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Another year with Alpha Chi Omega

Mallory ChurchBy Mallory Church
Delta Zeta, Central Michigan University

Last year when I got my job offer to be an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant I was beyond proud of myself and excited for my new adventure. However, when I shared my post-graduation plans, a common response I received sounded something like, “Oh you can’t let go? So, you’re basically going to be in Alpha Chi for an extra year?” Of course, I knew my year as a chapter consultant would be much different than my undergraduate experience, but what I didn’t expect was how much I would grow during my “extra year.”

In June when I started this journey, I had no idea what laid ahead; I was a little nervous but I was eager to get started. Now, I have only one month left in my “extra year” and my heart is so heavy knowing that this experience is wrapping up. My year as an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant has been one of the most incredible journeys of my life. In college, Alpha Chi Omega gave me opportunities to learn what it meant to be a real, strong woman. As a consultant, I have been given experiences to test that. Being a consultant has helped me become even stronger, more confident and proud to be an Alpha Chi Omega. This year has brought me even closer to the bond we share as Alpha Chi’s and I am so thankful for this experience. I not only gained 17 incredible consultant sisters but also the encouragement of the entire headquarters staff, the support of our incredible volunteer team and the friendship of many collegiate members. These real, strong women have not only supported me through the challenges I faced this year but they have celebrated my wins with me too. The women I have worked with on the road will always hold a very special place in my heart; I will forever cherish the laughs and memories we have shared.

There’s a very cheesy Dr. Suess quote I love, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” If you know me you know tears come easy, but I intend to spend my last month making the most of every moment so when it is all said and done, I have nothing but unforgettable memories (and happy tears). Senior members are also wrapping up their last year with Alpha Chi Omega. As you wrap up the year, join me in taking advantage of every opportunity with these 5 challenges:

I challenge you to…

  1. Give more: Even when you think you have given your all to your chapter, dig deeper. At the end of the year, it’s easy to pull back on your involvement but I challenge you to do just the opposite. Attend everything! It’s so easy to get caught up in classwork, job searching or even a good show… but I challenge you to spend more time with sisters! Take a study break during the week to go to a sisterhood event.
  2. Make a bucket list and cross off everything: The semester is not over yet and you still have time to enjoy this experience! Never studied at the local coffee shop? Pack your backpack and grab a sister! Your college town has been your home for 4 years and I promise you will miss it when you have to say goodbye. No matter where your college town is, there is something new to try! Adventure is out there…
  3. Build a new relationship: Take a newly initiated member out to lunch. There’s no stranger feeling than returning to your chapter as an alumna and only knowing half the members. Get to know the members in the newest class so you have someone to come back to in a few years!
  4. Be thankful for sisterhood: The women that you have met through your membership in Alpha Chi Omega will be your sisters for the rest of your life. You will never find women who will love, support, and challenge you like your Alpha Chi Omega sisters will. Take time over the next month to maintain these relationships! Send a letter to a sister you are grateful for, catch up with a sister you have not hung out with in a while or go on an adventure with a group of sisters (see challenge #2).
  5. Leave a legacy: Your time in the chapter may be coming to an end but you still have time to make a positive impact; I challenge you to leave a legacy that will be talked about for years to come. Be the senior member the rest of the chapter looks up to because you enjoyed a full four-year experience and filled your chapter with love, unselfishness and sincerity.

The best part about wrapping up this journey is what lies ahead. I cannot wait to find my next role to continue being a part of the incredible work that Alpha Chi Omega does. Graduating seniors, my last challenge for you is to find your next journey in Alpha Chi. Whether it is joining an alumnae chapter, supporting a chapter in an advisory board position, or finding a volunteer role; I challenge you all to continue to seek the heights with Alpha Chi Omega!

So, here’s to finishing our last semester together; may it be full of sisterhood, adventure and – if you’re anything like me – lots and lots of coffee!

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The Consultant Position – What Your Parents Want to Know

Arianna BradleyBy Arianna  (Maggard) Bradley
Kappa Xi, University of West Florida
Associate Director – Consultant Training & Volunteer Support
Traveling Consultant 2012-13

As many of you are finishing up your time in college, you might be thinking, “There is no way I’m ready for this whole ‘adulting’ thing!” And when a problem or question comes up about insurance, 401Ks or job interviews your first call is likely to your parents or family members. In my case, my mom – she is the SMARTEST lady I know and she always has my best interests at heart. So when I was considering applying for the chapter consultant position in 2011, I picked up the phone and asked my mom if she thought it was a good idea. As it turned out, she had a lot of great questions about the position, and talking about the opportunity with her helped me solidify my desire to pursue this career. She may not have known what in the world this job was exactly, but she asked all the right questions. And after reading materials on the website, social media posts and the Consultant Chronicles blog, I was prepared to answer them.

