Bellevue DECA, a professional development program at Bellevue College, traveled to Spokane on Thursday, Feb. 18 to compete in the Pacific Northwest Career Development Conference. The competition was a success, with 52 students placing in the top ten, 49 qualifying for nationals and 13 teams of students winning top marks in their respective events. Team member Dorel Roata said, “Last year we were excited that we had two teams win first place. However, this time we had 13 state champions. Having so many winners shows the strength and depth of our team.”
Additionally, the team outperformed all other schools, including Western, WSU, Gonzaga and UW Bothell in the marketing, finance and hospitality categories. Bellevue DECA also placed second overall in entrepreneurship and business. Kyle Barber, the director and head coach, stated, “I am very happy with the results of our team at the state tournament. The fact that we are now state champions in Marketing Management, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, B2B Marketing, Advertising, Event Planning, Retail Management and Entrepreneurship speaks volumes about how our marketing program at Bellevue College is preparing students to succeed as industry leaders.”
Dan Palanchuk, the team’s president, claimed that the many awards won was just one measure of the team’s success. “I’ve seen the positive impact this club can have on its members. During the competition, I realized that it was much bigger than just competition. DECA is building the next generation leaders.”
The DECA chapter at Bellevue has grown from a startup organization of three people last year to a national championship winning team with over 100 members by the start of this winter quarter. Barber added, “We’re actively seeking students from all majors and areas of studies to join the team if they’re interested in developing professional skills and networking with other like-minded individuals.”
Founded in 1946, DECA is a nonprofit organization that promotes leadership and hosts business competitions for high school and college students around the world to prepare them for marketing, finance, management or hospitality careers. DECA holds regional competitions, leading to one large national competition where students present a business consulting solution to a panel of judges.
Not all the DECA students are business and marketing majors, and many had limited public speaking experience before joining the team. In fact, nearly half the group is made up on international students. Tana Rulkova said, “DECA is a community and it gives me, as an international student, a sense of belonging here at Bellevue College. Our coach, Kyle, pushes us out of our comfort zones and prepares us for leadership roles in business.”
This article was altered from its original form to ensure the accuracy of details by Bellevue DECA’s director and head coach, Kyle Barber.