ICDC 2023

Orlando, Florida– From Friday, April 21st, 2023 to Wednesday, April 26, 2023, over forty members of the Harker DECA chapter traveled to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) with hopes of bringing home some coveted DECA glass. Throughout the six days at the conference, chapter members had the opportunity to display their skills by representing California DECA in their competitive events while simultaneously creating friendships with other likeminded, ambitious students from all over the world.

“ICDC was truly as unique experience where I got to meet new people and network with people across the globe!” said Harker DECA’s 2023-2024 VP of Public Relations Gabriel Jacob Li (10).

Throughout the conference, chapter members explored Orlando, visited Disney’s Epcot Park and Universal Studios, and competed in their events. Harker DECA was extremely successful, having multiple teams placed in the Top 5, including Entreprenership Team Decsion Making and Franchise Business Plan.

Finalists are as follows:

5th Place

  • Emily Mitnick, Gia Emelie (10), Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
  • Saahira Dayal (10), Automobile Services Marketing 
  • Yena Yu, Amishi Gupta, Aashvi Ravi (9), Franchise Business Plan

6th Place

  • Chloe Lee, Cynthia Wang, Shreeya Merchia (11), Integrated Marketing Campaign- Service

7th Place

  • Andy Chung, Nelson Gou, Marcus Blennemann (10), Independent Business Plan

10th Place

  • Andrew Au, Edward Huang (11), Virtual Business Challenge- Accounting

Top 20

  • Tanvi Sivakumar (9), Financial Consulting

On Friday, April 21st, Harker DECA gathered at the San Jose Airport to fly to the Orlando International Airport with a quick layover in Chicago. They arrived late at night and made their way to the Hilton Orlando where they checked into their rooms for a restful night. 

Saturday began with an opportunity for Harker DECA to enjoy Disneyworld’s Epcot to kick off the conference. Students explored Orlando and networked with peers before heading to the Opening Ceremonies in the evening. DECA gifted each attendee a bag that contained sunglasses, a hat, pins, and lights, that were each personalized to a chapter’s home state. Prior to the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies, attendees enjoyed networking and trading their home pins with other states to collect a variety.

“ICDC was an amazing opportunity because I was able to meet so many new people from different states by trading pins with them and also bond with members of the Harker DECA chapter.” said Harker DECA’s 2023-2024 Director of Finance, Tanvi Sivakumar.

The next morning kicked off the start of competitive events where competitors took their cluster exams and competed in preliminary rounds at the Orange County Convention Center. After these events, Harker DECA enjoyed some free time.

Monday morning continued the preliminary competitions for roleplays and Emerging Leader courses. Participants also visited the exhibitor hall, which contained different booths highlighting entrepreneurship-related corporations and colleges like. Later that evening, Harker DECA visited Universal Studios for DECA night to unwind from a day of competitions. 

Tuesday, the last day of the conference, began early with the Achievement Awards Session for attendees to find out whether they would move on to the final round of competition. The top 20 teams in each competitive event would progress to the next round for the chance to win some DECA glass for their state. Seven exceptional Harker DECA teams were called up on stage and recognized as the top performers across the world in their categories to compete later that day. Following the Achievement Awards Session, those finalists competed in the last round of competition while others had free time to complete homework, lounge by the pool, and network with their peers. In the evening, Harker DECA walked together to the Orange County Convention Center for the last time to the Grand Awards Sessions and took a chapter picture. At the Closing Session, top 10 finalists in competitive events were recognized, with Harker DECA sending up 6 teams on stage. 

“Being called up onstage, representing Harker and California, was a surreal experience,” said Gia Emelie, finalist for Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making (10). “Knowing that my chapter was cheering my partner and me on in the audience made the experience so much better.”

After the Grand Awards Session, California DECA met back at the Hilton Orlando for a late dinner to celebrate the success of the state and recognize the winners. Each finalist had the chance to go on stage and announce their event, school, and placement so California could appreciate their hard work. The night concluded with one final chapter meeting before students returned to their rooms for the night to pack their bags.

Wednesday morning, Harker DECA made their way to the Orlando International Airport to say goodbye to Florida one last time before boarding a plane back to San Jose. 

“It was new and exciting for me to take charge as the CEO! Throughout the conference, I was able to get to know some of the new officers and freshmen more than before. I tried my best to be transparent and proactive to make sure that they felt comfortable reaching out to me for anything. Building trust and becoming a fun, reliable CEO is my top priority.” said Harker DECA’s 23-24 Co-CEO and 22-23 VP of Operations, Chloe Lee (11).