Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

The official blog of Alpha Chi Omega

Browsing category: #AXOdreamer Blog Series, Alumnae
0 comments

As Our Dreams Evolve

Rachel_Haley_webBy: Rachel Haley
Omicron, Baker University
Foundation Coordinator, Alpha Chi Omega Foundation

In August of 2011, I sat on the steps of Mabee Hall after signing my bid card waiting for my friends to finish signing theirs inside. My favorite recruitment counselor was sitting on the steps keeping me company. Throughout the process of recruitment, she encouraged me and made me feel confident in my final selection. Her deeply rooted passion for Greek life made me admire her even more. In a matter of four days on campus, she became a role model for me. Little did I know that in the hours ahead, I would soon be joining the very sisterhood to which she belonged. I will always remember coming home to the Omicron chapter of Alpha Chi Omega that late August night to find her welcoming me as a sister.

From that night forward, Rachel Shuck became a mentor and friend providing me with guidance and support throughout my collegiate years. She encouraged me to take active leadership roles on campus, within the chapter and on a national level with Alpha Chi Omega. She was always searching for ways to help me accomplish my dreams, from early on. In turn, I have been able to watch Rachel accomplish a number of her very own.

Rachel was always open about pursuing her dream of teaching mass media and journalism. She was the editor of the campus newspaper and the VP of public relations and marketing in the chapter. She paved her way to future success. However, in the last semester of her senior year, Rachel’s dreams changed. Her heart was no longer in education; her passion became more aligned with the Fraternity. Following her instincts, she shifted her career path towards Greek life. In the weeks prior to graduation, Rachel was thrilled to announce that she was hired by Pennington & Company as an alumni relations consultant, allowing her to combine her love for Greek organizations and mass media – a happy medium.

In four years’ time, Rachel has made her dreams a reality. She continues to work for Pennington & Company, now as senior alumni relations consultant, where she has spearheaded five capital campaigns and 11 annual campaigns for fraternities and sororities across the country. And today she proudly serves Omicron as a co-chapter advisor, continuing the legacy of real, strong women at our alma mater.

I have learned so much from Rachel throughout our friendship. Most importantly, she has taught me to never let my dreams grow stagnant, but to let my dreams continue to evolve and align with my passions. Supporting each other’s dreams and watching them become realities has been a privilege, for which I gratefully thank Alpha Chi Omega.

Take_the_Challenge_button

0 comments

How to Live Out the Little r in Our Ritual

Corrinne WolfeBy Corinne Wolfe
Zeta Eta, Bradley University

Most people only consider the big R when they hear the word ritual, our initiation ceremony. It’s the “event” that supposedly defines us as Alpha Chi Omegas, and to an extent that is true. Without that beacon, we don’t always know where to point our Alpha Chi compass. It’s what makes us unique, the embodiment of our name, defines our bond, etc.

I, on the other hand, often consider ritual to be mostly made up of the little r; the one that resonates in my day to day life and seeps into my being whether it’s when I am walking out the door into the world, or into chapter on a Tuesday night.

The little r is what defines me to the rest of my world. It’s what my husband and our two boys see; it’s how my friends, colleagues and my community perceive me. Little r is what drives my behaviors. Little r is our shared values of friendship, leadership, learning and service; which continue far past the day you put on a cap and gown. Little r is why I strive to be the best version of myself every day and to learn from the mistakes of yesterday so that I am stronger tomorrow.

The little r is also why I continue to advise my local chapter. Little r is the journey we all take in Alpha Chi Omega. I always marvel each spring as graduation nears. As our seniors prepare to take on the world, I pause to reflect on their first day as members, of bid days come and gone. I remember how unsure some of them were of themselves (and the few who were overly sure). I think of the time between then and now, of the majors changed, the semesters abroad, the loved ones sometimes lost, the bonds that tightened and ones that broke apart. Most importantly though, I think of the women they become. As those girls who entered our chapter each fall prepare to leave four short years later, I am amazed at the real, strong women they become. Women who possess the strength, grace and authenticity of our Founders.