I was a first-generation college student, which means I was the first in my family to attend college. That also means that my parents were not members of a fraternity or sorority. This added an extra layer to our conversation about the position because I first had to help them understand what “big Alpha Chi” looked like before we could talk about the job.

The first question my mom asked was, “What even is a chapter consultant?”

[First, the “big Alpha Chi” breakdown.] I explained that Alpha Chi Omega headquarters is just like any other business. There is a board of directors (our National Council) and a hierarchy of staff members who keep the company running. Our collegiate chapters are like our organization’s franchises – locally managed by our collegiate members and alumnae advisory boards. And to my mom’s question: the consultant role in this analogy would be the staff members who work to ensure the franchises are all compliant with the mission, values, policies and standards of the company. They collect data through meetings and observations, analyze the information they receive and provide action plans for continual improvement. Our consultants even play a role in starting up “new franchises” when we start a new chapter on a college campus. Sometimes just putting the sorority and consultant role into business terms helps those unfamiliar with the Greek system really understand the work we do. I know this helped get my mom on board, in particular, because businesses and franchises were things she understood!

Then the next question came… “Is that a full-time position and a real job?”

My mom works for a law firm and so she got right down to business when talking about the consultant role: is it a full-time, professional job? I was pleased to share with her that, YES, consultants are full-time professionals who receive a competitive benefit package. What does the package look like? Well, the consultant position is unique. Not only are you compensated for the work you do, you also have your meals, lodging and travel covered by Alpha Chi Omega. Coupled with the personal and professional benefits of the job, this package was something I couldn’t refuse. My mom was so impressed that I would have the opportunity to not only build up my savings account with my living expenses covered in this role but also build my network across the country before moving onto my next position.

Now that she was ariannaon board with the notion that this really was a pretty great career move, she asked perhaps the most important question: “Well, why do you want to do this?”

Everyone has their own “why,” and it was important that I was able to articulate my “why” to my mom. I told her that I was passionate about my Alpha Chi Omega experience, I wanted to give back to an organization that gave me so much and I wanted to gain the skills that I saw other consultants bring to my chapter. The consultants who visited my chapter during my time as a collegian (looking at you, Kelsey Seitz and Laura Nelson Osepchuck) were rock-star young professionals and really cool women! I wanted to be just like them, and I wanted a job that would develop me into that kind of woman. They were confident, independent, hard-working and could problem-solve through anything. They were never afraid of a difficult conversation and could remain tactful and poised through any conflict. I knew that those skills would benefit me in any future profession because I would learn to sharpen by communication and critical thinking skills.

I’m sure my mom would agree that being a chapter consultant was the best first job I could have had; better than I had ever imagined. The consultant position helped me land a paid internship in California the summer before I started a graduate program. I received a master’s degree from Florida State University, where I remained connected to Alpha Chi Omega as a volunteer. My mom was thrilled when I told her I had the opportunity to return to staff in my current role. People always say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” My mom knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to follow my heart and continue my career with Alpha Chi Omega because I would be growing as a professional, while having a ton of fun working for an organization I care so much about.

Maggard-Bradley Wedding

Maggard-Bradley Wedding with AXO Consultant Sisters and Volunteers

Maggard-Bradley Wedding with AXO Consultant Sisters and Volunteers

This summer, my mom was able to meet my consultant sisters who traveled from near and far for my wedding. It was then that she realized that being a consultant wasn’t just the best professional job after college, but that it brought more joy, love and sisterhood to my life than any of us could have expected.

If you are considering applying for the consultant position, your family is likely part of your decision. I hope this post helps give you more information to share. Over the years, we have also had several parents write posts for this blog about their daughter’s choice to become a consultant. Here are some of their thoughts and links to those original posts for further reading!

