May 08, 2012


Rob Erskine, class of 2012
Rob Erskine recieveing first place in web design
Graphic Design & Digital Media Major 2012

The only thing worse then getting up at 5am to catch a flight is a two-hour layover in Detroit.  Luckily, these were the only low points we had on the entire 2012 DECA International Career Development Conference trip in Salt Lake City.

Utah Jazz
Actually, there were a few very high points on the trip; going to a Utah Jazz( game, hearing an inspirational speech from the Jazz’s announcer, attending a few awesome seminars, and ultimately taking first in the web design competition for the second year in a row, but more on that later.

After we touched down in the Little America Hotel ( in Utah we were fortunate enough to get courtside seats a few hours early for a really insightful speech from Thurl Bailey, a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz. Bailey had the whole arena glued to every word he said as he described his upraising, and his love of basketball. Bailey was able to connect his passion for basketball into an equally passionate post basketball career. He really illustrated that it’s important to love what you do, and I couldn’t agree more with him.

Social Market Mantra
The conference also showcased some excellent speakers. I know for my track in Communications and Technology, we had Mrs. Shilpa Gauba, President of Social Market Mantra(, give some awesome tips on promoting yourself and others through social media. Did you know that if someone follows you on twitter, it’s polite to follow him or her back? Also, if your linkedin profile isn’t 100% complete, you’re missing out on potential employers being able to find you?

After the seminar, we broke out into teams for a quick workshop. Mrs. Gauba threw out real world situations and had our groups solve them through the use of creative social media marketing. It was an engaging experience that really helped me understand how to professionally use social media.

Web Site Competition
Now on to the competition part: the web design and development competition was a prepared event in which I had to build an ecommerce website and market it in a role-play to a few judges. Even though this was a prepared event, and of course I had months to prepare, I was preoccupied with the Johnson & Wales Advertising team( So I literally built my entire project and campaign the weekend we were in Salt Lake City. Not to worry though, I had a solid idea in my head, and the JWU determination to get it all done.

I was surprised how many teams were competing this year. The small competitive briefing room we were in was packed with teams from Canada, Mexico, and twenty-six other states. I was able to mingle with a few of the teams, but as soon as the briefing was over I went straight back to my room to prepare for the first round of competition.

The next morning I presented for the first time in front of two judges (whom I later found out were a Stock Investor and TJ Max Marketing Officer) who really grilled me throughout the presentation. The total time allotted for the presentation was twenty-five minutes, so I was really worried that all the questions would set me over. I ended up asking if they could hold their questions to end, which from their judge feedback sheet I could tell they really despised. Overall my case couldn’t have been bad, as I made the top ten stage the next morning.

After the top ten awards I went to refine my presentation and iron out the kinks I had found during the first presentation. The second time around, when I presented to only one judge (who I later found out was a senior marketing director at ServPro (, was absolutely blown away by my product. At the end I asked her if she would be willing to sign a contract today (remember, this was a role play), and she said absolutely. She signed on the dotted line as my sole investor, prepared to front my expedition for $250,000.

That night my name was announced last as one of the top six competitors, which honestly was the most nerve-racking part of the competition. After the 3rd place and 2nd place teams were announced, I knew I had a pretty good shot at being called first. Hearing the crowd erupt when they prefaced the announcement of the 1st place winner with “from Johnson & Wales University…” was such an awesome moment. My experience in not only design and development, but also my ability to advertise and market my site really gave me the competitive edge I needed to win.


