The Circle of DECA
As high school DECA members from different states, these alumni members never imagined they would come full circle to work for the same company, AT&T, and pass the baton by mentoring current high school DECA members.
Monica Sin has fond memories of DECA membership at Granada High School in California. “The class was like a family.” Connecting with other DECA members at conferences was a highlight of her participation and culminated with a trip to Orlando, Florida, for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). She continued her education at San Diego State University as a business management major and was selected for an internship program with AT&T.
As Monica reflects on her DECA memories she recalls that “DECA helped me understand the business skills that I needed to develop to become an effective manager.” Her advice to current DECA members is “remember we’re all people, don’t be afraid to reach out to leaders for advice or guidance.”
Monica currently works for AT&T in Bothell, Washington, as a Senior Solution Train Engineer and serves as a mentor for DECA members at Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Chris Holle recalls that his high school DECA experience at Brenham High School in Texas allowed him to see things from a different perspective than those of his other classes. He remembers DECA shaping leaders and instilling confidence in members. Chris said, “DECA gave me the confidence to sell myself and that confidence took me farther than much of the content I learned.” DECA helped him to capitalize on his strengths when writing college essays and completing college applications. In addition to his strong application and work ethic, Chris and his classmate started a business to help encourage social gatherings on campus. Chris now holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Baylor University.
His determination and hard work in college was recognized by AT&T when he was offered a position upon graduation. Chris now works as a Data Scientist at AT&T in Dallas, Texas, and is helping to boost the confidence of DECA members at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas. His message to current DECA members is “You can do anything you set your mind to. You just need to have confidence in yourself.”
Yessica Leon is the first student who benefitted from participation in the #DECAATTProject as a student at Streamwood High School in Illinois and became an employee at AT&T. She made a special connection with a couple of AT&T employees during a DECA visit to an AT&T retail store as part of their collaboration with the company. After high school graduation in 2019, she entered the AT&T retail training program.
She is now a student at Elgin Community College and works nearly full-time hours at AT&T. The skills she learned through DECA, as well as perseverance and determination, have led to her success as a college student and recognition as a valued employee. Yessica has thrived during the pandemic having been recognized as the top salesperson in her store last month. Yessica shared, “I am grateful for my DECA experiences in high school and for the participation in the #DECAATTProject that helped me secure a job while continuing my education.”
Just prior to the work and school restrictions resulting from the pandemic, Yessica paid it forward by participating as an AT&T mentor when members of her former DECA chapter visited AT&T.
Now, in its seventh year, #DECAATTProject has made an impact on the lives of thousands of DECA members nationwide. The added bonus is discovering DECA alumni so willing to serve as mentors to current members taking their education and skills to the #NextLevel!