The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


DECA State Officer Interviews


By: Staff Writer Pratham Gupta


The Smoke Signal interviewed Zuhayer Quazi, who was appointed as the VP of Public Relations for California DECA, and Jacinta Chang, who was elected as the Vice President of Silicon Valley for California DECA and the President of Silicon Valley DECA.


Zuhayer Quazi

SS: What are your responsibilities as the VP of Public Relations?

Zuhayer Quazi: I have to handle everything media related or if it concerns CA DECA’s social presence. I will have to generate official press releases as well as work on increasing our membership, online presence and sponsorships.

SS: Why did you choose to run for this specific position?

ZQ: Public Relations is my forte. When deciding to run for a State Officer Position, I thought about which position would best allow me to serve CA DECA and help improve it at the same time. Since I’ve always had an aptitude for marketing and social media, I believed that I could contribute my best to DECA in this capacity.

SS: What are you looking forward to in your upcoming term?

ZQ:  Part of being VP of Public Relations is handling all the press and media coverage and as such, I will get to meet a variety of different people. I look forward to that and hope I can further expand DECA’s network by meeting other school representatives, administrators, talking to real businesses, and increasing our sponsorships at the same time.

SS: What does DECA mean to you?

ZQ: I think a lot of people think it’s a competition only about business, but for me, personally, DECA is a platform. A universal platform which anybody can make use of. A platform to emerge as a leader or develop as an individual. It’s eye-opening – seeing innumerable students, alumni, advisors, parents and business professionals contribute to make DECA what it is today. At the same time, it helps you develop your social skills. You have to share business plans, investment portfolios and a multitude of other things, but you have to really present yourself well. It grants confidence to anybody and everybody to be confident.

SS: What advice would you give to MSJ students who would also like to run for State Office positions in the future?

ZQ: I would say, try your best and don’t be afraid. We have a really awesome officer team here at Mission and they’ll all support you. The concept of defeat is a deterrent for the majority, don’t let it be. You’ll only know if you try.

SS: How do you hope to improve on public relations for California DECA in your upcoming term?

ZQ: I hope to incentivize people to follow CA DECA on social media along with bringing social challenges such as the #IAMDECA video challenge to the State Level.

SS: What do you hope to gain from this experience?

ZQ: I hope to further develop my networking and social skills. Since I have to talk to real businesses, I hope that I will further understand and develop additional proficiency at this.


Jacinta Chang

SS: What are your responsibilities as the VP of Silicon Valley?

Jacinta Chang: I am responsible for overseeing the Silicon Valley District while working with the Silicon Valley District Action Team (SVDAT) to expand DECA further. I also oversee functions of California DECA as a whole as a State Officer.

SS: Why did you choose to run for this specific position?

JC: I served as a DAT officer for Silicon Valley during the 2014-2015 year, and I loved the atmosphere and the people. I wanted to help to develop the region and work with all these amazing individuals once again. Even though it’s different on the State and Regional Level, I get to connect with more people, network, and experience new things.

SS: What are you looking forward to in your upcoming term?

JC: I look forward to being a part of both the CA DECA and SV DECA team. I hope to bring to life the vision we have for the future of DECA. I also anticipate meeting new people who share the same interests and passions from not only around the country, but internationally as well.

SS: What does DECA mean to you?

JC: DECA means a lot to me. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if you want to attain a goal, work hard for it, and nothing can stop you. I’ve learned to seize every opportunity, to be more outgoing and open, but most importantly, to develop as a leader and a networker.

SS: What advice would you give to MSJ students who would also like to run for State Office positions in the future?

JC: I would tell them to not be afraid to try, and to always be open to new opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for any opportunity that comes your way. Running for any position is a really memorable experience, and I encourage anybody who believes that they can do it to do it. Nothing is impossible, and there is always a way.

SS: How will being the California DECA VP of Silicon Valley differ from being the President of Silicon Valley DECA?

JC: As President of Silicon Valley DECA, I will be working alongside SVDAT to  plan conferences in the region. In SV DECA, I will work with sponsors, companies, and members, as well as develop new chapters. On the other hand, as California DECA VP of Silicon Valley, I act as the bridge between CA DECA and SV DECA. I help promote California DECA as a whole, and will represent CA DECA on stage at ICDC alongside my officer team.

SS: What have you gained from being an officer in the past, and what more do you hope to gain from furthering your experience in DECA this upcoming year?

JC: Being an officer has given me the experience of working with others and taking on a lot more responsibilities. It taught me more about myself: to connect and work with other students, and to be more outgoing and communicative. In my upcoming term, I hope to leave my mark and help pave the road for DECA in the future. I want to contribute back to DECA, since DECA has given so much to me.

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