John Fistolera, DECA Inc.

In this Army Advocate spotlight video, John Fistolera, Assistant Executive Director of Corporate and External Affairs of DECA Inc., discusses how his organization prepares students to become emerging leaders, and how the U.S. Army is an ideal partner to help achieve this objective.


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DECA is part of a national education and economic strategy that's designed to make sure that the national economy workforce is well trained and prepared. The critical importance of what DECA does is that it connects learning to the real world. It could be direct employment. It could be an internship. It could be a community service project.

One of the areas that we develop our student leaders is at our Emerging Leaders Summit, sponsored by the United States Army. And we bring chapter and state leaders, student leaders, together to learn from each other, to learn from the United States Army and its example of leadership, and to prepare a program of leadership that they take back to their states.

At DECA's International Career Development Conference, we have a career exhibit booth. What the Army is showing them and telling them is that students need to be mentally agile, adaptable to the rapid changes of the work force and the world.

At the conference, the Army is a major sponsor of DECA's community service activity, a 5k fun run walk. I absolutely believe that physical fitness is critical to our students' success.

 As a result of their participation in DECA they will be academically prepared. They will be professionally responsible. They will be community oriented. But, one of our chief learning outcomes is that they will be experienced leaders.

I couldn't imagine a more dynamic leader to partner with in developing future leaders than the United States Army.