Vice President of Public Relations
Athena Chen is a three year member and senior at Naperville Central High School, where she currently serves as her chapter’s Vice President. She’s beyond honored to be giving back to Illinois DECA as its Vice President of Public Relations this year!
Athena joined DECA her sophomore year, where she vividly remembers climbing 10 flights of stairs, suitcases in hand, up to her hotel room during ILCDC and drinking more sodas than she could count at Atlanta’s World of Coca Cola during ICDC. She competes in mostly red events (everything around the sun in marketing), however finance has always interested her, and she hopes to expand her experience with other clusters as well.
Last year, as one of her chapter’s Vice Presidents of Competition, Athena brought back mock tournaments and one on one peer coaching, where she was able to put herself directly in the shoes of a new member. She’s also worked on Illinois DECA’s Social Media Team the past two years, first as a Data Analyst her sophomore year and then as the Instagram Manager her junior year. She highly encourages members to join and get a behind-the-scene look at Illinois DECA, whether through creating creative Tiktok content or assisting with events like the Miracle Minute as part of the team.
When not wearing the blue DECA blazer, Athena leads her school’s marching band as drum major (she’s a kid in band, not a band kid), competes in original comedy and radio speaking events on the speech team, and runs the high school network of her local chamber of commerce. Athena got her first taste of entrepreneurship when she jumped on the slime bandwagon and ran her own Etsy small business from 6th grade to sophomore year, where she delighted in the joy of having people purchase and benefit from her products. In hopes of exposing other kids to entrepreneurship in the same way, she’s run a fair for local children’s businesses for the past three years.
From these experiences, Athena has realized how much she values the interconnected nature of business - weaving people and resources together, understanding how to thread herself between the needs of different backgrounds, pulling and pushing them towards one shared goal - and hopes to pursue this interest with a major in either Economics or Finance in college to eventually become a startup founder.
In her free time (which she has less and less of), you might find her sipping on an iced matcha, planning her heart out on Notion and occasionally forcing her friends into photoshoots. She loves tote bags, 0.5s, Claire Rosinkranz, Lizzy McAlpine, and national parks, and is looking forward to finally learning how to crochet when college application season is over.
As someone who loves talking with new people, Athena is excited to meet as many members across the state as possible. She hopes her term on the State Action Team will push Illinois DECA to #ExperienceTheDifference this year!