It is approaching the time of the school year when all students start to wonder, “What am I doing next year?” If you have been or currently are a chapter or association officer, you may be considering if you’d like to run for executive office. Serving as a Collegiate DECA executive officer has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to head down the home stretch of my term.
When I was considering whether I would run for Collegiate DECA President, I remember it seeming like a daunting decision. I often wondered what was required to succeed in the role. The qualities needed to serve as a Collegiate DECA executive officer may vary from person to person; however, there are three characteristics that I have discovered to be most important.
First, when deciding if you want to run for executive office, it’s important to consider if you believe that you can do the job. This may sound crass at first, but believing in yourself is a very underrated part of the job. As an executive officer, you are tasked with leading a division for an international organization with thousands of members. You are responsible for speaking to and representing a vast number of stakeholders with different ideas. It requires a certain amount of belief in yourself and your skills.
During your term as an executive officer, it is important that you have the interpersonal skills to work well with others. Throughout the year you work very closely with a team of four other officers. You will talk to them—one way or another—almost every single day of your term in office. Having the ability to communicate well, come to a consensus and execute well as a team is critical.
3. SERVANT leadership
Being an executive officer is like having a job. In a typical week, it is a part-time job and during the weeks that you travel, it evolves into a full-time job and then some. You are constantly honing your message and making sure you are at your best for the members. Recognizing that it is a privilege to serve in your role as an executive officer makes it all worthwhile.
Being an executive officer can also be a bit of an isolating experience. Don’t get me wrong, you feel plenty of love from members who look up to you, but leadership at this level can be lonely at times. Rather than traveling with your chapter, you spend much more time traveling on your own. By definition, you also have fewer peers – your DECA experience is much different from that of almost every other DECA member. Luckily, you'll always have your teammates. Nevertheless, serving this organization as an executive officer is an enriching experience that will help you grow in ways you couldn’t have anticipated.