Marietta, Georgia, February 4, 2020Life University (LIFE) was one of the sponsors of the Georgia DECA State Career Development Conference January 30-February 1, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. LIFE Adjunct Professor of Business Dr. Marla Thompson, Assistant Professor of Business and Business Program Coordinator Marie A. Powell and Assistant Professor of Business Ronald G. Ware also gave presentations on leadership during the three-day event.

Left to right: Dr. Marla Thompson, Patrina Smalls, Professor Ronald Ware, Professor Marie Powell.

This was the first year that Life University sponsored the conference, which provided an opportunity for students from around Georgia to compete among the best in the state in the competitive events program and executive officer elections. Students also participated in leadership workshops and trainings.

DECA Inc., formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit career and technical student organization with more than 228,000 members in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and five international countries. Its mission is to prepare high school and college students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Powell’s presentation, “Marketing: The Blue Ocean Effect,” described a theory that categorizes current industries as “red oceans” and potential future industries as “blue oceans.” The concept allows students to think more creatively, Powell said.

“Companies are looking for people to come up with innovative ideas beyond just thinking about what’s happening with competition,” Powell said. “Businesses want employees to be much more innovative and to really find out what’s missing from the marketplace.”

Dr. Thompson’s presentation, “Mainstream to Magnificent,” concentrated on authentic assessments of performance in which individuals demonstrate their skills and knowledge. She used popular examples like Shark Tank, the NCAA’s March Madness tournament and the Super Bowl.

Ware said he was initially interested in participating in the DECA conference because his daughter was a member of the organization for three years during high school. His presentation, “Leadership Today and Beyond,” focused on the attributes and behaviors that successful leaders share and on how people experience leadership.

LIFE Admissions Counselor Patrina Smalls spearheaded the University’s involvement with the DECA conference. She said the convention was an opportunity to speak with high school students about why LIFE is a good place for young entrepreneurs to pursue a business degree.

“I talk to high school students all over Georgia and a common theme is wanting to start their own businesses,” Smalls said. “Life University is more affordable than other universities in Georgia and has a much smaller class size of 15 students.”

Life University offers 15 undergraduate degree programs, including a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Three graduate degrees are also available in the fields of sport health science, clinical nutrition and positive psychology. LIFE is home to the world’s largest single-campus Doctor of Chiropractic program.

To learn more about Life University’s academic programs, visit

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