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Collegiate DECA chapter shines at annual conference in Orlando

Collegiate DECA chapter shines at annual conference in OrlandoBusiness and Professional Studies Professor Joanne Orabone won the Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award at the 2023 International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Orlando.

The Community College of Rhode Island’s Collegiate DECA chapter capped another strong academic year at the 2023 International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Orlando with several team and individual awards in addition to Business and Professional Studies Professor Joanne Orabone winning another award for her service to Collegiate DECA.

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.

For the 18th consecutive year, CCRI’s chapter earned the Presidential Leadership Passport Award, which 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. CCRI is the only college in the nation – including both two- and four-year colleges – to have earned this award every year since its inception in 2006.

Orabone was particularly proud of this year’s group, which featured 23 students – the most since CCRI’s pre-COVID days. Of the eight that competed at the ICDC, only two had prior national competition experience, Orabone noted, however, “all made the commitment to attend weekly two-hour practice sessions this semester, where they presented their case study solutions to me and to former DECA alumni who judged these presentations. Their practice certainly paid off.”

Six students also earned Individual Leadership Passport Awards, part of Collegiate DECA’s Individual Leadership Passport Program, which provides student members a guide for year-round engagement and enhances the benefits of membership. CCRI’s DECA President Lauren Blanchette (Westerly, RI) earned a Presidential Level Award; Evelin Aguilar (Providence, RI), Brayan Guardado (Pawtucket, RI), Cheri Hareter (North Providence, RI), and Christina Price (Rumford, RI) earned Executive Level Awards; and Merissa Daponte (Ashaway, RI) earned a Diplomat Level Award.

Aguilar and Price also earned awards for their case study presentations during the ICDC’s competitive events program. When participating in this 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 placed fourth overall in Financial Accounting while Price finished eighth in Sales Manager Meeting, both earning medals for advancing to the final round. 

Chapter members Jose Fernandez Gomez (Providence, RI) and Sophie Reitz (Cranston, RI) also attended the ICDC, where Orabone won the Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award. 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, and is a two-time winner of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Region 1 Teaching Excellence Award, which she won in 2016 and 2022.

CCRI’s chapter members also participated in a Chapter Leader Training workshop at the ICDC, which focuses on students building a strong DECA chapter on their campus, in addition to a Communication Workshop designed to teach students how to prepare a strong presentation, deliver it with impact, and engage audience participation.

“I’m so proud of this ICDC team,” Orabone said. “My teaching philosophy involves passion, enthusiasm, engagement, and building relationships; my students know that I care about them, their learning, and their success. This helps build a strong relationship, which leads to motivated, successful students.

“I enjoyed watching their self-confidence grow as they participated in all the opportunities that ICDC offered. They worked hard, listened, and incorporated suggestions to improve their presentations and really motivated one another. They are truly a ‘team’ and it was great to see them achieve their dreams.”

Collegiate DECA is a national organization for college students preparing for careers in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship by helping them make informed career choices; fostering high ethical standards in business; encouraging business activity that demonstrates civic, social and moral responsibility; and increasing understanding of and appreciation for the system of free enterprise.

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