State Officer Candidates

Meet Michigan DECA's 2023-2024 State Officer team!

Rithika Aytha, Novi High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
Michigan DECA has given me so much and taught me valuable lessons, and one of the things I'm truly passionate about. The opportunity to learn, grow, and network with others is incredible. I would like to help increase Michigan DECA's partnerships with companies and create many business affiliates. Through these affiliate partnerships, I think we should try to give the opportunity for students to partake in internships. The whole point of DECA is to give the opportunity for young individuals to involve themselves in business, what better do this than real life experience.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I've been able to express myself through a variety of outlets thanks to all of my particular interests; including dancing and painting. These interests have reduced my stress levels and given me a fresh perspective on the world. In order to keep active, I enjoy playing basketball, tennis, and volleyball. In addition to improving my creative and analytical thinking abilities via sports, being active helps me relax. Last but not least, I particularly enjoy traveling and spending time with my family while learning about various cultures and regions of the globe. I look forward to traveling to new places and making lifetime memories.

Jack Christy, Portage Northern High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
I can't think of a better way to involve myself with DECA than to apply for this position. I'm fascinated by this program's values and how it helps students grow accustomed to a professional setting. The position of DECA State Officer is a concentrated vessel for the most potent skills one can learn from this program. This is an opportunity to contribute my talents and energy to help DECA beyond my high school community, and learn something about myself in return.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Athletics - I have been a competitive swimmer for 11 years. Going forward, I hope to qualify and compete in the national championships next year, and compete on the collegiate level as well. I am quite fond of movies, particularly classic films. I have also been an avid reader my entire life, and I've recently taught myself to play piano. (Learning Chopin has been a highlight of this past year!). I recently became immersed in 3D printing and eventually hope to open an Etsy shop offering movie props.

Kalvin Frank, Lakeview High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
I believe that I can have a positive impact on leading the organization. And I think that it would be a great experience for me. I would meet many new people. I hope to help make people as passionate about DECA as I am.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy participating in many different activities. I am a three sport athlete. I play tennis, swimming, and golf. Athletics have influenced me to become very competitive. I have joined two science and technology competitions, Conrad and Exploravision. Some of my biggest interests are cooking, learning and trying new things, and being with friends. I consider myself a pretty decent cook. I enjoy trying new recipes as well as cooking recipes I am known for. I strongly seek out new things. I have become an indoor gardener, I have knit hats, I love going to museums. I just have a strong urge to expand my knowledge.

Siam Hossain, Cass Technical High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
When I was in my freshman year, one of my close friends ran for state office, and I have been enthralled ever since then. I imagined myself standing on the stage, behind the podium, giving an honest and exciting campaign speech. The year after, I got to work with a State Officer and saw how she developed because of this opportunity, and I dreamed about having that development for myself. I want to be a Michigan DECA State Officer for the lessons it provides and the paths that it opens, but it's more than that. It's also the thrill of representing your district, giving professional speeches in front of thousands, and working together with a team that becomes family.

What are your hobbies and interests?
When it's warm out, I often play soccer with my community team. I recently started playing lacrosse and have been practicing with my school's coach. Some of my other hobbies are playing the guitar, drawing, chess, and investing. I also love spending time with friends and family.

Emily Jacobs, Lincoln Park High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
Being a Michigan DECA State Officer has always been a dream of mine. It will help me with my future college applications, have new networking skills, create new relationships, and be able to lead such an amazing organization.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy playing softball in my schools softball team. I also enjoy working at Chick- Fil- A with my amazing team.

Nishit Palepu, Troy High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
DECA has grown me in ways I never thought possible and ignited a fire inside of me. I want to be a State Officer to inspire change and spark the same fire in members across the state. I will use my enthusiasm, resilience, and work ethic to help every member bring out their inner leader. I will utilize my knowledge from DECA workshops and the previous State Officer team to improve the organization and provide members with the key to unlocking their career in the business world.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Outside of school, I enjoy dancing and choreographing routines to various Indian styles. I have been dancing for over 10 years and enjoy watching professional dance teams to improve my form. I also love watching MasterChef and have the desire to learn how to cook. Spending time with my mom in the kitchen allows me to experiment with spices and create new recipes. Finally, I love playing with my three-year-old brother. Whether it is with action figures or athletic equipment, I love teaching him new things and seeing his face light up with curiosity.

