Almost 500 California DECA members attended the 10th Annual California Leadership and Competitive Excellence Conference (LACE) this past month in San Jose. Originally a Silicon Valley-exclusive event, the conference expanded to NorCal and SoCal DECA chapters for the first time this year.
The conference began with the Opening Ceremony as members were welcomed by the SVDAT officers. The keynote speaker for the night was Scott Greenberg, a renowned entrepreneur who helped to build the Edible Arrangements franchise into one of the top grossing operations in California. Greenberg gave an entertaining speech about mental barriers and allowed audience members to interact with one another.
The next morning was kicked off by keynote speaker Chef Jeff Henderson, a former felon who turned his life around to become the head chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Henderson discussed his past experiences, as well as the importance of second chances and the ability to change.
Up next was a round of competitive event workshops featuring ICDC champions and experienced competitors who shared their tips for success. This was followed by industry presentations from professionals in finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, and fashion who shared stories about their journeys to success in order to help attendees see how they too can own their futures. After the conclusion of the industry presentation, students attended the “DECA Difference in College” workshop, in which DECA alumni shared the impact DECA has had on their lives and college careers. Helpful Q&A topics ranged from using DECA on college applications to how DECA can help determine your major.
The next event was the makeover session where cosmetic professionals helped attendees learn how to perfectly apply the latest styles. A few individuals were even selected for a full makeover!
This led into the annual LACE Fashion Show. Models wore clothing sponsored by Group USA and Men’s Wearhouse, and also performed a 90-second act in which they danced, lip-synced, or sang, with the best performance winning a prize. The night concluded with the DECA dance where members were able to dance, play video games, and relax.
The conference ended on day two as previous California DECA president, ICDC winner, and current Harvard student, Albert Zeng, gave the final keynote address, sharing how DECA has impacted his life.
Silicon Valley DECA President Wenhan Fang said, “The conference ran smoothly, and we are very proud of how happy the attendees seemed with the experience. I think that for new members and old, California LACE 2016 will be an experience to remember.”