By: Samantha Sabal
Advertising 2012

Day 1:
It was April 21st and we arrived to Salt Lake City late Friday the night before ready to explore, challenge ourselves through tests and presentations, but most of all ready to bring home some medals! We all prepared hard through training by student trainers and help from our great faculty advisors, Michelle Morin and Tony Fruzetti. DECA had some great events planned for the next few days, and our first official day with DECA they had an opening ceremony at the Energy Solutions Arena and even tickets to come back that evening to go to the Utah Jazz basketball game.
Day 2:                                                
The next day we attended meetings on our different events to find out when we will present, as well as listen to people who work within the business of our interest. However, within my category, Advertising Campaigns, a prepared event, you needed to hand in your final document/paper for the judges to review before your presentations the following day. We found out that it needed to be done by 3PM and we were nowhere near ready to hand it in. A few other groups found themselves in the same position as us and had tons of work to do for their project as well. As I sat in and listened to the great speakers, my partner, Sam, had to rush to our room to finish the last touches to our project. Luckily we were about to get it printed and handed it in just in time.
Day 3:
The next day we had our first presentation to the judges at 10:10 AM. We were nervous and weren’t sure how prepared we were, even though we were working on the project day and night for weeks. We went in the presentation room, introduced ourselves and set up. I was making the opening statements to the presentation, and I completely blanked. I had no idea what to say for about 30 seconds. My heart started racing, and I just said blurted out the first thing I could say. Overall our presentation was okay. We didn’t feel that confident, but we knew no matter what we would enjoy the rest of our trip. Later that day, we had a wonderful lunch at a local cafĂ© called Blue Lemon. It offered ‘pure clean food, with a twist.’ It was right near the City Creek mall, which is one of the most beautiful outdoor malls I have ever seen. While walking around the city, we also saw Temple Square, Utah’s most popular tourist destination. It is the world headquarters of the Mormon culture and is absolutely beautiful. They had beautiful flowerbeds and trees, as well as large and small fountains everywhere. We also talked to some of the individuals who worked there, and they described to us what the Mormon beliefs and about their religious practices.
Day 4:
After the announcement of Top 12 finalists
From Left to Right: Samantha Wilber, Professor Michelle Morin, and Samantha Sabal
After waiting patiently all evening, the next morning we were heading to the preliminary awards session to see who made it to the final round. For the case studies, those who scored the highest both in test and in the role play were brought to stage and awarded medals for their great work, but only 12 move on to the final round. When the Advertising campaigns category was announced Sam and I got so nervous. We held each other’s clammy hands and Sam counted how many groups or participants were called until we would hear our names. We were called second to last, completely nervous! We screamed so hard and jump like lunatics! I even fell over when our names was called I was so excited! We ran towards the stage and didn’t even receive our medals until they were already starting the next category. We ran in the hallway celebrating to find out what time we would be presenting again in front of more judges. 3:10 PM, perfect to prepare and get us ready to dominate! We fixed the points that our previous judges mentioned in our first presentation, and then met up with Michelle Morin for some last minute tips on what we should say during the presentation. Our presentation went amazing! The judges were really impressed and even signed our ‘contracts’ as if we were in a real meeting and signing to do a deal with the company. We were so excited and ready to hear the results later that night. So we enjoyed the rest of the day by the pool. 14 of our members from the Johnson and Wales chapter made it within the final round. Later that night 13 of us got called back on stage, along with some 3rd place and 1st place winners! Sam and I made it to the top ten for the second year in a row and we were really excited about our great accomplishment.

May 07, 2012

Grassroots Soccer Tournament

Sebastian Annderson
International Business 2012

On April 13th, 45 students at JWU all made the trip to the Harborside campus to compete in a 3v3 Grassroot Soccer tournament. Grassroot is an organization based in Africa. Their mission is to educate children in Africa about HIV and AIDS. As we all know, the deadly decease is spreading rapidly in Africa. By participating in the soccer tournament we all helped Grassroot in their work.

To participate in the tournament all players had to donate either $10 or $20 to Grassroot. For $20 the player was also given a Nike/Grassroot Dri-fit shirt. We expected 30 players to play but ended up with 45 players in 15 different teams. The players’ donations and donations from students who did not play added up to $580.  That money will educate 23 children in Africa about HIV and AIDS.

The Delaney Gym was full of people playing soccer. There were always three games going on simultaneously. The players used the walls on the side to make the game quicker and we used small goals and no goalkeepers. The games were also being played without referees to encourage players to be honest and fair.

When players were not playing games it was great to see students interact with students they had not met before. It was a melting pot of students from all over the world, there were about 15 nationalities represented. The common interest in soccer made people bond and talk about players and teams. Hopefully some students found new friends when they were networking.

As the group stage ended there were times to see who made it to the semifinals. All group winners and the runner up with the most points all made it to the playoffs. Some of the students who did not make it were exhausted after playing several games and left the gymnasium. Others decided to stick around to watch the last games of the tournament. The first semifinal was a matchup between Team Sweden and Free Agent Team 2. A free agent team is a team consisting of players who registered without having a team, meaning they did not know each other beforehand. It is impressive that they made it that far.

The second semifinal was played between Sheep’s Wool and Guasal FC. It was a close game but Guasal FC came out as winners with the result 2-1. The first semifinal was not a close one, the final score was 10-1 to Team Sweden.

The final was therefore played between Team Sweden and Guasal FC. Guasal FC had used four players throughout the tournament so they were more rested, they were also more technically skilled players. Team Sweden played physical and well as a team. The latter proved to be better. Team Sweden won the final with 2-0. Team Sweden won the t-shirts and mugs the JWU bookstore had generously donated to the winning team. The game for 3rd place was won by Sheep’s Wool.

The top three teams were:
1.Team Sweden (Sebastian Andersson, Lukas Samuelsson, Johannes Hertzberg)
2. Guasal FC (Marco Cader, Moises Cuellar, Diego Maldonado, Diego Bosch)
3. Sheep’s Wool (Noel Bulson, Kyle Metz, Henry McKenna)