“It was never easy, sometimes it was very difficult, but not once did we ever hear any doubt in our daughter’s voice about the decision she made, or the passion she felt about her job as a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega. As a matter of fact, we became more and more convinced that her decision to become a consultant was absolutely the right thing. Alessia’s growths personally, professionally and spiritually were apparent: we knew without a doubt that she could not have had a better opportunity as a new college graduate.”

– Anna and John Satterfield
Parents of Alessia Satterfield
Region 4 Traveling Consultant 2011-2012

Read more from the Satterfields

 

“It became a favorite family pastime to hear the stories she had to tell from the places she had visited. We couldn’t believe some of the challenges and firsts she was experiencing…After hearing all of the different skills she was developing as chapter consultant we knew that this role could take her anywhere, it was just a matter of figuring out where she wanted to be.”

– Valerie and Giancarlo Magliocchetti
Parents of Maree Magliocchetti
Region 1 Traveling Consultant and Nationwide Traveling Consultant 2013-2015

Read more from the Magliocchettis

 

“If Jennifer had the chance to do the consulting job over again, would we encourage her?  ABSOLUTELY!  With no reservations! She developed lifelong skills, experiences and friendships she will never forget and that will serve her well in the future.  Every college graduate should pursue a job like this to give them the professional skills everyone needs in life.

– Janet and Scott Harrison
Parents of Jennifer Vasquez
Resident Consultant at High Point University 2011-2012 and Region 3 Traveling Consultant 2012-2013

Read more from the Harrisons

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and use this time with family to talk about your future career opportunities! We look forward to receiving your submission. Start your application today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fast Growth

Brittney ScealsBy Brittney Sceals
Iota Chi, Middle Tennessee State University
Director of New Business Development at Education Advisory Board and 2012-13 Alpha Chi Omega Traveling Consultant

Looking back on myself five years ago, finding a job after college and having a firm next step in my career seemed like the most important task I would ever be assigned. I tried to create checklist after checklist to analyze my options and establish a formula for making these decisions—I nearly drove myself, my friends and my family insane.

A couple of years later, while reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, I stumbled across what ended up being one of the greatest pieces of career advice I’ve ever received and a solution to my constant career anxiety. Early in the book, Sandberg recalls a conversation she had with previous Google CEO Eric Schmidt, where Schmidt tells her “only one criterion mattered when picking a job—fast growth.” I hate to be hyperbolic in saying that this advice from a complete stranger changed my life, but it is not hyperbole to say that it completely reframed how I have evaluated the steps that followed in my career.

If you find yourself reading this, I hope it is because you are considering applying to be a chapter consultant. But regardless of your career trajectory, I hope this piece of advice is as helpful to you as it was to me: Always take the career option that provides you the greatest opportunity for growth. And I can say with confidence, after serving as a chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, that there are few jobs out there in the entry-level terrain that will provide you with a greater opportunity for professional and personal growth.

While I could write for days about my experience as a chapter consultant and how I grew from it, I’ll leave you with two ways serving in this capacity for Alpha Chi Omega provided me with the greatest opportunity for growth I could have imagined—specifically growth as a professional and growth as an Alpha Chi Omega. I hope that if you are considering the chapter consultant job as your first post-collegiate career move, this will encourage you to dive head first into the opportunity. I think you will be hard-pressed to find a job at this stage in your life that will serve you better in this way.

Growth as a Professional

When my year as a chapter consultant was coming to a close, much like I had done in preparation for college graduation, I started worrying about what came next all over again. But what I didn’t realize was how much more poised for the workforce I was this time around.

From my personal observations, when most past chapter consultants summarize their experience, the most measurable growth they report having seen in themselves is the long list of skills they have gained—skills that proved to set them apart from other candidates when they moved on to search for their next job. My experience was no different. Still to this day, I credit my experience as a chapter consultant with my ability to adjust to sudden changes, solve problems and respond gracefully to challenging situations, and to communicate confidently and eloquently with professionals of all ages—and the list goes on.

One of the most valuable skills I took away from my time as a chapter consultant was my ability to rethink my approach to risks. The consultant job required me to step so far out of my comfort zone—walking into a room to teach a workshop about our Ritual and seeing 300 unfamiliar faces, traveling across the country alone for weeks at a time and completing my first job with great autonomy, walking up to a complete a stranger on a college campus to ask her if I could tell her more about the new sisterhood we were starting from scratch, being the sole person responsible for finding a solution when something inevitably goes wrong between recruitment rounds. While I didn’t really see it in myself at the time, I understand now that there were very few things a new employer could have asked me to do that I wasn’t prepared for coming off of that experience, and I have no problem arguing that few other first jobs would have primed me as a young professional for the workforce in the same degree this job did.

