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UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA students earn international accolades

UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA triumphed at the International Career Development Conference in Washington, D.C. on April 11 through 14, making it the chapter’s most successful event in its eight-year history.

The 35 students who traveled to the premier event—the highest number of delegates the chapter has ever achieved—brought home a record 88 individual and team awards. Fifteen Warhawks were Top 10 international finalists in their competitive categories, including an international third place in Emerging Technologies – Marketing Strategies and fifth place in the Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The highlight of the event was earning the title of International Team Champion in Marketing and Communications. Securing this honor from among 15,000 members on over 250 campuses world-wide is truly a distinction for the chapter and UW-Whitewater!

The UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA team proudly accepts the International Team Champion in Marketing and Communication award at the International Career Development Conference event in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 2018.

Sophomore marketing major and chapter president-elect Emily Hayden remarked on the effort required to win, saying, “Going into ICDC, we knew there would be a lot of competition in the Marketing and Communication categories. The abundance of our finalists in key events really helped win the award.”

In addition, the team was honored with a number of awards recognizing year-round engagement and leadership. The chapter received the Presidential Level Chapter Leadership Passport Award for the fourth year in a row and brought home 27 Individual Leadership Passport awards. Also for the fourth year in a row, UW-Whitewater DECA earned the Chapter Community Service Award.

When UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA first started in the 2009 – 2010 academic year, just six students advanced to the ICDC event. Charting the growth of the chapter and individual members since that time, their rapid progression has been impressive.

Senior marketing major and outgoing chapter president Nick Herzberg shared what it was like to be part of this evolution, saying, “Having been in DECA for eight years—in both high school and college—has given me the opportunity to see myself as well as others develop. Even just two years ago, the UW-Whitewater DECA team didn’t look anything like this. Being able to say that we took 35 students to ICDC and earned an international championship isn’t something I would have thought was possible.”

The central mission of Collegiate DECA is to prepare students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management by developing the skills needed to become leaders and innovators.

Chapter advisor Frank Lanko described the impact on collegiate members, saying, “Students who take on the challenge of competitions like DECA ICDC take skills and knowledge gained in their classes and apply them to ‘real-world’ situations—be it a case study competition or a prepared event like the advertising campaign competition. We have had students that could later relate their DECA experiences to position requirements in real job interview situations.”

Lanko, who has served as the team’s advisor for six years, was honored with an Advisor of the Year award at the ICDC event. He also received a State Advisor of the Year honor earlier this year at the state conference.

Contemplating the student organization’s bright future, Hayden said, “This year, we had freshman to seniors reach the event finals. I am really looking forward to the strong leadership and passionate members we have coming back to represent the chapter next year. They are 100 percent committed to the organization and making it better every single day.”

Herzberg added, “I’m beyond excited to see where Emily and the other members can take the chapter—to continue growing, building on the success that this team has created, and making it into something better.”

UW-Whitewater 2018 ICDC Award Recap

  • International Team Champion in Marketing and Communication
  • Two Individual Chapter Leadership Awards
  • One International Third-Place Competitive Award
  • 15 International Top 10 Competitive Finalists
  • Presidential Level Chapter Leadership Passport Award
  • 27 Individual Passport Awards
  • 9 Academic Honors Awards
  • Chapter Community Service Award
  • Advisor of the Year Award
  • 35 UW-Whitewater DECA Competitors

The UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA students also took time to sightsee in the nation’s capital during the conference. Outgoing president Nick Herzberg shared, “The competitors we brought to ICDC aren’t just members—they are a family.”

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