So as another year approaches and I prepare myself for another marathon recruitment season (which at my age requires a lot more Starbucks and under eye concealer with each passing fall), I feel the little r in the air and it’s electric. It’s sisters embracing after a summer away, it’s an executive board with sights set high on a new school year and it’s the excitement of welcoming a new group of women into our sisterhood to share our bond and continue our legacy. Being part of their journey reminds me why I chose Alpha Chi Omega, literally, a century ago. It bridges the little r of our sisterhood to the big R of our Ritual and reminds me of that amazing thing that brings us all together.

1 comments

Living Our Ritual in the Peace Corps

Aug_IMG_0056By Kim Kelly
Kappa Xi, University of West Florida

Our Symphony can be applied to so much of the Peace Corps experience. Every day I saw “beauty in the common things of life,” because everything else was stripped away. Living in a rural village where many people didn’t have electricity or running water, TVs or iPads, or extravagant toys for the little ones; I saw people who lived a simple, common life. And I realized that even without all these things, they were happy and loving, and there was true beauty in that. PeaceCorps

Another line from our Symphony, which rings so true for my PC experience, is “to see and appreciate all that is noble in another, be her badge what it may. In this case, her badge would be her culture. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be completely immersed into a culture that is so far from your own. There were times when I would experience something and think to myself, “No way. No way is this actually happening!” For example, during the ceremony where we volunteers were paired to our host families, I experienced oralating for the first time. This is where the women come from out of nowhere and circle you while dancing and making a very loud sound, which is made by moving your tongue very quickly back and forth (it’s not easy). It was so unusual and something I had never seen before; all of these women dancing and making this funny, loud noise, but it was beautiful. There were so many incidents where I was able to appreciate the culture here. And throughout my experiences the people of Botswana reciprocated. They made me feel welcomed and loved, always referring to me as their daughter or auntie. Regardless of our “badge,” we were able to appreciate all that is noble in another.

Aug_IMG_1128_4Although I could come up with a relatable moment for every line of the Symphony, this one sticks out to me the most: “to shed the light of love and friendship round me.” The mission of Peace Corps is to promote world peace and friendship, and I think that’s exactly what the Symphony is saying. Although I found great joy in the projects that were successful at my site, such as a boy’s empowerment camp (GLOW Camp) or the after-school peer educators club, the most fulfilling and rewarding part of my service was the friendships I was able to create with my students and the love that I both shared and received. The moments of learning traditional games from Gontle and Tono, or when Thati would come over to show me how well he did on his math exam, or when Lentle and Kelebogile would tell me about their latest crushes and then cover their faces with their hands, in spells of giggles, if I dared to tell the boys… These were my favorite moments. These were the moments when the light of love and friendship was glowing brightest, when I knew my Peace Corps service was worth it, when I knew I had created relationships that would last a lifetime.

Lastly, in the last line of the Symphony, “to let my lyre send forth the chords of love, unselfishness, sincerity,” these are all such important traits for a Peace Corps volunteer to carry. The thing is, as Alpha Chis we already carry these traits; Peace Corps just gives you the chance to exemplify them. They say it’s the hardest job you’ll ever learn to love – and that couldn’t be truer – but it is so worth it. You will learn so much about yourself, you will grow in unimaginable ways and you will have the opportunity to live out the Symphony in the most rewarding way possible.

0 comments

Buy Licensed to Give Sisterhood

4-19-13 Alpha Chi Dallas-Web-130By: Selby Werner, Epsilon Psi

Let’s begin with a simple question: what is Greek licensing? (And why are we talking about it in a Ritual themed blog post?? Don’t worry, we will get there.) Essentially, Greek licensing is a formal process for Alpha Chi Omega and other Greek-letter organizations to protect the intellectual property assets of the organization. Since the trademarks of Alpha Chi Omega are the property of the organization, they must be controlled and deserve to be protected.