Growth as an Alpha Chi Omega

The hope I have for every single Alpha Chi Omega woman is that she will leave her collegiate experience a better person than when she received her bid card, and that the ideals of the organization will have provided her a roadmap for how to live a more meaningful life. I thought I believed in these ideals of Alpha Chi Omega when I graduated from college, but becoming a chapter consultant vastly widened that perception.

I saw firsthand that the values of our organization reach so much further than the 100 women I called my sisters in college. Alpha Chi was providing a safe space for women to find their voices, realize their potential and become leaders all across the country. I was given the opportunity daily to look at a woman and tell her I believed in her abilities when she wasn’t yet sure she believed in them herself. I experienced the selflessness and love the women in this organization were immediately willing to show to me, even though I was a complete stranger. I was, quite literally, moved to tears on so many occasions by seeing the difference the organization was making in hundreds of young women’s lives.

Through these types of experiences, my belief in the relevance of sorority and my appreciation for a much larger Alpha Chi Omega than I had known before grew exponentially. And because of these experiences, I strive each day to be a better alumna, a better volunteer and a better sister than I would have had the understanding to become had I not seen the experience from this vantage point.

And lastly, this wouldn’t be a Consultant Chronicles post if I didn’t add a warm and fuzzy plug. The ways I grew from my chapter consultant experience are infinite, but what I also want each of you to know is that I truly believe there are very few career opportunities you will find out there that will allow you to wake up each day and feel like you are directly impacting the lives and futures of thousands of women. In this job, not every day will be sunshine and rainbows. Admittedly, some of them will feel impossibly hard. But rest assured that, should this be the journey you choose to take, you will be able to reach out and touch the thing you are shaping and the lives you are changing, you will go on the best adventures and you’ll be amazed at the things you will learn about yourself and about this sisterhood.

Don’t miss the chance to apply for this one-of-a-kind opportunity. The link is live, so apply today!

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Lollipop Moments

April_PfeiferBy April Pfeifer
Alpha Lambda, University of Minnesota
Traveling Consultant

“How many of you guys have a lollipop moment? A moment where someone said something or did something that you feel fundamentally made your life better?” Drew Dudley asks this question in his 2010 Ted Talk, “Leading with Lollipops.”

When you are a part of a Greek organization, we all have lollipop moments that reassure us of our decision to join. I think this can be said for being a chapter consultant as well. This job is full of highs and lows, but it is those small moments that reaffirm why we do this job.

A couple weeks ago, I was able to visit the women of Delta Lambda. I had spent time with them back in January for recruitment so it was so special to be back with them for their initiation. The week was spent talking about Leo’s Oscar win, crafting for big/little reveal and laughing in the commons over meals. While all of these things filled me with joy, it was the night that I arrived in Wisconsin that stuck out to me.

My flight landed in Milwaukee at 11:15 on a Friday night. The chapter is about an hour and a half away from the airport so it isn’t the shortest drive to come and pick me up. On top of it all, it decided to snow upon my arrival and that area of the state was under a winter weather advisory. Something that collegians don’t always realize is how much we rely on them to get through each day, whether it’s for meals or transportation. I’m not one who likes to ask others to host me, so naturally I began to feel guilty about how my arrival was playing out and how I was inconveniencing the chapter. Yet despite the time, weather and road conditions, the chapter still managed to meet me at the airport with so much energy that it truly made me feel as if I were a sister of Delta Lambda.

Collegians only see the time you spend with them and don’t always know what’s emotionally going on behind the scenes. Because of this, the gestures are genuine and carry more meaning. To the women of Delta Lambda, thank you for giving me my lollipop moment at a time when I needed it most. You reminded me why I continue to do my job when the days get hard. It isn’t because I travel to a new location each week, it is because I am able to foster some of the most beautiful relationships with intelligent, witty and kind-hearted women who understand what sisterhood is.

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Student Trustee Perspectives

Each year, four collegians are selected to serve on the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation Board of Trustees. Student trustees have the opportunity to get involved with Alpha Chi Omega on a national level while serving as the voices for our collegiate membership.

