Millikin University's Collegiate DECA Chapter received several awards for outstanding efforts at the 2014 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held April 23-26 in Washington, D.C.
For the third year in a row, Millikin's chapter earned a plaque for reaching the Presidential Level of the Leadership Passport Program. Jamie Rockhold, a senior accounting and information systems double major from Clinton, Ill., earned a plaque for reaching the Gold Diamond Level of the Individual Passport Program. The DECA Passport Program rewards action taken by members and chapters that build personal and professional skill sets.
"In addition to learning about business operations and entrepreneurship, Collegiate DECA allowed me to develop my leadership and professional skills alongside a strong and motivated team of fellow students and supportive faculty advisors," said Rockhold. "Being awarded the Gold Diamond Level of the Individual Leadership Passport Program for actively participating in the areas of innovation, competence, teamwork, and integrity along with many other memorable experiences will be something I carry forward into my professional career."
Students Jake Hazelton, a senior marketing major from Wilmington, Ill., Michael Kerfoot, a senior entrepreneurship major from St. Charles, Mo., Andy Roth, a senior sports management major from Naperville, Ill., and James Vavak, a senior business management major from Fenton, Mo., earned medals for being named finalists in the DECA Entrepreneurship Challenge Competition, and for being named finalists in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Competition.
"The competitions were great for the students," said Dr. Carrie Trimble, Millikin assistant professor of marketing. "The students were able to take the experiences they learned in class and use them in these competitions. The students were very comfortable talking about international business and emerging markets. The experience was a confidence builder."
During the Entrepreneurship Challenge, students worked in teams to create a unique business concept based on a theme provided during the conference. Each team made a brief presentation to one or more judges who determined which team made the best business pitch. The top teams from the preliminary competition moved on to the finals, where they competed for awards and recognition. Over 40 teams participated in the challenge.
Millikin's team created a bicycle tour and rental business concept that would be based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The bicycles would have GPS-activated devices that would provide audio and map tours for people to use while exploring Rio de Janeiro.
"Having the opportunity to be around other entrepreneurs and to be a part of the business bubble was great," said James Vavak. "We did so much work as far as competitions go, but we enjoyed every aspect of it. I think we had a great idea in terms of the entrepreneurship competition and we were proud to be recognized for it."
During the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Competition, the Millikin team was assigned a scenario where they role-played as an on-demand internet streaming media company faced with a decision to partner with a leading cable company. The team was asked to provide a recommendation and the reasons for their decision in front of a judge.
When asked about the ongoing success at the conference, James Vavak added, "The conference offered the same performance learning experiences that we've learned at Millikin. As far as communicating our ideas in front of a judge, I think we had a huge advantage at the conference because it's something we're always practicing through the Tabor School of Business. It's all about creating solutions and being able to communicate."
In addition to Millikin's success at the conference, alumna Ellen Tolley Davis '00 was the featured keynote speaker during the ICDC Opening Session. Davis is senior vice president of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and executive director of the NRF Foundation. Davis joined NRF in 2002 as manager of media relations and continued in positions of greater responsibility in the communications and public affairs department before assuming her current position in 2012. She graduated with a degree in communication from Millikin.
"The conference was above my expectations," said Andy Roth. "It creates a great atmosphere in terms of a business world and it provides that extra step of experience. The fact that we came away with awards proves that what we are learning at Millikin is playing into effect."
DECA is currently organized into two unique student divisions each with programs designed to address the learning styles, interest and focus of its members. The Collegiate Division includes over 15,000 members in 200 colleges and universities. For more information on DECA, visit deca.org