Learn More About Your 2024-2025 Collegiate DECA Executive Officers

May 28, 2024

During this year's Collegiate DECA ICDC in Austin, 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 2024-2025 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team!

If your friends had to describe you in one word, what would it be?

Eric: Ambitious

James: Virtuous

Samer: Hyperactive

Sophia: Resilient

Why did you join DECA? Why did you stay?

Eric: In 2021, two of my friends called me up, asking to be the third person on their DECA team. I had no idea what DECA was or what it would do for me at the time. There are many moments in my life that I look back on with certainty that I made the right decision - and joining their team was one of them. Four years, a first-place win and becoming the Collegiate DECA president later, this organization has done more for me than I ever thought it would. I stayed because it felt like home from the start. DECA has been the place where I can be myself, lead other like-minded individuals and learn a thing or two every time I go to a conference. This organization has given me so much, and I cannot wait to give back to it this upcoming year.

James: I joined DECA because of a friend, and I stayed because of the friends I made. But it was more than just the people I met; DECA taught me how to be a leader and a follower. These skills have allowed me to be successful in many roles outside of DECA, and I believe my continued involvement in DECA will help me continue to grow my leadership skills.

Samer: I joined because I needed more professional/leadership skills before 2016 and wanted to leave my comfort zone. After my high school years, I continued to stay even until now because I love expanding my network each year with professionals and students worldwide. After multiple conferences and collaborations, I want to give back to help the next generation of leaders enjoy DECA as much as I did, if not even better.

Sophia: I joined DECA "on accident" in the high school division. My mom founded and owned a local marketing studio, and I was interested in learning more about her work. I joined the marketing class at my high school during my freshman year, and DECA was integrated into it! I ended up staying for these past eight years because of the amazing network I have built and the life-changing opportunities I have been given throughout my time in the organization, including the opportunity to serve our division this upcoming year.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with DECA this upcoming year?

Eric: Over the past year as chapter president at Butler University, I have gotten to know and learn more about so many other people from my home campus. Now, as your Collegiate DECA President, I look forward to serving and connecting with our over 4,000 members internationally. Being able to individually work with members, chapters and associations is something that I am excited to do this year. In addition, working with our division leaders to improve and grow our membership from within will be a fun task ahead.

James: I look forward to working with the various associations and chapter leaders to help them grow their chapters and grow Collegiate DECA. The people you meet are always the best part of this organization, so I am excited that this role allows me to meet as many CDECA members as possible!

Samer: As a Collegiate DECA Vice President, I'm looking forward to not only leading over 4,000 members but also being a resource to help members and associations grow as future leaders. I am also excited to collaborate with both the high school and collegiate divisions in hopes of bridging the gap and unifying the community as a whole.

Sophia: As a Collegiate DECA Vice President this upcoming year, I highly anticipate collaborating with association officer teams. Drawing from my experience as the 2023-2024 Arizona Association President, I understand the necessity of engaging with fellow officers in planning conferences and hope to make the resources we have more accessible. My goal is to assist associations in hosting successful events, fostering growth, listening to their experiences and learning from their successes. I aim to help facilitate the implementation of their ideas across chapters or associations, which will lead to the overall continued success of our division. Ensuring that all voices are heard is very important to me, as it fosters inclusivity and a sense of unity.

What is your dream career?

Eric: For years, I have been fascinated with food and travel. I have traveled all over the country and other parts of the world while consuming amazing food. Walking out of college with a degree in both marketing and finance gives me some options. I would love to work somewhere that allows me to do marketing within an airline company or a restaurant organization. I don’t know where I will end up yet, but DECA has been a big help in preparing me for whatever dream career I end up in.

James: My dream career is to serve my nation through business action, community leadership and political involvement. I have always been passionate about service and helping others live better lives. I aim to do that through my work as a leader in my community.

Samer: My dream career combines Digital Forensics with Graphic Design. For many years, I have enjoyed creating digital designs and graphics for myself and other organizations. At the same time, I see a huge need for cybersecurity and want to make the internet a safer place.

Sophia: I have always wanted to be a lawyer! I hope to work in labor law. I will attend law school after my term as a Collegiate DECA Vice President and am currently studying for the LSAT.

How do you stay motivated?

