Cleary UniversityStudent Life

Cleary University students earn international awards


(HOWELL, MI) At its first international DECA Career Development Conference awards competition, Cleary University brought home three grand awards!

Undergraduate students Libby Cook and Chelsea Hendra received “Top 10 in Business-to-Business Marketing” honors – the only award recipients from Michigan, and Michael Lloyd captured third place in Entrepreneurship Operations – one of two award winners from the state.

Cook, a junior from Brighton, is a Digital Marketing major who also is on the university’s soccer team. Hendra, a junior from Australia, is a Project Management major who also plays soccer for Cleary. Lloyd, a graduate student from Ypsilanti, is working toward his MBA in Strategic Leadership.

Pictured, from left: Cleary University students, Alexandria Zimmerman, Anna Clark, Libby Cook, Michael Lloyd, Chelsea Hendra, Kara Donaldson, Juliana Pachon and Ben Hibbard.

“This year’s DECA theme was ‘Maximize Your Momentum,’ and our students proudly demonstrated that theme through their work and presentations,” announces Kelly Genei, associate professor at Cleary University who oversees the DECA program. “The Cleary Mind Initiative truly was what gave our students the leading edge in this competition,” Genei adds. “This was the university’s first time competing, and I am so proud that five students were named finalists.

“The entire group of DECA members are exceptional students,” Genei points out. “DECA requires not only advanced knowledge of the field in which the students are participating, but also offers important soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills. This was the first year in DECA for Libby, Chelsea and Michael, and to make it this far is an incredible achievement!”

To compete, students were given a case study in their chosen category. They have approximately one hour to present their plan and strategy to a judge who evaluates the plan based on certain performance indicators such as knowledge relevant to the case study, problem solving skills, communication skills, creativity and overall professionalism.

DECA prepares college and high school emerging leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the world for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Its collegiate competitive events program allows students to test their experience, skills and knowledge while representing their university. They compete for top international honors in one of 25 different categories. Business and industrial leaders serve as judges for the competition.

Cleary established its DECA program one year ago. It is comprised of 14 members and “we are very excited to see it growing so rapidly and with such great achievements in less than a year,” Genei continues. “The DECA competitive categories fit perfectly with the concentrations offered at Cleary, and their focus on problem solving, communication and leadership skills are exactly what we try to develop with the Cleary Mind.”

The Cleary Mind is comprised of these eight key elements: critical thinking, problem solving, creative thinking, communications, persuasion, entrepreneurship, leadership and ethics.