We had the opportunity to sit down with this year’s student trustees to learn more about their experiences.

BOT_student_HollyPyper_web

Holly Pyper
Beta, Albion College

What made you interested in becoming a student trustee?

Holly Pyper: I wanted to become a student trustee because I wanted to get as much as I could out of my time as an undergraduate woman. I saw this position as a way to grow professionally and give back to our organization in a meaningful way. I didn’t realize that in addition to those benefits, I’d build deep friendships with women across the country.

Kelsey Montgomery: I was most interested in sharing the collegiate perspective with the Foundation board and being able to help chapters and officers with Foundation-related questions.

After applying to serve as a student trustee, what was the interview process like?

BOT_student_ElizabethKemins_web

Lizzie Kemins
Psi, University of Oklahoma

Lizzie Kemins: The interview process consisted of an application and an interview. I remember being nervous for the interview because I looked up the members of the board of trustees and seeing the prestigious women I would be speaking to, but on the phone it was just like a normal conversation. They made me feel very important and it was so cool to see that these women really cared what I had to say!

As a student trustee, you are the collegiate voice to the leaders of our Fraternity – your voice matters! I’m sure you’re busy with class, applying for jobs and figuring out life after college. What is the time commitment to serving as a student trustee?

Kelly Suntrup: The time commitment is about the same as serving in an executive board position. I previously served on the executive board for three years, so I was really excited to have something new but still related to Alpha Chi Omega to fill my time!

You’ve been doing this for a year; looking back, what have you learned from this experience?

Holly Pyper: Where should I begin? Getting an up-close understanding of how an organization functions is really enlightening. Beyond my new appreciation for Alpha Chi Omega, this understanding will prove helpful in almost any organization. Additionally, practicing communication skills in this unique setting is very helpful. It’s hard to sum up what I’ve learned because my supervisors have been really great at communicating with us, the student trustees, to see what we want to learn. Our projects grow and adapt depending on what we want to explore and learn next.

And looking into the future, what have you learned that will help you after graduation?

Kelsey Montgomery

Kelsey Montgomery
Iota Sigma, Southern Methodist University

Lizzie Kemins: Not everyone gets to say they were a board of trustees member at age 20, but I do. I now have experience seeing how a successful Foundation is run. I’ve gotten to learn the technical parts of a board that I never really thought about. I have also gotten to learn how to engage with people about donations. Most importantly to me, though, I’ve been exposed to alumnae who are successful and used their time as collegiate members to the fullest extent. As a senior in her last semester, that is priceless.

Kelsey Montgomery: One of my favorite memories as a student trustee was when I had the chance to attend the 2014 National Convention in Palm Desert, California. Attending convention in it of itself was amazing, but getting to know members of the Foundation Board of Trustees and the National Council was equally if not more impactful. These women are some of the truest examples of what being an Alpha Chi Omega is all about, and they graciously donate their time to make sure our organization is just as strong 20 years from now as it is today.

Kelly Suntrup Delta Chi, William Woods University

Kelly Suntrup
Delta Chi, William Woods University

Kelly Suntrup: My favorite memory so far was when some of the board of trustees members flew all the way to St. Louis to catch me up on what I missed at the first meeting. I really appreciated how important they made me feel.

With the application deadline approaching for the next group of student trustees, why should someone apply?

Holly: You should apply for this position because it’s an incredibly unique learning opportunity. Simply observing the function of the board of trustees is a great educational experience. However, it’s more than observation—actually participating in discussion and having your own projects makes the position even richer. Also, the connections and friendships you make will last a lifetime and certainly prove helpful in any walk of life. But most importantly, you’ll be doing meaningful work that gives back to your sisters and helps support our philanthropy. I’ve never felt so good about the work I’ve done and gotten so much from an experience before my time as a student trustee.

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Starting on Cloud Eight…

web_Catherine_GeanonBy: Catherine Geanon
Alpha Chi, Bulter University
Region One, Traveling Consultant

Imagine this: it is October training back at headquarters for the chapter consultants who travel to established chapters across the country. We have been on the road for 12 weeks, visiting a new chapter every week. After 6-10 weeks of recruitment visits and 2-6 weeks of chapter management visits, we are suddenly reunited with the only people in the world who understand our lifestyle. It is an emotional reunion, one filled with laughter and tears. We reminisce for hours immediately following our reunion, as we share a multitude of stories – weird, funny, sad, infuriating and inspiring.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, part of the storytelling would include a workshop facilitated by our supervisor during which she asked, “When you describe your position to others, how do you describe it? What do you tell family and friends who ask you why you decided to become a chapter consultant?” Long story short, many of us responded in a similar fashion, “It’s more than a dream job. It’s an opportunity to work with real, strong women across the country and to give back to an organization that gave us so much in college. To empower women across the country and help them to become the best version of themselves is a profoundly personal journey, too. Each day we conquer our own fears and challenge ourselves to become the women who we always wanted to be.”

