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Member for Life: State DECA director honored by national organization

GLENICE Hall, who lives in rural Rochert with her husband Jon, was recently honored by Collegiate DECA with its Honorary Life Membership Award -- the highest award that DECA can bestow. Hall has been the executive director of the Minnesota Collegiate DECA organization since 1985. A mother of two adult children, Craig and Amie, she and Jon have six grandchildren.

There are some people who just naturally seem born to lead -- but for the rest of us, there are organizations like DECA that help develop the skills and self-confidence necessary for people to emerge as leaders in their chosen career fields.

When Glenice Hall first became involved in Collegiate DECA, as a member of the Fashion Merchandising Program Advisory Board at Detroit Lakes Vocational Institute, she realized pretty early on that she enjoyed helping students at the school develop their leadership skills, and consequently their self-confidence.

"One of the things I did (as an advisory board member) was to help counsel and prepare students for DECA competitions," she said, noting that DECA competitive events are intended to measure "competency in the career areas of marketing, finance, hospitality and management."

So when she later applied and was hired for a position as a fashion merchandising instructor at the DL Vocational Institute, she also became the advisor for the DECA program there.

"I was elected to the state board of directors two years later," she said.

As she and husband Jon began raising their family together, however, Glenice realized that she would prefer to find a job with the flexibility to enable her to attend her children's extracurricular activities.

"My children were getting to the age where they were becoming more involved at school," she said. "I wanted to be able to go to more of their activities."

She learned of an opening for an executive director with the Minnesota branch of Collegiate DECA, and applied.

"I was hired in 1985," she said. "It was a contract position, with no set hours -- I just needed to get the job done."

In addition, it allowed her to continue her association with DECA.

"I firmly believe in the organization," Glenice said.

"I've seen so many people become better because of it," she added -- not just in terms of technical knowledge and leadership skills, but poise and self-confidence.

More than 25 years later, Glenice is still the executive director of Minnesota's Collegiate DECA organization -- and she still loves her job.

"I work with some of the best people," she said. "The (collegiate) advisors are so committed to helping their students, and I appreciate that."

The appreciation is mutual: On April 16, at an International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., Glenice was presented with an Honorary Life Member Award -- the highest award DECA can bestow on an individual.

Though she had known about the award presentation for a couple of months prior to the conference, Glenice said she was "very surprised" when she learned that she had been nominated.

"I didn't know anything about it until I had already been nominated," she said, adding that one of the DECA board members had told her about it in February.

"I was very honored," she said -- but she is equally honored to continue serving DECA.

"It's an honor to work for an organization that's truly meaningful, and does help people," said Glenice.

"In education today, people are given a lot of knowledge -- but unless you can take that knowledge and apply it to something (constructive), it doesn't do much good."

That's where DECA comes in, she added. "We're helping students to become focused on and ready to start their careers."

Part of that focus is helping students to learn where their strengths lie -- as well as how to listen to others whose strengths lie in other areas.

"A lot of people want to be a leader, but don't want to be a team player," but DECA teaches students how to do both, she added.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

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