State Conference gathers DECA officers



DECA officers and escorts Holly Bailey, Seniors Mason Rogers, Taylin Bethea, Britney Bailey, Essance Whiteside, Lesa Hefner, Caleb Cronk, Emily Linsky, Juniors Rebekkah Khafer, Jessica Hale and Senior Natascha Mercadante gather around a Cheddar’s table after the first session of their conference at the Embassy Hotel.

Business-minded individuals travel from across the state to a conference to discuss business and leadership. Speakers speak, people learn and participants come away armed with knowledge about how to make their business and their lives better and more professional.

This may sound like a corporate-level meeting between suit-wearing businessmen, but it is actually a description of the yearly DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) Conference Leadership Conference. Chapter officers of Business Professionals of America and DECA, a global organization dedicated to educating future leaders and business people, travelled from across the state to take part in this year’s conference, which was held last week in Norman.

Senior Natascha Mercadante, the high school chapter’s DECA reporter, was among those who attended the conference. She said she learned a lot about business and leadership from the experience.

“I took away a new look at marketing in general,” she said. “It showed me that to be a leader, you don’t have to consistently correct people, sometimes you just have to lead them in the right direction.”

Lesa Hefner, the school’s DECA adviser, described the format of the event.

“We went to a big general session, then the students got to choose the next sessions that they went to,” she said.

She also said that the officers who attended the event ate meals together on the trip. She additionally believes that the students appreciate the opportunity to attend the event.

“I think they generally enjoy it,” she said. “I think that they value the experience that they attend.”