Conference Recap Series: DECEM
There are many great conferences and events within the Ted Rogers School of Management and its various student groups. With this series, we look to sit-in on events and recap some of them to showcase the value of attending them. Our first blog in this series will be on DECEM, DECA Ryerson’s conference filled with keynote speakers, workshops and goodies. Let’s get to it!
The DECA Ryerson team did a great job of connecting with great sponsors to provide attendees great opportunities, as well as cool stuff to take home! Sponsors for the conference include DECA, CPA, Costco, Longos, Kernels, DMZ, Mondelez International and Rally the Locals.
Varying from all years of study and programs, DECA delegates developed their case presentation skills and attended workshops to further their professional development. Attendees competed in a variety of categories that they prepared themselves for in bi-weekly Delegate Development sessions. They competed in a variety of categories, including Business to Business, Travel Management, Marketing Management, Management Consulting, Business Law, and so many more!
There were many amazing workshops, here are the highlights of a few!
Building and Sustaining Relationships: A Guide to Virtual Networking from Erik Nguyen was a great guide to connecting with professionals. He taught the importance of confidence, and how confidence comes overtime from our reaction to failure, which is always a learning opportunity.
He went into how introverts and extroverts network differently, making a great first impression by dressing to impress, and allowing time for others to speak when networking. My key takeaway was to showcase your own personal brand, as it will be the most memorable aspect of your networking event, coffee chat or conversation.
Building your Confidence: How to Position Yourself for Virtual Interviews from Tony Bagnato helped prepare students for their virtual interviews, which is a very tangible skill. His workshop was very engaging with his use of polls to assess the confidence of the participants, breakout rooms to apply learned concepts, providing actionable feedback.
He taught participants to never undersell their skills, so that they can communicate their strengths. Through role playing for interview questions, attendees structured their answers through the CARL framework, which helped students practice for their virtual interviews and gain the confidence to apply their experiences.
New Tools of Trade: Essential Skills to Learn in Undergrad to Future Proof Yourself from Aquid Fiaz was informative about relevant skills to have as the work environment changes. He highlighted workplace disruptions, and how the gig economy will make up a larger portion of work, and the impact social change has on company strategy.
His emphasis on important technical skills, such as data analysis, will be useful to have as work evolves. Being innovative, adaptable, and having great communication along with emotional intelligence help show personal value. And by always learning outside of the classroom, students can enhance their skills and differentiate themselves.
Pursuing Passion Projects: A New Type of Entrepreneurship from Chris Hoquis was very interactive, conversational and self-reflective. His panel of local business owners discussed challenges starting their businesses. Despite the fear of doubt from friends and family, or their idea being stolen, they showed that everyone can start a passion project.
By writing down their passions, fears and ideas, attendees were able to better understand their ideas. By finding others with similar interests, it can help open up your ideas and find people to collaborate with. Chris inspired everyone to recognize the potential of their ideas and expand their perspectives, to develop their dream business.
Keep Moving and Staying Positive: Essentials for Post-Pandemic Success by Bola Otaraki set a great tone for the end of the event, with the theme reflecting a valuable skill to learn, positive thinking.
By reflecting on her high and low points, Bola showed how positive thinking helped through her toughest situations. Her keynote was laced with analogies such as “Staying inside a garage for a week doesn’t make you a car”, symbolizing how we are more than the situations we are in.
She provided studies that showed positive thinking led to a longer lifespan and lower possibility of depression, and it scientifically leads to better psychological health, even more resistance to the common cold. By choosing who and what we allow in our life, listing things we love about ourselves, we can align our positive thoughts to actions and manifest them into our life.
Positive thinking allows us to reinvent ourselves through difficult times, and Bola’s experiences helped show the importance of positive thinking moving forward.
DECA Ryerson’s DECEM Conference was a great conference with great opportunities to learn and implement case-cutting skills developed through the year for its delegates. Its workshops and keynotes were inspiring and taught attendees many important skills for their professional careers. As DECA prepares its delegates for Nationals, make sure to participate in future DECA events, as I recommend everyone pursue this valuable experience. DECA is a great way to cut cases, build presentation skills, and attending their conferences is the best way to do it!
By: Sukhman Basi