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Collegiate DECA 2022

International Career Development Conference

CCRI's Collegiate DECA chapter closed out a strong academic year at the 2022 International Career Development Conference (ICDC) with several team and individual awards.

The ICDC provides members the chance to network with representatives from National DECA’s corporate sponsors in career exhibits. Students also engage and network with business professionals through the Professional Development Series, with presentations focusing on topics such as personal branding, money matters, sustainability, mastering motivation, and dressing for success, which provide DECA members with an opportunity to gain real-world insight from many business and industry professionals.

Deca 2022 group

Among the team awards, CCRI’s chapter earned the Diplomatic Leadership Passport Award, maintaining its streak as the only college in the country – including both two- and four-year colleges – to win this award every year since its inception in 2006. The Leadership Passport Award encourages chapters to plan activities and participate in events that enhance the experiences of members and then rewards them for their ability to build personal and professional skill sets focused around helping members be academically-prepared, community-oriented, professionally-responsible, and experienced. 

Professor Joanne Orabone, the college’s Collegiate DECA Advisor, accompanied CCRI DECA chapter members Evelin Aguilar (Providence, RI), Christine Williams (Providence, RI), and Lauren Blanchette (Westerly, RI) to the ICDC in Baltimore, where Williams – CCRI’s chapter President – earned an Executive Level Individual Leadership Passport Award and placed third in the country in her Restaurant & Food Service Management case study presentation. Aguilar also competed in a case study presentation and earned a medal for advancing to the finals in Restaurant & Food Service Management.

DECA 2022 winner

When participating in the competitive events program, students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by taking a Career Cluster exam in their chosen event. They are then given 30 minutes to analyze a case study and 15 minutes to present their findings to the judge, who is a business and industry professional. Aguilar and Williams are both Business Administration majors – Aguilar speaks English as a second language – who balanced their course work with their DECA responsibilities in addition to raising their own children. 

“What they’ve accomplished is incredible,” Orabone said. “Throughout the competition, I kept reminding them that this is going to speak volumes for their children. They are going to follow in their footsteps when they see what they’ve done.”

CCRI chapter members finished strong despite this being the first in-person ICDC since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and only the second time they’ve competed together in person this year. In addition to the award winners, Blanchette received a gift for her active participation in the Emerging Leader Series, a program aimed toward preparing DECA members to be effective leaders in college and their careers. 

group with advisor

“This is an amazing achievement for our team,” Orabone said. “We were still virtual for half the year and never had the opportunity to meet or practice face-to-face, which was challenging, but our students rose to the occasion. They really put in the effort this year.”