When you close your eyes and think of Alpha Chi Omega, what do you see? I’m sure we all have very different experiences and memories that come to mind, but in addition to those we all see the same symbols: our Greek letters – ΑΧΩ, the lyre, the red carnation, a pearl, perhaps even our open motto, “Together Let Us Seek the Heights!”  I want to reiterate that… that we all imagine the same symbols. Despite there being more than 130 collegiate chapters and over 130 years of Alpha Chi history, we all imagine the same symbols when we think of our beloved sisterhood. Why is that?

The answer is two-fold. The first reason is, of course, the fact that those are the emblems our Founders decided upon when establishing this organization. Each was chosen deliberately and each has its own special significance.  The second reason being that these symbols have been maintained and respected as emblems of the organization since its inception. One of the primary ways they have been maintained is through proper control via trademark licensing; by monitoring and controlling how the marks are being used commercially by vendors, Alpha Chi is able to ensure that they are only being used in ways that are appropriate representations of our sisterhood. Consequently, the integrity and value of the marks are preserved for future generations of sisters to enjoy.

There is no doubt in my mind that every Alpha Chi Omega sister can remember the first set of letters she received. It’s a moving experience; that special moment when she is able to proclaim to the world in big bold letters, quite literally, that she is a member of Alpha Chi Omega! Those letters mean something. They represent the truest nature of our organization – our heritage; our Ritual; our values; and our sisters, past, present, and future.

Too often though, that is unfortunately forgotten. It’s too easy to take the letters we wear for granted and forget that they represent something bigger than our four-year collegiate experiences.  My call to you is this: to remember that those marks have a meaning beyond yourOLP_Logo_RGB own experience in Alpha Chi Omega.

Alpha Chi Omega’s licensing program is fundamentally a process through which product quality control is managed. Buying licensed products is one of the easiest ways to help reinforce our organizations’ values and make sure our Ritual it is protected for generations to come! Luckily for all of us, Alpha Chi Omega has made it easy to participate in this form of Ritual protection by establishing their licensing program. Give the gift of our sisterhood by buying items that have been approved.

For more about licensing and where your chapter can find licensed vendors, visit greeklicensing .com.

0 comments

Farewell Favorites

Sami_HolleyBy Sami Holley
Gamma Rho, Texas Tech University

With our next class of consultants currently in training, Sami reflects on her time as a chapter consultant.

After two fantastic years as a chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, it has come time for me to say goodbye (and I haven’t even grabbed for a tissue—yet). It is a bittersweet departure as I am equally excited for the consultants that will fill my shoes as I am sad about leaving my memories, friends and sisters.

I came into my first day of training as a fresh college graduate who had no idea what was in store for the next couple of years. I have always been told that Alpha Chi Omega has the best consultant training out there, and it proved to be true that summer. I made memories with friends I will never forget, and I learned what it means to be a real, strong woman and to truly change lives.

While I was daydreaming about my experience as a consultant, I decided I would love to share some of my favorite moments with you.

Summer training: Wow! What a challenging yet rewarding experience. Going in, I don’t think anyone knows that to expect. It’s a really cool concept to work with your sisters. The level of confidence they treat you with is comforting, but the respect that they have for you is what really seals the deal.

Moving (away from Texas): Who even knew that just moving to a different state would change your attitude toward home?! Not only did I move out of the only place I knew, but I moved in with two sisters I had only known for six weeks—talk about really getting to know each other. These women became my best friends and my home. Little did they know what they were getting themselves into on day one. I can’t speak for them, but I know that I wouldn’t take back one day of our time together.

And, it’d be a shame if I didn’t mention my second-year roommate. During hard times she picks me up, she keeps me happy when I’m sad and she never, ever gives up on me! Talk about a true sister. I wouldn’t have made it without her, and I will never forget the joy she brought me when I needed it most.

