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Collegiate DECA, Professor Orabone shine bright at annual international convention

ORABONE1April 21, 2022

The Community College of Rhode Island’s Collegiate DECA chapter closed out a strong academic year at the 2022 International Career Development Conference (ICDC) with several team and individual awards in addition to Business and Professional Studies Professor Joanne Orabone winning another Teaching Excellence award.

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.

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 leaders.

Orabone, who is the college’s Collegiate DECA Advisor, earned the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Region 1 Teaching Excellence Award for the second time in six years. The award honors faculty members who go “above and beyond to deliver quality education to students.” One winner from each of the 11 ACBSP regions earns the annual Teaching Excellence Award and all winners are automatically nominated for the ACBSP’s International Teaching Excellence Award. 

Orabone also won the award in 2016.

“I was shocked to win for a second time,” Orabone said. “I love what I do, and it feels great to be recognized for my work outside of the classroom as well. It’s a lot of work, but winning the award is over-the-top-amazing.

“I’m passionate about what I do, and I think my passion and enthusiasm resonates with my students. Enthusiasm is contagious. I don’t give up on my students and I will push them to believe in themselves and be as confident in their abilities as I am.”

In addition to teaching, Orabone is involved with curriculum development and learning outcome and assessment for CCRI’s Business Department. She also serves as the Advisor of Kappa Beta Delta, the International Honor Society for Business students.

Said CCRI Department of Business & Professional Studies Chair Maria Coclin: “Professor Orabone has been a positive advocate for all students, especially in her outstanding work with DECA. I also believe that this honor reflects the hard work and professionalism of the entire Department of Business and Professional Studies.” 

Orabone accompanied CCRI DECA chapter member 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.

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.

“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 and bought into the concept.”

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