Jayna Shah, North Farmington High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
I would like to be a Michigan DECA State Officer because I have a passion for leadership and DECA. Throughout the past two years, DECA has provided me countless opportunities to grow and learn, and it is only right I take this opportunity to give back to an organization that has helped me in many ways. As I have grown into an individual passionate about public speaking and leadership, I strongly believe Michigan DECA State Officer is the perfect position to demonstrate and enhance these skills. DECA brings a plethora of public speaking, networking, and learning opportunities that I desire to pursue and take back to Michigan DECA members.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Over the past few years public speaking has become a very interesting skill and hobby of mine. Being an introvert for quite some time, limited my speaking abilities in front of large crowds and unfamiliar people. However, recently speaking is an activity I thoroughly enjoy. With friends and family, competitions, or large crowds, public speaking is a growing interest of mine that I continue to pursue whenever given the chance. Additionally, for about 10 years now, I have been training in Indian classical dance. Dancing has been one of my major hobbies and is an activity I always look forward to.

Devan Tank, Northville High School

Why do you want to be a State Officer?
DECA is important to me because it sparked my interest in business. My goal as a Michigan DECA State Officer would be to represent our state effectively and to uphold the highest social values as a role model. I can contribute my skills to improve the chapters throughout Michigan by being a resource in helping to increase membership, sending more members to ICDC, and encouraging others to support DECA. I am also interested in connecting with fellow business-oriented students and participating in the unique opportunities that a Michigan DECA State Officer receives. I look forward to traveling to new places, planning events, bonding with my team, and meeting new people.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I am interested in the culture unique to boating. I have always enjoyed going out onto the lake every weekend during Michigan summers to learn more about the fun yet calming lifestyle. Also, I have a passion for music of all kinds. I have played the drums for six years and constantly listen to music. I love listening to music from all types of artists. I enjoy socializing and hanging out with my friends because it allows me time to rest my mind, share my thoughts on topics important to me, learn from different people, and share fun experiences.

The chance to serve Michigan DECA’s members is an exciting opportunity and a big responsibility. Being elected as an officer is an honor… but serving entails a lot of commitment, hard work and dedication. Michigan DECA encourages potential candidates to talk to their parents, chapter advisor, employer, guidance counselor and principal to discuss the responsibilities involved in holding a state office.


Running for and holding a State Office is exciting and challenging. The rewards are many:

  • Personal growth
  • Development of life-long leadership skills
  • Travel to exciting places and meet new people
  • Plan Michigan DECA State Leadership, District and State Career Development Conferences
  • Visit high schools and universities
  • Recognition for chapter and community

Interested individuals should:

  • Talk to your parents, advisor, employer, and principal to discuss the responsibilities and activities.
  • Obtain permission for absences from school, work, and family activities.

Interested individuals MUST:

  • Be an active member in an affiliated Michigan High School Division chapter
  • Have held a responsible position at the chapter level
  • Candidates may only run in their Junior (11th grade) year of school
  • Be recommended by the chapter advisor, parents, chapter members, and school administrators
  • Be the only candidate from your DECA chapter (only one candidate per chapter)
  • Have good speaking and writing skills
  • Complete the required forms (See the Guidebook for specific instructions)
  • Register for the Candidate Screening
  • Complete the online Candidate Information Form
  • Complete the Candidate Signature Packet with two letters of recommendation
  • Attend the State Officer Candidate Screening Interviews in Lansing, Michigan
  • Follow the Michigan DECA State Officer Campaign Guidelines
  • Agree to the State Officer Code of Conduct

What kind of training will I receive?

  • Once elected at the State Conference, training will be provided during the following required conferences: the International Career Development Conference, the CTSO State Officer Workshop, and the DECA Emerging Leaders’ Summit. 
  • At the International Career Development Conference (attendance required), you will be assigned to several officer training workshops and voting delegate meetings.  If you are competing, these activities will be scheduled around your competition schedule. Please note, due to the activities and commitments required of you as a State Officer you will not have much time to spend with your chapter at the conference.
  • Additional training will be available during State Officer meetings throughout your term of office.


Application Process


Before Tuesday, January 31, 2023

  • Study the Candidate Guidebook for complete rules, regulations, and information about running for office.
  • Candidates must register for the State Officer Candidate Screening by completing the Candidate Screening Registration Form with their chapter advisor. Completed forms are to be scanned and emailed to Ms. Day at Michigan DECA by January 31, 2023.
  • Michigan DECA will email each candidate’s advisor a Recommendation Form designed for chapter advisors when we receive the candidate’s screening registration.