Creating long-distance friendships: When you first hear about the consultant position, everyone always says you’re going to make so many friends. What I didn’t know going in is that your consultant sisters can become constant companions, even when you’re not in the same state. They are your biggest supporters and push you to be your best as soon as they meet you.

Colonization: There may be no greater joy in my heart than the joy I felt on bid day for our new chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi (shout out, Kappa Sigma chapter). I will never forget the moment I saw all of our new members running home to Alpha Chi. The women at Southern Miss have completely taken my heart, and for that I am forever grateful. They have praised my big wins, as well as my small wins; they have taught me what being a servant leader is all about; and they have brought out my passions.

Two years really have flown by. Thank you to all the women I met along the way. While I had the chance to change lives, you all were changing mine. It has been a fun ride, Alpha Chi Omega.

6 comments

If Our Founders Were on Vacation…

Photo courtesy of travlingirl.com

Photo courtesy of travlingirl.com

By Susan B. Barnes
Zeta Sigma, Missouri State University

Inspiration to travel can be found nearly everywhere – through movies we watch, books we read, stories relayed by our friends, world music… the list goes on! We thought it might be fun to take a look at our founders – all adventurous in their own ways – and suggest destinations that they may have liked to visit in today’s day and age.

Anna Allen Smith, who graduated DePauw’s School of Music at the young age of 19, lived in Greencastle, Indiana her entire life, and rarely, if ever, left the Hoosier State. A day’s drive – a perfect introduction for a beginning traveler – could easily transport Anna to a wealth of musical destinations, including Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville and Memphis.

Olive Burnett Clark – but we’re all friends here, so let’s call her Ollie, as her friends did – studied the piano, violin, cello and double bass while at DePauw. With her love of stringed instruments, Ollie may have left her comfort zone and traveled to the Museo del Violino in Cremona, Italy, which opened last year, or all the way to Australia to learn to play the didgeridoo!

An intense commitment to music led Bertha Deniston Cunningham to become an accomplished performer and teacher at DePauw’s School of Music, not to mention the envy of the school’s students due to her stellar composing skills. Bertha would probably enjoy the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, or the unaffiliated MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) in Brussels, Belgium; a quick hop from Brussels is the charming, picturesque town of Dinant, where Adolphe Sax, creator of the saxophone, was born.

As the “little girl with a big voice,” New York City’s Broadway would likely be high on Amy Dubois Reith list, especially to see prodigies just like her. Closer to home, she could take in stage productions in Chicago, where she could also see a few shows at Second City to appeal to her sense of humor; she had a tendency to pull pranks on her sorority sisters!

In addition to music, Nellie Gamble Childe was passionate about roses and loved to garden. What fun it would be for her to visit gardens around the country! Starting with the gardens at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, she could easily travel west and make her way to the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Ore. And if Nellie wanted to hop the pond, I’d definitely suggest the gardens at Hampton Court outside of London, and Chateau de Versailles outside of Paris.

When Bessie Grooms Keenan had to give up her life’s ambition of being a pianist due to an injury, she threw herself into building AXO; her daughter Hannah followed her footsteps and eventually became director of what is now headquarters. This mother-daughter team deserve a getaway, don’t you think? For these two, I’m thinking of a summer at Tanglewood in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra summers. The two could spread a blanket on the lawn and enjoy cool summer evening picnics under the twinkling stars and floating musical notes.

Of all of our founders, Estelle Leonard was the most like me – a travlin’ girl. Known to have a “developed independence, decision, and a rather bohemian attitude,” I could see Estelle hopping a plane for destinations unknown. Even more, she’d grab a bag and hop the Eurail, traveling Europe by train to whichever stop piqued her interest – perhaps Turkey, Finland, Croatia, or (maybe not surprisingly), Greece! She’d write about her travels, too – after all, she spent some time reporting for the local newspaper!

How about you? Where do you see our founders traveling to?