Fast forward to December training. All of the consultants are reunited for the first time – both traveling and resident consultants this time – since we either hit the road or moved to our respective resident locations last. As we sit together in a professional development workshop led by our supervisors, we are asked to find a job description for our dream jobs. As we do this, I realize that the hard and soft skills that we learn and refine as consultants are completely transferable to all of our future careers, whatever they might be. More significantly, though, each of us has gained considerable insight into defining and identifying the potential career paths and opportunities that are unique to our self-fulfillment.

During this workshop, I realized that I could live a life full of wonder, inspiration, passion, service, meaningful relationships, and yes, my fair share of adversity (which hopefully results in resilience and growth). I am a chapter consultant and an aspiring physician’s assistant, and each day I am amazed at how much this position has taught me about finding what I call “my employment feng shui.” I was carefully, and intentionally, placed by Alpha Chi Omega as a travelling consultant for region one. In the future when I look for the right physician’s assistant position, I will similarly seek out my personal employment feng shui – a combination of all of the right workplace factors (i.e. the physician, support staff, patient population and amount of potential positional satisfaction). I appreciate daily the effort and thought that was put into placing me in my current position. I hope to apply a similar level of skill and expertise when I am searching for my best fit as a physician’s assistant.

Looking back on my time thus far as a chapter consultant, I have created a list of the practical and sometimes profoundly personal steps that will help me to once again find the best position for me:

  1. Start with “why”: By learning to start conversations with the “why” as opposed to the “what” or “how,” it is possible to understand the true meaning behind actions and behaviors. Why do I want to be a physician’s assistant? Why do I want one position instead of another? In order for me to start with why, I must ask myself what motivates me? How have I found fulfillment and inspiration in other positions that I’ve had?
  2. Find a mentor: Although this may seem self-evident, it can be a challenge to find the balance of traits needed in a mentor – someone who is knowledgeable, honest and supportive. I must do the proper research: who do I know that is a physician’s assistant? Does s/he possess the qualities and expertise that I seek in a mentor? Can this person both challenge and support me?
  3. Know your love language: At first glance, it may seem odd to use this terminology to reference a career since the original intent behind knowing one’s love language was for amorous purposes. But, let me explain what I mean. During consultant training this past summer, we each determined our love language. I learned that my love language is words of affirmation. Can I find a career and a position in which I can receive words of affirmation as my form of praise? Absolutely! In my current position, my motivation is driven by members and chapters that reveal the impact I have made; if I can guide one officer’s leadership development and a woman tells me that I have done so, then I feel that my efforts were worthwhile and meaningful. In the future, I see these words of affirmation coming from patients who I treat, colleagues with whom I work, and the physician(s) who oversee my work.  I am hopeful that I can find a practice opportunity where my co-workers and I can understand each person’s love language enough to create a supportive and productive work environment.
  4. Focus upon realistic optimism: When searching for the right position, it is important for me to remember to remain realistic and optimistic; rather than focusing upon the positions I don’t want, I need to find the ones I do want. It is so much easier to describe what I don’t want in a position than it is to determine what exactly I do want. Realistic optimism can be achieved in various ways. I have found the journey of a chapter consultant to be both incredibly challenging and rewarding; and thus, I must be able to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to overcome the latter. I must also be adaptable and appreciate adversity because I cannot be prepared for every situation, person or behavior I will encounter. Paralleling the unknown that is encountered, I must also remember to set realistic goals. For me, a career that is easy is not necessarily fulfilling. I must ask myself, “Are my goals and my ideal position realistic for me to accomplish/attain? Is it realistic for me to work certain hours? Does a position offer the benefits I am seeking?”
  5. Find an opportunity…not a job: I absolutely love that being a chapter consultant is more than a job. It’s an opportunity. Yes, I do get paid to travel to chapters across the nation, meet women I am able to inspire and who inspire me and I have the potential to create change in a chapter and influence lives. But these incredible benefits result from an opportunity, not a job. I choose not to view this position or any position in the future as merely a “job” because there is often a negative connotation associated with that term. I am seeking a lifetime opportunity in which I can positively impact others, create change and encounter experiences that consistently help me to become the best version of myself.
  6. Seek a position that you can “grow with” rather than “grow into”: For me, a dream position is one which I find challenging, stimulating and ultimately, doable. A position for which I have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to understand or accomplish effectively, or one that I consistently feel is not feasible is not the one for me. Since I am interested in family practice, my ideal position is also one in which I can achieve employment longevity.
  7. Start on Cloud 8: Ultimately, my ideal physician’s assistant position is similar to my current position as a chapter consultant. I must find an opportunity that is fulfilling and stimulating as-is; this is cloud eight. I must also find an opportunity that has “Aha!” or ”Wow!” moments, moments that catapult regular feelings of satisfaction to those of euphoria; this is cloud nine. Finding a position or opportunity that is always perfect – one in which I am always on cloud nine – is impossible. What I can find instead is a position that helps me to reach cloud nine as frequently as possible.

