Seeing into the Future: DECA’s Vision 2017

During the 2013 DECA Association Management Conference in Atlanta, Ga., the DECA Inc. staff shared its Vision 2017, a strategic plan that's been the collaboration of key constituents, the DECA Inc. Board of Directors and DECA Inc. staff. Dr. Ed Davis, executive director of DECA Inc., led an informative discussion on DECA's stategic plan looking forward to 2017.

“DECA uses its strategic plan to create objectives and then develop short-term activities to implement the plan’s main goals,” Davis explained.  

DECA has mapped out five main points of the 2017 strategic plan:

  1. Expand and strengthen high school programs by increasing membership by 30,000, chapters by 750 and participation by 20%.
  2. Expand and strengthen collegiate program by increasing membership by 3,000, chapters by 50 and participation by 30%.
  3. Expand and strengthen professional development by training 5,000 high school advisors and 200 collegiate advisors.
  4. Strengthen the effectiveness of chartered associations by expanding training for association advisors and boards in management, fundraising, advocacy and membership development.
  5. Strengthen and expand corporate and institutional partnerships by increasing annual partnership support by $700,000.

Christopher Young, high school division director, spoke on the three areas high school will be focusing on for the next year. One area of focus is DECA’s leadership programs and working to redefine DECA’s numerous leadership activities to create a brand new, comprehensive leadership program that reinforces 21st Century Skills.

“We want to brand this new leadership program and tie it together so at the local, association and DECA Inc. level we have a comprehensive program that defines leadership and truly creates the next generation of leaders,” Young said. Other areas of focus of the high school level are developing and promoting programs focused on hospitality and finance and exploring niche marketing for membership and chapter development.

Jeff Collins, assistant executive director of DECA Inc. and collegiate division director, spoke next on Collegiate DECA’s activities moving into the future.

“Its nice to look back on where we have been and what has been successful, but to also look at where we need to go,” Collins said.

Collegiate DECA has exciting new plans in store that will take the division into a whole new level. A revised competitive events plan, including the addition of a new online business plan event, will accommodate Collegiate DECA chapters that wish to participating in competition but cannot afford the travel requirements. Collegiate DECA’s other main objectives for the year are developing campaigns to sustain membership and chapters, developing new chapters in niche markets and expanding services to chapters outside of chartered associations.

Michelle Walker, director of education for DECA Inc., expanding on the goals set for strengthening DECA’s professional development program.

“Our main goal is to position DECA as the source for professional development by becoming an accredited institution that can offer continuing education units for its advisors and teachers through a variety of delivery methods,” Walker said. The education department will focus its energies throughout the next year on enhancing advisor training at all levels. By re-structuring the department to be centered on professional learning, it will be able to strengthen existing programs, retain advisors and chapters and recruit new advisors and chapters.

Next, Shane Thomas, director of competitive events, spoke on DECA’s plans to strengthen the effectiveness of chartered associations.

First, DECA will create an on-boarding process for new chartered association advisors to support and train them appropriately for their new position. DECA will also develop membership and recruitment benefits, integrate professional development activities into all conference programs and work with corporate partners to increase funding for high school and collegiate chapters. Thomas also discussed new competitive event policies that address the issue of exam and case study distribution. These new policies will prevent exams and case studies from being leaked online in order to maintain a strict level of fairness for all DECA members participating in competitive events.

Lastly, John Fistolera, assistant executive director for corporate and external affairs, spoke on how DECA plans to strengthen and expand corporate and institutional partnerships.

“We hope to find a way to align our corporate and institutional partnerships with DECA programs already in place in order to find a way that improves DECA’s value for all members,” Fistolera said.

One main goal is to develop programs focused on finance and hospitality to broaden DECA’s marketing scope and attract a wider range of members and partners. Also, working closely with DECA’s college and university partners will help strength the high school and collegiate division by preparing members for postsecondary education and careers. Additionally, DECA hopes to find new opportunities for partnerships through recognition, corporate and grant support, individual giving and special event fundraising.

DECA knows there is a long road ahead to successfully implementing the five aspects of the 2017 vision, but the outcome is well worth the necessary time and effort. 

Download the strategic plan.

Follow Janelle on Twitter @jjscudderdeca.

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