Susan B. Barnes (aka travlin’ girl) is a freelance travel writer based in Tampa. A proud Army brat, she was born on a military base in Belgium and has been on the go ever since, graduating from (Southwest) Missouri State University (Zeta Sigma). Susan enjoys traveling to new destinations and inspiring readers to travel themselves – whether around the world or in their own backyards. Connect with Susan on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

1 comments

How Ritual Can Inspire Healthy Financial Decisions

Meredith_blog

By Meredith Denton-Rines
Zeta Sigma, Missouri State University – Springfield

It’s been five years since I was a collegiate member of Alpha Chi Omega. I carry lessons from Alpha Chi with me every day and plan to do so for the rest of my life. Some of my favorite memories are of laughing with my sisters. However, the Ritual of Alpha Chi has deep roots in my heart and is what guides me.

Alpha Chi was the place where I first learned about being financially responsible, a lesson I had to quickly learn as the director of finances for Panhellenic.

The love of finance came quickly to me. I am now a financial advisor with a mission to help women create a path to reach their specific goals. I’ve realized that our Ritual keeps us in tune to reach our financial goals. With our Ritual and values in mind, I want to share tips on making healthy financial decisions for the rest of your life.

Wisdom & Devotion & Together Let Us Seek the Heights
You must work as a team to reach your goals, just as Alpha Chi Omega’s motto states, “Together let us seek the heights.” Your team may no longer be your sorority sisters. Maybe you’re an independent single woman, or perhaps you have a spouse and family. In college you demonstrated wisdom and devotion by studying to achieve good grades. You even took time to help others by getting involved in and taking an interest in others’ success. Now you have the chance to use your focus and study skills to make savvy money choices.

You are an educated, bright woman who understands the value of knowledge. As you get older, you also understand the importance of continuing your education. In doing so, you are able to make sound financial decisions. Planning for your retirement is like planning for a class project: you list your priorities and research options, construct a plan and then move forward.

TIP: Gain knowledge about retirement planning and saving. I recommend talking to a financial advisor early to create a plan. It’s easy to let life get in the way of preparing for the future, but you need to make sound financial decisions now, when it matters most. Starting a savings plan while in your 20s can make a huge impact on your future retirement. Start now.

Achievement
You may have achieved a leadership role in Alpha Chi and on campus during college; now you must continue being a mentor by taking leadership of your life. You control our own destiny. If you do not take ownership of your goals and your path, no one else will. In today’s world it is becoming more and more acceptable to expect others to take care of you, but you cannot allow that. Only you know what’s the most valuable to you. You must stand up as a leader and know your worth.

Financial Responsibility
I’d like to pull in one of our membership criteria here: financial responsibility. Our sisterhood definitely values being financially responsible, and it fits well with making healthy financial decisions. You learned how to balance your finances in college. Between chapter dues, girls’ nights out, and being able to afford the time of your life, you had plenty to think about. As you graduate and leave college, those financial worries only shift. Instead of chapter dues, you now have mortgage payments. In college you budgeted your time and money so you didn’t have to miss out on any fun adventures. Now you need to budget your money so you can live a debt-free life. You can be a step ahead of others by staying out of debt and “to keep [your] life in tune with the world.” Learning to balance early puts us a step ahead of others.

TIP: Create a budget and learn “to meet with courage the challenges of daily living.” Budgeting is a key to success. You can see where you are and where you want to go, and you can map a clear path to follow.

“To give graciously and to receive no less graciously that others may know the thrill of giving”
This line from our 75-year member ceremony is a great reminder to be philanthropic throughout your life. You learned the importance of philanthropy while in college. Alpha Chi does wonderful things to support real, strong women and prevent domestic violence. By budgeting and saving you will be able to achieve greatness in your life. The ability “to give graciously and to receive no less graciously that others may know the thrill of giving,” is an amazing virtue that you can continue to pass on.

