[ Meet Your State Action Team ]



Nathaniel Smith
State President

Hello Georgia DECA! My name is Nathaniel Smith, and I am your 2016-2017 State President. I am a senior at West Forsyth High School, and we are currently the 2nd largest chapter in the World. We also have two Gold-Level School Based Enterprises: West Express and West Ink. #InRooneyWeTrust

I became a DECA member my freshman year, so I’ve been a member three years total. I initially joined DECA only because I was enrolled in a marketing class, but I chose to get involved in the organization because of upperclassmen I looked up to. They would talk about how fun and exciting DECA conferences were, and how addictive competition was. They also explained how many important skills you will learn and characteristics you will develop in DECA that will help you in and out of high school. After hearing all of this from the upperclassmen I prepared to really get involved in DECA my sophomore year.

My favorite thing about DECA is the confidence it gives its members. I have been able to meet so many different DECA members in and out of the state of Georgia, and I have noticed each member I’ve met had one similarity: strong self-confidence. It seems to me almost every DECA member’s experience has a challenging element, which required hard work to overcome/accomplish, and in turn it grew their self-confidence. I think the confidence DECA gives members will be crucial for them throughout college, and most especially when they begin a job and/or career.

I am working on getting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. After college I want to serve my country by becoming a commissioned officer in the US Marine Corps. I am still undecided on how long I plan to be in the military, but regardless of how long I serve later in life I plan to enter politics.

nathaniel.gadeca@gmail.com

Kristen Nicholson
VP of Leadership

Hey Georgia DECA! My name is Kristen Nicholson and I am your 2016-2017 Vice President of Leadership and I am a senior at Forsyth Central High School. My chapter has worked with Miracle League, which is an organization that allows special needs children and adults the opportunity to play a baseball game with the help of high school students. It was such an amazing experience and definitely one of my favorite things that my chapter has done!

I have been in (and loved!) DECA ever since my freshman year of high school. I joined because I had heard about it from other students and teachers and wanted to get in on the fun! My favorite thing about DECA is how well it prepares high school students for the business world by giving them the ability to participate in everything from business-related competitions to leadership positions. I also love all of the people I've been able to meet and become friends with through the club!

After graduation, I would like to attend UGA, GA Tech, or GA State and major in international business with a minor in French. After receiving my MBA, I would love to work for an internationally known business such as Nike or Apple.

kristen.gadeca@gmail.com

Will Bradley
VP of Career Development

Hello Georgia DECA! My name is Will Bradley, and I am your 2016-2017 Vice President of Career Development. I am a junior at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, GA. Our chapter has been the World’s Largest DECA Chapters since 2009. How awesome is that!

I have been in DECA since the day before my freshman year. I joined DECA because I’ve always had an interest in public relations, sales, and marketing, and DECA is a place in high school that let those interests shine. Also, a DECA officer threw candy and an application at me on orientation day, so that was pretty cool. My favorite thing about DECA is our ability to help the community. We’re so much more than a marketing club…we get to harness those skills to make a difference.

My future plans are to attend Auburn University in the Fall of 2018 and major in Public Relations, with a minor in Political Science. I would like to be a Communications Director for a politician or public figure.

will.gadeca@gmail.com

Socorro Parra Lopez
VP of Marketing

Hello Georgia DECA! My name is Socorro Parra Lopez and I am your 2016-2017 Vice President of Marketing and a junior for Forest Park High School. My chapter sponsored the “FPHS National Champions Operation: TEST SUCCESS” campus wide campaign. The purpose of the Campaign was to promote positive results on GMAS and the end- of-the- year testing. Efforts were concentrated on increasing school spirit /school pride and an overall change in the culture of our school.

I have been in DECA for 2 years and I joined DECA because I wanted to maximize my potential as a leader through the inspiration given to me by my advisor. The more I learned throughout the Marketing course about DECA, the more I knew I wanted to become a part of the organization at the State level. DECA offers enhancement of skills and experience no other organization can offer. Of that, I wanted to partake. My favorite thing about DECA is being able to network with people from all over the world, not to mention give out all my business cards. The opportunities in DECA are endless.

My future goals are to matriculate at Georgia State University and graduate with a major in Business Administration and minor in Economics. My ultimate goal is to become and Entrepreneur and become successful in my endeavors.

lopez.gadeca@gmail.com

Michael Tralongo
VP of Finance

Hello Georgia DECA! My name is Michael Tralongo and I am your 2016-2017 Vice President of Finance and a senior at North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee Georgia. Our chapter has been recognized as one of the top ten chapters in Georgia at fall leadership and continues to have a strong, growing level of membership. We created a popular event at our school called The DECA Difference, which is a mini leadership academy that’s a lot of fun and boosts our membership.

I have been a member of DECA since my freshman year. A favorite thing about my DECA experience is the people I have met from all around the globe and the relationships I have made with them. My interests in business have been aided throughout my terms as our chapter’s VP of Finance and as a DECA competitor for three year. Through DECA I have competed in a variety of business role plays, developed business plans, presentations, and performed the accounting functions of my local chapter. The entrepreneurial nature of these simulations has directed my future interests to the area of business.

My future plan upon graduation is to earn attendance at the University of Georgia, including a bachelor’s degree from UGA Terry College of Business and continuing for my master’s degree. My interests are in the areas of Finance and Accounting; I am contemplating further progress into the areas of business law to represent some of the top corporations. I will continue to dedicate my time to positions of servant leadership for youth and for Happy Feat: a non-profit that promotes the inclusion of special needs young adults.

michael.gadeca@gmail.com

Shannen Patel
VP of Hospitality

Hello Georgia DECA! My name is Shannen Patel and I am your 2016-2017 Vice President of Hospitality and a senior at North Gwinnett High School. Every year, my chapter collects the most toys for Toys for Tots in the country!

I have been in DECA for 4 years, and oddly enough, I joined DECA because of my sister Sonia! She has always been my go-to and was even NG DECA President her senior year, so she got me involved the second I came into high school. My favorite thing about DECA is meeting new people!

In the future, I hope to go into action-service healthcare by double majoring in pre-med and French at the University of California Berkeley in order to enlist in the Doctors Without Boarders program. :) 

shannen.gadeca@gmail.com