Before Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Candidates must complete the online Candidate Information Form by January 31, 2023. This form collects basic information of the candidate and will be shared internally only by Michigan DECA and the election committee. Information needed for this form includes:

  • Basic contact information for candidate and parents (phone numbers, address, etc.)
  • Clothing sizes
  • Information about DECA conferences attended, DECA chapter activities, community activities, and your future goals and plans.
  • Rank of your State Officer position preferences. Note: Potential candidates will not select a specific office to run for. The Election Committee will slate up to sixteen candidates based on the candidate application and screening process. The State Executive Council will consist of eight officers.


Before February 3, 2023

  • Complete the Candidate Signature Packet and gather the required signatures and Recommendations. The original copy must be brought to the State Officer Candidate Screening on February 4, 2023. No scans of the signature packet will be accepted, these pages must be the originals signed by all parties.
  • Each candidate must submit two recommendations using the Recommendation Form found on the last page of the signature packet. Suggested resources for these recommendations include school officials, teachers, counselors, employers, community members and leaders, etc. Recommendations may not be provided by the DECA chapter advisor, parents, relatives, or classmates. Recommendations should be received by the candidate in a sealed envelope, and may not be opened by the candidate.
  • Complete the COVID-19 Acknowledgement and Liability Waiver Form.  You will not be allowed to participate in the screening without this fully-signed form.


On Saturday, February 4, 2023

  • All potential candidates must attend the State Officer Candidate Screening on Saturday, February 4, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Lansing, Michigan. 
  • Candidates that do not attend will not be considered.
  • The completed Candidate Signature Packet, Recommendation forms, and COVID Waiver form must be turned in when you arrive at the screening. 

 Each candidate will participate in the following on Saturday, February 4, 2023:

  • Candidate Interview
  • Deliver a two-minute presentation on “DECA and What it Means to Me.” The audience is the screening committee, and the purpose of the speech is to convince the committee of your belief in DECA and its goals and your dedication to the organization. The speech should be viewed as a sales presentation on your behalf.
  • Participate in an evaluated interpersonal skills activity.
  • Take a written examination.
  • Photos will be taken for use on the website and in Spotlight on DECA.

State Officer Screening Policies

  • Candidates must submit the required materials by the posted deadlines.
  • Chapters may not have more than one candidate for state office.
  • A DECA blazer (optional) and/or other suitable professional dress is appropriate.
  • The Election committee will evaluate each candidate during the screening process on the criteria provided and may slot a maximum of sixteen candidates to run for state office.
  • Potential candidates will not select a specific office to run for. The Election Committee will slate up to sixteen candidates based on the candidate’s combined applications and screening process. The State Executive Council will consist of no more than eight officers.


What happens next?

  • You will be notified if you have been approved as an official State Officer Candidate by Michigan DECA. Now you can start planning on your campaign!
  • Candidates cannot post anything about their campaign or that they are running for office until they are given approval and posting regulations after they have been approved to run for office.
  • Candidates may not post on social media.
  • Because the focus of the campaign should be on the candidate’s skills, no materials may be sent to chapters or voting delegates prior to the State Conference.
By February 24, 2023:
  • Approved candidates must EMAIL a one-page (8 1/2” x 11”) State Officer Candidate Flyer by February 24th that will be distributed in a special packet for voting delegates. We will contact you with the email address to send the attachment.
  • Email the completed Campaign Summary Form to Michael Parr by February 24th.
At the State Conference:
  • Attend the Candidate Briefing meeting on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at Huntington Place.  You will need to bring a copy of the completed Campaign Summary form, along with a sample of each item you plan to hand out at your table.
  • Candidates will be provided with a table in Huntington Place prior to the Opening Session. Tables will be located near the Opening Session entrance.
  • Candidates will give a one-minute greeting during the Opening Session at the State Career Development Conference.
  • Voting will take place immediately after the Opening Session. 
  • No campaigning can take place after the Opening Session at the State Career Development Conference.
  • The new officer team will be sworn-in on stage during the Awards session on Saturday.

If you have any questions about being a State Officer, your best resource is to contact a current State Officer. You can also contact the Michigan DECA State Coordinator, Mr. Parr.