Advice to a New Chapter Officer
I remember what it felt like when I added a new pin to my polyester blazer— DECA blue with a gold dangle.
Holding a chapter officer position was an incredible opportunity to impact students within my school as well as a stepping stone to becoming an association officer.
Though the pin itself was small, it represented what would come to be another era of my life: more involvement in my community, the chance to hone my leadership skills, and the opportunity to perhaps change younger students’ lives should they too catch the ‘DECA Bug.’
Whether your school’s elections were at the end of last year or the beginning of this one, be your best by keeping D-E-C-A in the front of your mind.
If you’re an officer, you clearly have a drive and ambition that sets you apart, but as the school year gets busier (and busier), remind yourself that DECA is always a priority.
Even when track season has begun and finals are coming up quickly, you have still made the commitment to yourself and your school to put DECA first.
Luckily, there are plenty of great resources out there to keep you organized during the busiest of times. You could even say it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…
- Planners are a super-useful way to contain all of your commitments in one place. By plotting out key dates and deadlines ahead of time, you can help yourself stay on top of a busy schedule.
- A Program of Work is a great asset! Work with your other officers and chapter advisor to decide on attainable goals and plan steps to reach them.
- Agendas are useful to keep meetings productive. Try working with your team to create an outline of what you plan to discuss at your officer meetings at least a few days in advance, and make sure everyone has a copy. Not only will it keep you prepared, but also allow the whole team to think about each component of the meeting before you discuss them.
An integral part of your role as a chapter officer is making sure existing DECA members are prepared and informed. How you do this can vary, but can include things like sending out emails about upcoming chapter and state events, holding info sessions about the competitive process, and making sure your contact information is available for any questions.
Similarly, educating members outside of your chapter about DECA is the best way to increase membership! Always have your DECA ‘elevator pitch’ on hand if someone you know happens to ask you about DECA.
Tip: Food is a great way to lure in new and existing members for meetings or info sessions!
Connections + Communication:
Network, network, network! As a chapter officer, you have an excuse to walk up to anyone you see at a networking opportunity and introduce yourself. Represent yourself, your chapter, and your association in the best possible light by making connections with other students and professionals in your area. If you reach out to local professionals, you’d be surprised how many are willing to make time to guest speak at DECA chapters, maybe they’ll even be interested in becoming a professional member!
Additionally, communication within your officer team is vital to your team and chapter success: making sure everyone is on the same page is the best way to avoid miscommunication and stay productive.
Perhaps the most important aspect of your role as an officer is being an ambassador for DECA. You represent the best of our organization, and it’s your responsibility to act accordingly; practice that handshake and DECA introduction, because if there’s one thing I can guarantee you you’ll need this year, it’s those skills.
Actually, there’s one more thing I can promise. You’ve been selected by your peers or advisors to represent our organization, and while this responsibility can be daunting at the beginning of the year, rest assured it will make your DECA experience even more incredible than it already is!
Follow Hayley on Twitter @Haas_NVDECA