Take advantage of your DECA experience to network!

Use the contact information on these pages to connect with IL DECA State Officers, Chapter Presidents, and Alumni!

But first, check out Lisa Green Chau’s tips on the networking basics!

State Officer Team

Connect with us! We love hearing from you.

Alifya Valiji, Maine East High School

Rikin Shah, Naperville North High School

Sara Legg, Naperville Central High School

Luccas Borges, Lincoln Park High School

Anna Sullivan, Elmwood Park High School

Chapter Presidents 

Barlett High School, Rj Pelczarski

Elmwood Park High School, Piotr Walaszek

Evanston Township High School, Andrew Bempah

Lincoln Park High School, Samir Hadzic

Maine East High School, Rahi Patel

Maine West High School, Cholino Sanchez

Naperville North  High School, Rikin Shah

Naperville Central High School, Gloria Korpas & Tommy Locke

Rolling Meadows High School – Erin Fitzgerald

Please send your Chapter President name to to be shared with the rest of the IL DECA community!

Wise Words from DECA Alumni

Dan Bednarczyk

Follow your Themes!

There’s a reason national DECA selects a theme every year. To me, they were more of a goal then a theme. After being in DECA for four years, I was able to experience four unique challenges.

  1. Make Your Mark
  2. Live, Learn, Lead
  3. Expand Your Network
  4. Aspire Higher

I Made my Mark freshman year by joining DECA. It encouraged me to take some business classes that were offered in my sophomore year which allowed me to Live, Learn, and Lead. By Expanding my Network and talking with different people at conferences I was able to get my first job through DECA as well as many scholarships that have seriously saved me money in college. Finally, by Aspiring Higher, I was elected as a State Officer my senior year and have gained so much experience about leadership that I still incorporate in my life today.

The best part about these themes is that you can reflect back at your year and know how you have improved yourself to become successful.

College Life for the DECA lover.

Currently, I study Advertising at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Aside from the resume boost DECA has given me, I have used my DECA experience to enhance my time in college in many ways. My freshman year in college, there was no Collegiate DECA chapter on my campus. However, that didn’t stop me from getting involved. I took on many leadership roles at my school. For instance, I joined a similar, but obviously not as cool, organization that helped me see how business clubs worked on a collegiate level. My sophomore year I just could not take the DECA withdrawal any longer so I thought about starting a chapter. After going to the registered student organization’s office, I found out that there was someone else on campus that had started a DECA chapter previously but most of the members were just a few guys in a fraternity. We teamed up to help expand UIUC DECA across the entire campus. Now I am the president of the UIUC DECA chapter and am looking for new ways to gain members and give them the DECA experience that they may not have had in high school.

In college, it is so helpful to compete in topics relevant to your major. For instance, I am working on the Advertising Campaign event. This work will not only help me do well at competition in the collegiate level, but also be a great project to showcase to my future employers. I believe DECA in high school helps shape you into a better individual and bring out your values and talents, while Collegiate DECA utilizes all that you have learned and drives you to be successful in the real world.

Nick Smith Don’t get too stressed, know the material and go in confident!

Emily Zhen Make sure to practice role plays with friends, be confident no matter what, and smile! Also, take advantage of all the fun elements of DECA during conferences and meet as many people as you can.

Josh Clayton– Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know, they may become some of your closest friends! As soon as you know what event you’re competing in, start studying. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the more comfortable you’ll be with the content when it comes time for competition.

Akshada Apte– If you are in a group event, make sure each member of the team is on board with what has to be done. Practice role plays with friends and advisors so you’re more comfortable when talking to judges. Be confident, smile, and have fun!

Priyesha Bijlani- However far you want to go with DECA depends on how much work you put in. But it will be worth it! There are countless experiences and memories to be made at each event and during each stage of competition. So it is important to work hard and enjoy every part.

Komal Sharma Make sure to take advantage of DECA regionals, state, and nationals to meet more people and make incredible memories. Work hard, be confident, and have fun!

If you’re an alumni who would like to be a resource for current DECA members, please e-mail