Alumni Spotlight During DECA Month

DECA Month is a great time to connect with your chapter's alumni and have them share their success stories with your members.

There's nothing more rewarding to an advisor than hearing former DECA members attribute their success to their experience with DECA.

Meet Emily Daley, a former Broad Run DECA member from Virginia, who graduated in 2014. Below, Emily shares how DECA has had a positive impact on her first semester as a college freshman.

One of the most difficult parts of graduating high school was saying goodbye to my four-year career as a DECA member. I thought that it was the end of the road for me and DECA, since I would be attending Vanderbilt University, which does not have a Collegiate DECA chapter.

What I did not realize however, was that I was not saying goodbye to DECA, but rather saying hello to all of the real world situations that I am was prepared to handle because of my time as a DECA member.

My roommate and I have many things in common, but I knew she was the perfect choice for me when we bonded over our love for DECA from opposite coasts of the country. When we arrived at Vanderbilt, we decided to take a marketing class together to continue developing our passion for the subject, despite the fact that I am a pursuing a major in chemical engineering and she is pursuing a major in economics. We were completely unaware of the mostly upperclassmen composition of the class and the large workload, but it sounded like fun so we blindly began our new marketing journey together.

Right away we were thrown into several projects, such as creating a marketing plan to attract the millennial generation to a local medical practice, as well as helping our choice of a local non-profit solve a problem by creating a new marketing plan. While many of our classmates were new to the concept of actually working to market a real company or charity, we both had experience from our DECA days and immediately began to apply this knowledge in project proposals and market research. Hearing the words “SWOT analysis,” as a required section in our first assignment was like music to my role-play trained ears.

We held client meetings, conducted research, and were able to operate in a completely professional environment. It may sound like a cliché when your marketing teacher tells you that DECA skills will be the most important thing you learn in high school, but my roommate and I truly marvel at how prepared we were to enter the collegiate and professional worlds because of what we learned through DECA.

That’s not all though! Of course a marketing organization is going to be relevant in a marketing class, but DECA has also prepared me for things I could not have predicted. In my Spanish writing class, our very first assignment was to write a resume and cover letter, something I have become very accustomed to (in English of course) through my high school marketing education.

DECA skills apply to college in general, too. Earning your professor’s respect is very important in college, and not knowing that an email that says, “Yo prof what’s up,” is unprofessional and inappropriate could cost you a truly great relationship. DECA teaches you how to network and make connections, something that I have already taken advantage of as I begin to reach out and start my internship hunt for the summer.

Even the little things, like knowing how to confidently shake a new acquaintances hand when you meet them (yes, everyone shakes hands in college) become huge assets as you begin to truly follow your own path in life.

So my advice to all high school students out there: truly take advantage of the knowledge, experience, and relationships you develop through DECA, because they will make a difference in your life.

Do you have a DECA alumni story you’d like to share during #DECAMonth? Email your story and a photo of the alumni to

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Categories: Alumni, Chapter Campaigns, Chapter Resources, Chapter Resources (Home Page Teaser), Comprehensive Learning Program, Profiles