5 Lessons I Learned From This Year’s CRLC

The 2018 DECA Central Region Leadership Conference was held in the Motor City – Detroit, MI. Since we live less than half an hour away from this venue, my chapter decided to attend this year’s CRLC. And I am so glad we did. Here are the top five things that this experience taught me:

Words Are Key to Getting What You Want

On the first day of the DECA CRLC, we were introduced to Keynote speaker and bestselling author Phil M. Jones. The London-based business education speaker shared some of his top tips on how to sell a product through speech! Jones encouraged all people in attendance to use his tricks outside of DECA in order to persuade someone to do something that they otherwise wouldn’t agree to. After his keynote speech, each delegate in attendance received a copy of Phil’s book “Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact”. I have yet read it, but can’t wait to do so!

Entrepreneurs Can Begin At Any Age

The first CRLC workshop I attended on Saturday was “How Entrepreneurs Plan for Success”, presented by Derrin Hill, CEO/Founder of RevRoad, LCC and owner of several other companies. Jones asked students who considered themselves entrepreneurs to raise their hands. To be totally honest, I was shocked when several arms flew into the air. Two freshmen from western Illinois had started a farming business in their backyards. A senior from Kansas sitting next to me had millions of followers on his monetized social media accounts. Others had begun graphic design businesses, were working on inventions and running their own yard work companies. That experience made me realize that anyone, no matter their age, can start a successful career. It has inspired to me to work on editing a book that I have been writing for the past year.

‘Building Your Brand’ is Very Important

My third workshop was called “Investing in Yourself” and was delivered by Quicken Loans representatives Cassandra Chapman and Hunter Casperson. I learned from their presentation that a person must adapt based on their changing environment in order to be successful in life. They gave us some tips on how to establish a presence in our communities, and begin polishing our personal ‘brands’. Chapman and Casperson also introduced me and the other DECA attendees to a paid summer internship program ran under Quicken Loans known as ‘Rocket Mortgage’. This internship program would be tailored for Metro-Detroit high schoolers who express driven personalities. It surely sounded enticing.  Maybe I’ll give it a try!

Running For State Office Doesn’t Have to Be A Challenge

My last workshop for the CRLC conference was “Running for State Office” hosted by four wonderful Michigan DECA State Officers- including IlaIyengar and Emily Stando. I noticed that all of the officers were able to balance their athletics, academics, and leadership role, which is an admirable trait for any individual to have.

The officers stressed the importance of smart campaigning. One of last year’s candidates, for example, only spent $25 on her campaign. Her creative ‘photo frames’ were a hit on social media, and generated the “buzz” that allowed her to win the election!
This workshop inspired me to work hard and think outside the box in my quest for a state officer title next year.

Anyone From Anywhere Can Do DECA!

I met many different people from all over the Midwest at CRLC. Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, you name it! Networking with other high schoolers with different backgrounds helped me realize that DECA isn’t just for people like me- it’s for everyone! The CRLC allowed me to connect with those people, and gain a new perspective on the DECA organization as a whole. Now, DECA seems much bigger to me than ever before.

This conference has taught me valuable professional development skills, and has motivated me to stay #CRStrong for this upcoming season of DECA!

MacKenzie Bucki (Airport DECA, Michigan) is a DECA Direct Reporter for the Central Region. Follow her on Twitter @mackbucki. 

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