DECA Experience Leads to Professional Expertise
Ask Allyson Witt why DECA makes you a better job candidate and employee, and she’ll list three top qualities – time management, communication and leadership.
Witt knows from experience, since she recently joined M&M Productions USA, a full-service event, broadcast and video production company, to expand and manage the company in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“Moving to a new city with a new job can be intimidating,” Witt said. “Add in that it’s my job to meet new people and grow a business, and it can be overwhelming.”
However, Witt learned the three lessons above from involvement in DECA that prepared her for the challenges.
Juggling multiple meetings with networking events and other work-related projects is no easy task. There is a lot to get done, and only so many available hours in the day. Witt draws on her experience in high school and college business competitions to prioritize and manage tasks.
“I was used to having DECA-related activities and projects on top of my homework,” she said. “I’ve shifted what I’m doing, but the organization and project management skills remain the same.”
You don’t talk to a supervisor or company CEO the same way you talk to your friends. In DECA, Witt practiced methods of communication and uses the appropriate filter in professional settings. She also learned that correct attire sends a message to potential clients about professionalism and capabilities.
“Understanding different audiences and perspectives is really important for business success,” Witt added. “It’s a key part of professional life and leadership.
“Every morning as I get ready to go to work, I feel like I’m going back into a business competition in high school.”
Witt is more comfortable in a business setting and gained internships in college because of what she had accomplished in DECA. Those experiences led to more professional success upon graduation.
“Because I have more professional experience than my peers, I’m able to jump quickly to leadership roles like what I’m doing for M&M Productions in Chattanooga,” she said.
Based on what Witt learned and what career path she subsequently charted, Witt encourages DECA members to stay the course and make themselves uncomfortable. That leads to professional growth.
“If it makes you nervous, do it,” Witt said. “Every chance I’ve taken has turned into something so gratifying. Even when I’m intimidated, I step up and do what needs to be done, and some of my biggest successes have come from something I almost backed out of.”
Ultimately, students must believe in themselves and use the lessons learned in DECA and other activities to catapult them to career success.
“Don’t doubt yourself,” Witt said. “You’ve worked and equipped yourself to be successful. You know what you’re doing. Take the risk, and you’ll reach what you’re aiming for.”
Follow M&M Productions on Twitter @MMProductionsUS.