Eric: The best way for me to stay motivated is to find an upbeat playlist. I always play music that picks up my mood when I am feeling down, and sometimes, it helps to blast some music in the car with the windows down while running to grab a snack from the gas station. Simple things to celebrate my work always help, and even remembering the “whys” of what I am doing helps, too.

James: I am driven by a mission and a duty to who and what I love and, of course, my faith. Even when I go through very difficult times, I find peace in my faith and drive in what I know I must do. There is a lot of work to be done that only I can do, and so I must get up and fulfill my duties no matter what.

Samer: What keeps me motivated is remembering the purpose of my work and the support of my friends and family. Especially when things get overwhelming, I remind myself of the long-term goal I placed on myself and that everything will be ok.

Sophia: To stay motivated, I stay engaged in what I am interested in. It is important to continually learn and gain new perspectives, and this also helps you make new connections! Since I am interested in business law, I have spoken with attorneys who practice in various areas and asked them about their experiences.

Describe your perfect day.

Eric: My perfect day would be to start by waking up after 10 am (I am not a big morning person). From there, I would love to get food at one of my favorite restaurants in Indy: Charleston’s. From there, I would play a round of golf with some of my buddies and probably lose like I usually do. To end the night, grab some food again locally and watch TV on the patio.

James: For me, a perfect day would be waking up before sunrise, going out in nature and watching the sunrise as I drink a warm glass of chocolate milk and coffee. If my day starts like that, then the rest is already perfect.

Samer: Waking up early to do my morning prayer before sunrise, go for a nice bike ride around the neighborhood, make some nice French toast for breakfast, read a romance book (that's not too graphic), do my 2nd prayer of the day, have a picnic lunch with some friends at the park, do my 3rd prayer of the day, play some tennis, go home and talk about topics we can nerd about, do my 4th and 5th prayer of the day, have sushi with some family and friends and finally play some video games before I go to bed.

Sophia: My perfect day is spent surrounded by my family and dogs! My mom, dad, sister and I love to spend time together and watch sporting events or shows. We also like to take our two Shia Tzus out for walks or to the dog park. Also, I'd have to order some sushi for dinner—it is my favorite food.

What actor/actress would play you in a movie about your life?

Eric: Adam DeVine

James: Jeff Goldblum

Samer: Tyler James Williams

Sophia: Jennifer Aniston

If you were being introduced on stage, what would be your walkout song?

Eric: Bang Your Drum by Dead Man Fall

James: The Rumbling by SiM

Samer: Green Light Ride - The Qemists Remix by The Qemists, SEGA

Sophia: Ready for It by Taylor Swift

What's the first thing you'd do after winning the lottery?

Eric: With the most DECA answer I can possibly provide, I would first invest the majority of it. From there, I would move on to using the rest to save for retirement while also purchasing either a house or a new car, depending on where I am at in life. I think being able to invest and allow the money to work for me over the years would be wonderful. I could donate some of it, spend some of it and save the remainder for myself and my family.

James: Purchase and invest a large amount into property to become a real estate tycoon and make a sizeable passive income. Oh, and buy a Stradivarius cello.

Samer: See, I wouldn’t say because if I told you, that would expose my secret, so I guess we will never know.

Sophia: Besides calling the family and investing, I would first donate to a charity. Servant leadership is especially important to me, and I really enjoy the process of giving back. I have worked with many charities in high school and college. I especially work closely with anti-bullying and cancer charities, as I have personal ties to their overall missions.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Eric: My favorite place in the world is Norris Lake in Tennessee. Not only do I have family there, but it is nestled between the mountains and is gorgeous all year round. I love spending some of my summers there every year and would love to live there later in life. Give me a dock, a speaker playing country music and some sunshine, and I will be set for the whole day.

James: Wherever those whom I love are. But the American Northwest is very beautiful.

Samer: Assuming I was also fluent in the language, that would be Kyoto, Japan. This is due to the nice beauty in the Springtime with the Sakuras, and traveling around the country by train would be a nice way to get around. It would be a calm way to spend the rest of my life.

Sophia: If I could live anywhere, I would live in Italy. My family is Italian, and some relatives still reside in Naples. It is also very easy to access other European countries and experience different cultures!


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