The greatest thing about leadership within DECA is that there is infinite room for growth and there is equality of opportunity for all members. The classical progression of student leadership goes from chapter office to association office to executive office.
If you’re questioning whether you should apply, here are some things to consider:
When approaching a leadership position, it’s important to understand why you’re considering it in the first place. For many, leadership is a way to gain popularity and name recognition, build a resume and travel. But the best leaders are also driven by a desire to give back and serve others. DECA is a student-led organization committed to preparing emerging leaders around the world so a servant leadership mindset is more beneficial than an ego-centric approach.
Pro Tip: Members want to know that they matter. If you keep them at the core of your leadership motivation, you'll see greater member participation and satisfaction.
2. Do you have leadership experience?
As with every task, experience allows you to do things quicker and more efficiently. This does not necessarily have to be DECA leadership experience, but will certainly help if it is. “Experience” includes time spent in chapter and association officer positions as well as roles of leadership in other organizations. Being experienced means the ability to aid association and chapter officers in difficult situations as you may have encountered them before.
Pro Tip: While having leadership experience often speaks for itself, it’s always great to highlight exactly what lessons and skills you learned and how they can be used to help members across the globe.
3. Do you have time management skills?
Executive Office provides you with a platform to reach schools around the world, which also means it requires a significant portion of your time. This time commitment comes from completing tasks for your program of leadership, hosting virtual calls and traveling to conferences. Depending on how many travel requests you receive from chapters and associations, this can mean having to travel three or four times during your term, or up to three or four times in a span of two months when it’s conference season. Proper time management is essential especially if you’re planning on pursuing a full-time job or attending college/university during your term.
Pro Tip: It’s never too early to begin working on your time management skills and to practice making a daily schedule. I use Google calendar to allocate time during my days for DECA and school work. As much as I disliked them growing up, keeping a schedule is the reason I get anything done on time.
4. Do you enjoy public speaking?
As DECA members, we gain exposure to countless public speaking opportunities—from competitive events and presenting in front of judges to networking opportunities at events. A position on the Executive Officer Team brings a plethora of public speaking opportunities where you will have to present workshops, keynote speeches and general sessions on stage in front of audiences of up to 20,000 people.
Pro Tip: A great way to practice your public speaking skills is to participate in your school’s speech and debate team or another comparable program. I competed in Congressional Debate for all four years of high school and it helped me prepare for public speaking.
5. Are you familiar with DECA?
Executive Officers are also brand ambassadors of DECA so it is expected that they possess a certain degree of familiarity with what the organization is, what it represents and its core values. One part of the executive officer application process is the completion of a test that asks you to recognize and recall details about DECA as well as key facts about the organization’s history.
Pro Tip: Reading articles on DECA Direct Online (as you are right now) and browsing through deca.org are great ways of learning more about our organization.
If you find yourself displaying characteristics of servant leadership, possessing strong time management and public skills, and being familiar with the organization, DECA Executive Office could be for you! All of the points mentioned were factors that helped me stay consistent and confident during the campaign period and now in office. The application and campaigning process is incredibly fun and even if not elected, the experience of running is worth it!