TIP: As you grow older and your time commitments become more involved, it’s easy to stop giving to organizations about which you are passionate. You simply don’t have the time. However, you can give so much more than time by creating a budget and sticking to it. You need to carry on Alpha Chi’s passion for philanthropy throughout your life.

Making healthy financial decisions is not as hard as you might think. You, an Alpha Chi Omega sister, have learned many valuable lessons from our Ritual and values. You get the opportunity to carry these standards and values with you every single day and to apply them to many aspects of your life, including financial decisions.

About the Author:  Meredith Denton-Rines is Director of Marketing and a Financial Specialist at Dairel L. Denton, Jr. & Associates, an accounting and financial planning firm in Southeast Missouri. She enjoys working with women, helping them create an individualized plan to reach their life goals. Connect with Meredith on Twitter and on her blog merelynne.com.

0 comments

Lifelong Alpha Chi Omega

Amber (right) and Danae at the Rescue Ranch

Amber (right) and Danae at the Rescue Ranch

By Amber McMurray; Zeta Pi, Arizona State University

When I told my coworkers, family and friends that I was going to New Orleans on a service trip with my sorority, many of them were confused since I have already graduated college. I took this as an opportunity to explain to them how membership in a sorority is lifelong, and it’s a personal choice whether or not you want to stay involved. I also shared with them how I believe more women should be involved post-college. Alpha Chi Omega helped to make my life more complete while in college as I made life-long friends, served on the executive board and went on the inaugural Collegiate Global Service Initiative trip to Negril, Jamaica. Now, after being chosen to be a part of the inaugural Alumnae GSI trip, I’ve had the unique opportunity to get to know sisters of all ages and see what life is like as an Alpha Chi ten to forty years after college.

Coming on this trip, I had no expectations of the work we would be doing and I didn’t know much about New Orleans, but I was excited to learn about the city and discover how I could make a difference here. Upon arrival, I immediately began bonding with my sisters who were of all different ages and came from various parts of the country. We laughed and made memories while taking a tour of the city with a quite eccentric woman named Denise. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses while dry walling, insulating and mudding together.  And we watched one another step outside our comfort zones while mucking out horse stalls. Throughout the entire experience, we all had one thing on our mind; this is not about us, it’s about helping others. I know many women expected to directly help Hurricane Katrina survivors. And although it’s been 10 years and the people we helped are much better off than they once were, I feel that they really needed us and we really helped them. They, much like everyone else we met in New Orleans, had had their lives changed by Katrina and wanted nothing more than to put it behind them and move on. Seeing the strength and gratitude in those we helped and the determination in my sisters beside me proved that I did make a difference here and that I could continue to make a difference in my community and others.

The Alumnae GSI group at Rescue Ranch

The Alumnae GSI group at Rescue Ranch

This experience was much different than the one I had in Jamaica three years ago. My first GSI trip opened my mind up to the world around me, and gave me the opportunity to connect with 11 other women, my same age, who were going through similar life experiences as I was. This trip brought me closer to Alpha Chi Omega and showed me that I can be involved with this incredible network of women of all ages for the rest of my life. I wish other young alumnae could experience what I have this week and could see how Alpha Chi can continue to impact their lives if they just let it. If I can offer any advice to collegians, I would say stay involved after college, join an alumnae chapter, serve on a chapter’s advisory board and volunteer your time when you can. And to alumnae, I would encourage you to encourage any collegians you know, before they graduate, to stay involved once that fateful day comes. Alpha Chi Omega gives you the opportunity to make a difference every day and make the world a better place. All you have to do is want those things for yourself.

