During this year's Collegiate DECA ICDC in Orlando, DECA members selected the leaders that will serve during the upcoming school year. As they prepare for the next year, discover more about who they are and where they come from.
Read on to learn about the 2023-2024 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team!
Describe yourself in three words.
Denise: Ambitious, Creative, Empathetic
Emma: Thoughtful, Diligent, Observant
Maryam: Ambitious, Optimistic, Sincere
Matthew: Outgoing, Energetic, Motivated
What's your all-time favorite DECA memory?
Denise: I've had so many incredible experiences in DECA, but my all-time favorite memory is when my team won the election. It was an incredibly emotional and rewarding experience, as we had put so much time and effort into our campaigns and worked tirelessly to earn the trust and support of our fellow members. Hearing our names announced and knowing that we had earned the trust and support of our peers was truly indescribable. That moment is one that I will always cherish and look back on with pride and gratitude.
Emma: This past CDECA ICDC in Orlando was one for the books! Being able to meet everyone that I had been communicating with online, as well as dozens of new people, was absolutely amazing.
Maryam: My all-time favorite DECA memory was setting up for the Oklahoma Fall Leadership Conference as a state officer. It was so much fun bonding with the team, staff and volunteers, making jokes and talking as we set up the conference area and practiced presenting our workshops.
Matthew: My favorite DECA memory was this past ICDC, not one specific point but everything about it. I had the opportunity to meet so many new people and hear so many different stories. It was a life-changing experience.
What’s a DECA-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
Denise: One DECA-related accomplishment I'm proud of is organizing and executing a successful fundraising campaign for a local charity. Our chapter wanted to give back to the community and make a positive impact, so we came up with the idea to host a fundraising event. The event was a huge success, raising over five hundred dollars for the charity and attracting a large crowd of supporters from the community. Seeing the impact that we were able to make through our hard work and dedication was incredibly rewarding, and it's something that I'll always look back on with pride.
Emma: I'm extremely proud of the fact that I was able to establish my own Collegiate DECA chapter at the University of Tennessee. At a school with nearly 30,000 students, finding support for these endeavors from faculty and staff is often challenging. Establishing my chapter was not easy, but it was worth it.
Maryam: I’m proud of starting a DECA chapter at the University of Oklahoma. While it wasn't easy, seeing others’ enthusiasm toward the organization and its development thus far has been amazing. The most rewarding part is when someone tells me they're excited to join again next year and attend conferences and events!
Matthew: A DECA accomplishment I’m proud of is Scottsdale Community College Collegiate DECA being honored as SCC 2022-2023 Club of the Year by the Office of Student Experience and Leadership. I know how hard we all worked, so it makes me proud to see that SCC DECA will be set up for success for years to come.
What are you studying in school?
Denise: Marketing with a focus on Digital Marketing and Analytics.
Emma: Secondary Social Science Education with a focus in History, with the intent to pursue a Master's degree in Educational Administration.
Maryam: Computer Science with a minor in Marketing.
Matthew: Business for a bachelor's in Business Communications.
What inspires you?
Denise: Watching people who have overcome incredible challenges to achieve their goals. Whether it's someone who has come from a disadvantaged background and worked hard to build a successful career or someone who has faced a significant setback and found the resilience to keep going, I find these stories incredibly inspiring. They remind us of the power of determination, hard work and perseverance and show me that anything is possible with the right mindset and support. These stories inspire me to set ambitious goals for myself, to work hard and never give up, and to be a source of encouragement and support for others facing their challenges.
Emma: Simply put, people inspire me. Everyone has a unique story, whether it's my closest friends or random strangers. These stories reveal obstacles to overcome, challenges faced and dreams in the making.
Maryam: What inspires me the most is seeing the hard work and leadership of those around me as they do what they are passionate about. Seeing someone love something so much that they pour their heart and effort into doing it well is admirable and inspires me to do the same.
Matthew: One of my biggest inspirations will always be my friends, they’re constantly pushing me to put my best foot forward and helping me in every way they can.
How do you stay motivated?
Denise: When I lack motivation, I change my environment to help me refocus. Sometimes this means moving to a different workspace or simply adjusting the lighting. I also make a conscious effort to eliminate any distractions hindering my productivity, like turning off my phone or logging out of social media. When I take breaks, I like to do something that engages my mind differently, such as painting or working on a puzzle. This helps me return to my task with a fresh perspective. Finally, I practice positive self-talk and remind myself of my past successes. This allows me to build confidence and stay motivated even in the face of challenges.
Emma: Staying motivated can be challenging. When I lack motivation, I remind myself why I'm here in the first place. I remind myself of my goals and what it takes to achieve them. Whether it's within DECA, or even academics, revisiting my "why" helps me to get back on track.
Maryam: Lacking motivation can often stem from stress and burnout. If I feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, I try to reset by taking a break and having a quick change of environment. I’ll go on a walk or spend time with friends and then return prepared to accomplish things again!
Matthew: To stay motivated, I try not to do everything at once and procrastinate to avoid burnout, but when I need to reset, I’ll go for a long drive and blast music.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Denise: Peace Be Unto You by Asake
Emma: Mr. Loverman by Ricky Montgomery
Maryam: Come Inside Of My Heart by IV of Spades
Matthew: Same Boat by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett
If you got a free vacation anywhere, where would you go?
Denise: I would choose Jerusalem. The city's rich religious history and significance make it a truly unique and inspiring destination. As someone who values spirituality and cultural experiences, visiting Jerusalem’s holy sites would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am also fascinated by the city's diverse and complex history and would love to explore its architecture, cuisine and traditions.
Emma: Rome, Italy. I'd love to see the ruins, art and architecture there!
Maryam: I would go to Egypt! Egypt has some of the most beautiful beaches and rich history, but most importantly, my family lives there, so I would get to visit!
Matthew: If I got a free vacation, I would go to Japan, it looks like such an amazing place with such a rich culture that I’d love to experience.
Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
Denise: If I could swap places with any fictional character for a day, it would be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. I've always been fascinated by the Regency era, and I would love to experience what it was like to live during that time period. Elizabeth is also such a strong, witty and independent character, and I would love to see the world from her perspective and experience her interactions with other characters. Plus, I would spend a day with Mr. Darcy, which would be quite an adventure!
Emma: I would most like to swap places with Elon Musk for a day. I'd love to see what a day looks like for a man worth 178 billion!
Maryam: If I could swap places with anyone for a day, it would be Barbara Corcoran. Her story of success is inspiring, and I’d love to get a firsthand look at how she manages her time, makes important business decisions and interacts with her team. Also, who wouldn't want to get a behind-the-scenes of Shark Tank?!
Matthew: I would swap places with Iron Man because flying around in a metal suit would be fun.
What is your go-to comfort book/tv series/movie?
Denise: When I need comfort or inspiration, I always read the book 'Faith Still Moves Mountains' by Harris Faulkner.
Emma: I often rewatch the Naruto series and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You!
Maryam: My go-to tv show is Hospital Playlist.
Matthew: My go-to tv show is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s so funny at every point and can always bring my mood up.