tuason, our acting SOCAL District director; Dr. Michelle Walker, director of education at DECA Inc. and I attended the California Teachers Association (CTA) State Council of Education meeting in Los Angeles as guests of our Silicon Valley District advisor, Mr. Carl Schmidt and the Adult, Alternative Career and Technical Education Committee (ACT) on which he serves. 

The 350,000-member California Teachers Association is the California affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). Since our Southern California DECA association officers were already committed to supporting their own Southern California (SOCAL) District Conference that same weekend, we flew down to Los Angeles to present the DECA story to the ACT Committee exhibit at the conference and share the benefits of the “DECA difference” to state council delegates, who each represent approximately 500 other teachers. We even had the opportunity to visit our SOCAL DECA CDC in Garden Grove, joining their dedicated members, advisors and community members.

Through this conference, we were able to increase awareness, establish a positive brand image and expand our network. After our presentation to the ACT committee, we learned that we created a “buzz” about DECA—many teachers not affiliated with Career and Technical Education (CTE) began visiting our exhibit, eager to learn more about us and what we do.  These new contacts look forward to informing their colleagues about DECA.  We even met some of our own elementary and middle school teachers who invited us to catch up with them upon our return to Silicon Valley! 

We understand that new chapter recruitment and development is an ongoing, multi-year process. Very much like a garden, we prepared the soil, planted the seeds and will tend it before the harvest. When we return to Southern California for our 2013 DECA ICDC, we hope to have many of these teachers, and their colleagues, visit us, and witness the “DECA experience” firsthand.

This conference however was far from all work and no play. From the moment I stepped foot in the hotel, I felt like I was in a completely different world. The total experience was amazing—from eating dinner at the revolving restaurant on the 35th floor complete with the night time birds-eye view of all of downtown LA, to watching a car commercial being filmed outside the hotel, to hearing California Governor Jerry Brown speak, I can honestly say that I’ve acquired the memories of a lifetime! The phrase, “DECA takes you places,” assumed a greater meaning for each of us in attendance.


DECA is extremely proud to announce that Belinda Zeng has been accepted to Harvard University by early admission as of December 2012. Belinda’s achievements also include being awarded a US Patent for her Fashion Design Method, System and Apparatus, software system in January 2012.

Categories: Advocacy, Branding & Promotion, Chapter Resources, Leadership, Membership & Recruitment