0 comments

A Million Memories

AGSI_Day4-blog

Maria with one of the horses at Rescue Ranch

By Maria McFarland; Epsilon Kappa, California State University – Fullerton

Today was our last day of service in New Orleans. Our two car caravan travelled to Rescue Ranch to help with their daily horse duties – mucking out horse stalls and brushing the horses. Miss Lorie created this ranch to help at risk youth and to take in abandoned and surrendered horses. I was definitely out of my comfort zone! We returned to Camp Restore for a much welcomed shower and to get ready for our dinner with the local New Orleans alumnae. Before we left we met for our daily reflection time, and were surprised by a visit from Ashley and Olivia from our Zeta Psi Chapter at Loyola University – New Orleans. They came bearing gifts – a king’s cake, Mardi Gras beads, red carnations and a personal thank you letter from the chapter president, Carrie Burke. We were overwhelmed with their graciousness and poise and their thoughtfulness in their gifts.

The Alumnae GSI group with Ashley & Olivia from Zeta Psi

The Alumnae GSI group with Ashley & Olivia from Zeta Psi

On to an authentic crawfish feast (wearing our new Mardi Gras beads) at Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar with the Gamma Omega Gamma Alumnae Chapter. This was another taste of true Southern Hospitality – with warm welcomes and numerous thanks from them for coming to their city to help. Little did they know we were the ones who were thankful for this wonderful opportunity. The platefuls of boiled crawfish were put in front of us and we learned very quickly how to eat those little red crustaceans, while enjoying lively conversation with our NOLA sisters. We all loved the fried green tomatoes too. As we departed, we were given bags filled with New Orleans specialties – pralines, Tabasco sauce, creole seasonings, magnets, coasters and another personal thank you note from the alumnae chapter.

What has this trip meant to me? A million memories with 11 amazing women who I barely knew four days ago, learning about a historic city and how the tragedy of Katrina impacted nearly everyone in this area and deepening my love for our bond. I am so glad I was selected to be a part of this inaugural Alumnae Global Service Initiative!

AGSI participants with Gamma Omega Gamma, New Orleans alumnae chapter, at the crawfish boil

AGSI participants with Gamma Omega Gamma, New Orleans alumnae chapter, at the crawfish boil

1 comments

What’s Your Dream?

By Megan Meyers; Phi, University of Kansas

GSI_day3

Maria, Megan, & Kristyn, the insulation team for the past two days

What’s your dream? About three years ago, every employee of the company I work for was asked to read “The Dream Manager,” by Mathew Kelly. He writes about the high percentage of turnover companies experience with their employees. His solution is to ask employees what their dreams are, and help them achieve those dreams via a company Dream Manager who is appointed to help everyone achieve their dreams. He found when employees are happy with their personal lives, they end up being better workers and more loyal to the company.

My co-workers and I meet with our Dream Manager on a regular basis and have a scheduled, company-wide weekly dream time. We were initially asked to write down 100 dreams (short, mid, and long term) and then we narrowed those down to five dreams on which to focus. Two of the dreams on my top five list are to visit all 50 states by the time I’m 50, and to do a service trip.  When the opportunity was announced for the Alumnae Global Service Trip, I jumped on the chance and applied without thinking twice. When I was accepted, it was literally a dream come true!

I packed my bags and showed up in New Orleans last Thursday, so excited that two of my dreams were becoming reality. But it wasn’t until our nightly discussion after our first day working on the house for Mark, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, that I realized this isn’t just about me and my dreams, this trip is also about other’s dreams. It’s not just about me getting to color another state in on my map, but it’s about being fortunate enough to help someone else achieve their dreams.AGSI_groupDay3-resize

Mark’s dream is to have a house for his family to live in for the next 30 years. In order to achieve that dream, he realized he needed to ask for help. This 31-year-old man had a dozen women, spanning 4 decades, help him insulate, drywall, tape and mud his house. What a lesson for all of us to learn; sometimes you have to set aside your pride, and not be afraid to ask for help to achieve your dreams. Through this experience I realized that by us helping Mark achieve his dreams, it was just as rewarding for us.

So I encourage you to think about your dreams… no dream is too big to too small. Who can be your Dream Manager? What do you need to do to achieve those dreams? And don’t be afraid ask for help.