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The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

New Minnesota DECA president

Mounds View sophomore, Maryam Shahkhan, elected as new State President of DECA MN State leadership team.
Maryam+Shahkhan+at+the+ICDC+in+Anaheim+in+April.
PHOTO VIA Maryam Shahkhan
Maryam Shahkhan at the ICDC in Anaheim in April.

Minnesota Distributive Education Clubs of America’s (DECA) new State President, Maryam Shahkhan, was recently selected to lead the historic all-female DECA MN State leadership team. Despite most officers being elected as incoming seniors, Shahkhan is not a senior, or even a junior, but a sophomore.

Shahkhan has been involved in DECA since her freshman year, joining the club at the beginning of ninth grade and enrolling in the DECA class — which is not available to freshmen — at the beginning of this year. 

DECA is composed of five business-related clusters — marketing, business management and administration, entrepreneurship, finance and hospitality — each with around a dozen different competitive opportunities. Shahkhan participates in role play competitions in both the finance and hospitality sectors. For a hospitality and tourism competition, Shahkhan had to present a sales pitch to a panel of judges. “This year… I was a [glam-camping] resort sales manager, and I had to sell to a CEO of a company for his or her resort,” she said. “I made this whole 10-minute presentation, business cards, everything.” After placing in the top four at the Minnesota State Career Development Conference, Shahkhan competed at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Anaheim, California this past April.

Along with competitions, Shahkhan also manages the Mustang Spirit Shop with junior Thanishka Shetty. “We do everything by ourselves, like the budgeting, everything,” said Shahkhan. This year, the duo wrote a 50-page paper about their business strategy to get the spirit shop DECA certified. 

Unlike executive positions in other academic state-wide organizations, the DECA state student-run board is not elected. Rather, they are selected by DECA officials in a traditional interviewing and selection process. “For our district, what we do is have an interview, and then have these questions that they ask and then also we submit a resume and cover letter,” she said.

Shahkhan decided to apply for president out of a desire to “give back” to an organization that impacted her immensely over the past two years. She is also excited to promote representation after being selected. “You don’t really see a lot of people that look like me on that stage,” she said. “Because coming from my background, I feel like…we just want to cuddle up in our own corner. I think it’s really important that Muslim girls, and girls just in general, see people that look like them and are inspired by them.”

As state president, Shahkhan will oversee a team of officers who are each selected from different Minnesota DECA districts. “There’s sponsorships, there’s social media, there’s outreach, there’s advocacy, and my role…is just overseeing all of those tasks across the year,” she said.

Shahkhan has big plans for her time in office. “I want to focus on…doing more community service, because I know DECA seems like this business-centered competition, but something that’s really important that we say in business is giving back,” she said. As part of this, she hopes to promote more community service initiatives among her leadership team next year.

She especially wants to address what she calls a “resource gap” between large and small DECA chapters. “One thing that’s extremely important to me is bringing DECA to, for example, smaller chapters. I definitely see that there is a gap between bigger chapters and smaller chapters of the Minnesota DECA organization,” she said. “I want to make sure that I have really good communication with each and every chapter. So I might not be able to visit every school in Minnesota, which is definitely my goal, to get as many schools I can visit in person and see their chapters and make a personal connection with them.”



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About the Contributor
Maya Gjelhaug
Maya Gjelhaug, Print Editor-in-Chief
My name is Maya, and I'm excited to be one of your print Editors-in-Chief this year. When I'm not editing articles, you can find me mountain biking and watching Band of Brothers with my dad. Awards: Best of SNO - Mounds View Theater casting sparks controversy Best of SNO - The downfall of ELA education Best of SNO - Pro-life activists rally against Minnesota abortion legislation Best of SNO - Prince of Peace Church combats homelessness with tiny home settlement Best of SNO - Should legacy admissions still exist? 2nd-Place Gold Medallion Spread - Youth sports culture SNO Site Excellence Design Award SNO Page Excellence Award
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