Contributed by Michelle Antony | Lake Travis High School DECA, TX
My time in DECA has taught me that our ability to communicate with one another is the invisible string that ties us all together. Through our words and actions as DECA members and leaders, we forge relationships, build character and expand our knowledge.
Through my unforgettable journey as the Texas DECA District 5 President, I have learned that communication is a core leadership principle. My realization of the importance of a concept such as communication, particularly exemplary communication with those I lead, encouraged my District Officer team and me to create District 5's "DECA Connect" series. My team founded these monthly cross-school events in hopes of helping new chapters, often with underfunded CTE programs, accumulate resources for their school.
Through these meetings, chapter officers could reach out with any questions and were encouraged to participate in active discussions on various DECA topics. As we continued to host DECA Connect events, our team witnessed attendance skyrocketing as we saw more and more members at each meeting. This growth in engagement spoke volumes about the impact of these events. It was a significant achievement for our District Officer team, as we had been actively working towards higher engagement with our chapters. Although the success of these events was an amazing feat, what was even more inspiring was seeing our chapter members network with one another.
As a leader in this organization, my goal has always been to create meaningful connections among schools and give students a gateway to a career path they are passionate about. These meetings allowed me to fortify the network of chapters within my District and lead them to success. Although managing the activities and events of approximately 3,000 students in the Austin area started as a daunting task as I grew into my position of leadership and watched those around me grow, I learned that through the facilitation of these communication and cooperation-focused meetings, my team and I had created a channel for our members to amplify their voice in our District. My team's ability to commit to making a difference in our district has created meaningful relationships and reshaped our district.
As these events continue to bring more people together, more hands join in helping build District 5. Today, our DECA Connect meetings are one of the most anticipated events in our District. Together, we successfully made a vibrant community of leaders by taking the first step, getting more folks involved and reaching out for help from my peers and community leaders. DECA Connect continues to give every voice a platform to articulate their needs and ideas. My team and I have created a venue for DECA chapters in our District, where they can exchange resources, build ideas, experience differences and celebrate together as a family!