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Making My Mark at the ICDC

Explorer C

Before I begin, I wanted to say how honored I am to be doing a guest post for my favorite blog!  I am a freshman in high school, and I am a commercial aviation enthusiast (aka: the crazy people who actually enjoy flying!).





A little over a week ago, I flew down to sunny Anaheim, California for DECA’s ICDC.   DECA (formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a club/association for high school students who are interested in the fields of marketing, management and entrepreneurship. In DECA there are several competitive events, respective to the previously mentioned fields. The events I competed in were Travel and Tourism Management and the International Business Plan event. I placed first in the state competition for the International Business Plan event and was able to attend the ICDC. By the way, ICDC stands for the “International Career Development Conference,” and it is where the best-of-the-best go and compete at the international level!


This conference took place at the Anaheim Convention Center,  and it was amazing! There were multiple companies who were exhibiting there (including Southwest Airlines!) and they were giving away a lot of items! From the Southwest Airlines booth, I got a TON of the famous honey roasted peanuts! I was also able to talk to the people who were working at the booth. There was a really nice Southwest lady,  and we talked for over 30 minutes!   We had a nice discussion about the state of the airline industry, working for Southwest, and she told me a couple of stories about my two favorite people in the industry, Colleen and Herb!


After I finished talking with her, it was time for my team and me to go and compete. My team is comprised of me, Gauri, and Rithvik.   My two team members are outstanding, and I don’t know what I would do without them! I would not have even gone to the ICDC without them! I have learned a lot from them, and they have become my best friends! I was extremely happy to get to know them and it was an honor to work with both of them! I also wanted to say that I have two outstanding advisors, and without them I wouldn't have been able to achieve the success I have had in DECA! Anyways, the competition was extremely tough! We did very well, but we did not place in the top three. 😞


While we did not win by placing in the top three, I still feel that we are winners on many different levels. Throughout this conference I was able to gain knowledge, experience and friendships. What I gained here will help me throughout the rest of my life! At this conference I was able to “make my mark” by learning and using presentation skills in front of highly regarded business professionals, while at the same time adding more names to my contact list! I made a ton of new friends from other states and countries while at the ICDC!


Now the ICDC is over and I am back in school. I hope to take everything I learned from DECA and the ICDC and apply it to the world beyond high school. When I get older I hope to go into airline management, and hopefully get a chance to work for my favorite airline—Southwest! Southwest has had a huge impact on my life, and is one of the reasons why I love the airline industry so much! Ms. Barrett, Mr. Kelleher and all of Southwest’s extremely kind employees have inspired me to want to pursue a career in airline management. I hope to one day work my way up to becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest! (Mr. Kelly, when you are ready to retire, you know who to call!)


Before I finish this post, I wanted to thank Southwest Airlines for helping sponsor DECA, as well as congratulate you guys for serving your first year on the DECA National Advisory Board! It means a lot to me; as well as all of the thousands of DECA members around the world, that you guys are sponsoring us! By sponsoring DECA, Southwest has shown a greater commitment to establishing better leaders for the future!


If any of you are in high school or college (because I know that I’m not the only high school student who is Nuts About Southwest!) I would advise you to join DECA!   You don’t have to want to pursue a career in business; I know several people who want to go into healthcare, acting, and science related fields that are in DECA! Trust me, it will help you!

For more information go to

And for all of my fellow airline geeks out there, if you want to know more about my flight the links to my trip reports are below!



Explorer C
Thanks for sharing your story, Jasspreet! I was in the DECA program in high school and learned a lot about the free enterprise system and business. I owe a lot to my teacher, Mr. O. O. Williams! He had a passion for business that was infectious. I joined Southwest Airlines in 1977, just before the industry was deregulated in 1978. During the past 32 years, I believe part of our success has been people that understand the basics of business. Herb and Colleeen added something else to the equation, which is reflected in our mission statement, "To deliver the highest quality of Customer Service with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit". I sense that you have a bright future ahead of you!
Explorer C
Hi, We're looking to get in contact with Southwest regarding advertising options when you come to Milwaukee. We're sort of new school & figure you might be, hence the posting on the blog. Please have someone get in touch with me. Thanks!