DECA Seniors Attend Leadership Conference

Published October 29, 2018


Southwest Christian High School’s Britta Carlson and Lauren Burke attended the Minnesota DECA Fall Leadership Conference on October 28–29 in downtown Minneapolis. DECA is an internationally-known organization that prepares emerging leaders to be college and career ready. The two seniors are leading the first-year chapter at SWCHS, advised by Ms. Emily Robertson and Ms. Katie Larson.


Senior Britta Carlson transferred to Southwest Christian as a junior. She was previously involved at DECA at her former public school. For the first-year program, it was a no-brainer that the DECA veteran was chosen to be the first SWCHS president. “Britta has shown drive and determination to further her professional skills,” said Advisor Emily Robertson. “She will be a great resource for our students still getting acquainted with DECA. Lauren is also a very driven leader. Our chapter is still learning how to be engaged, successful DECA members, so both of their leadership will help kick-start this new program on campus.”

After attending the two-day conference, here are what both seniors recapped:

Lauren’s Leadership Conference Takeaways

As a senior in the DECA program, I want to make our first year as a chapter an amazing one. During my time at this year’s FLC, I had the opportunity to attend multiple classes and breakout sessions to help me become a better, effective leader and competitor. On Sunday, I was able to focus on how I can fine tune the way I lead and make sure that I’m setting a strong and positive example to the rest of our chapter members. One of our speakers, Patrick Grady, talked about the fact that being a leader is not a spectator sport. Leadership is putting in the effort to show people why they should be listening to you. He also talked about how someone’s attitude is contagious, so “have an attitude you want people to catch.”

Another one of our speakers that really stuck out to me was Rhett Laubach. He talked about having a G.R.E.A.T. plan. This means having a plan that Gels with your beliefs, has Real benefits, is Exact, has Accountability, and needs Tenacity when trying to accomplish it.

My last seminar of the conference focused on the DECA interviewing competition. One thing that really stuck out to me was their encouragement to ask questions at the end of your interview. They emphasized how that preparation sets you apart in the interviewing process. The conference speakers were not only interesting and engaging, but they really made me think and want to grow as a DECA officer. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to represent Southwest Christian in an organization like DECA.

Britta’s Leadership Conference Takeaways

Going to the DECA Fall Leadership Conference made me so excited for DECA this year! As a senior entering my last year of high school, it was so cool to learn even more about professional development in my final year. One thing I learned from the conference this past weekend is how important it is to make connections with people and get to know who I’m working with. Bryan Skavnak, founder of Be the Nice Kid, spoke about meeting someone for the first time. When meeting someone new, he encouraged us to not only find out their name, but actually take the time to get to know them as a person. He also made sure we knew how important it was to always choose kindness and be nice to people, because you never know what can happen if you do.

Another thing we learned was many leadership skills and tips from various speakers. They emphasized things like focusing on others needs before your own, leading by example, learning from your mistakes, and using creative thinking to solve problems. Overall, I gained so much insight into both how to be a better leader and about the professional world.

DECA meets during zero-hour, e-class sessions, and during individual advisor meetings. The chapter will compete at the district competition on Sunday, January 27 at Wayzata High School in hopes of advancing to state competitions in April.