I know how to reach my cloud eight. Do you?

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Take a Moment

web_Haleigh_RobertsBy: Haleigh Robers
Delta Zeta, Central Michigan University
Resident Consultant – Loyola Marymount University

With one of the most beloved American holidays, Thanksgiving, right around the corner, there’s no doubt that our minds are filled with anxious thoughts. Whether it’s anticipating a much-needed break or already tasting the Thanksgiving Day menu, I can see the urgency in everyone’s faces for the holiday to arrive.

As a chapter consultant, being on a college schedule comes with the territory, so I still mirror this anticipation felt by students all across the country. Although I can cook for myself, I’m ready for a home-cooked meal. Although I call my Mom almost every day, I’m ready to fly those 2,032 miles and be surrounded by family again.  And yes, although I love my job, like anyone, I’m ready for a relaxing break!

As it is with many holidays, we tend to get preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes, we forget what the holidays are truly about amidst the agendas, the planning, the food and the parties.

Thanksgiving sometimes gets overlooked as that one holiday that falls between Halloween and Christmas, but the beauty of Thanksgiving is that, in its simplest form, it’s a day devoted to giving thanks, gratitude and appreciation.

I have always been grateful for Alpha Chi Omega. During my collegiate years, my chapter gave me a home away from home, some of my best friends, personal development, leadership opportunities and endless experiences and memories that I will forever refer to as the best four years of my life.

After becoming a consultant, however, I have exponentially added to my gratitude list. In this position, I’ve learned a few things. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work for an organization that I love and meet other women who love it too. I am lucky enough to work with some of the best women I have ever met, and even luckier that they are my sisters and my support system. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to give back to an organization that changed my life in amazing ways. Alpha Chi Omega has provided me a world of opportunity, and none of it would be possible without the women who came before me and the women today who work so hard to see Alpha Chi live up to everything it is meant to be.

So this Thanksgiving I ask you to do one thing; when you start to feel that anxious feeling to get home and away from it all, pause and reflect on everything you have to be thankful for. We waste so much time wanting to get to the next place instead of taking a moment to send some gratitude into the world.

“To appreciate every little service rendered; to see and appreciate all that is noble in another…” – words of wisdom from our very own symphony. If there are sisters you are thankful for, let them know. I know I’ll be doing just that this Thanksgiving holiday.

Thank you, Alpha Chi Omega, for all the wonderful things you’ve given so many women over the years to be thankful for.

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Where Alpha Chi Can Take You

Maree_webBy: Maree Maglioccheti
Alpha Tau, University of New Hampshire

Private Banker Advisory Associate, Morgan Stanley

The benefits of becoming a chapter consultant are endless. This experience of a lifetime equipped me with a unique and particular set of skills and knowledge (not to sound like Liam Neeson from Taken) that opened up professional windows and doors, which allowed me to land a job I probably wouldn’t have without this position. Through this journey I became a better version of myself, physically, mentally and professionally. This better version of Maree, paired with the support of sisters nationwide, made for a powerful combination that allowed me to choose my next desired career move. Finance is where I found my home, yet the possibilities of where I could go after serving as a chapter consultant were limitless. This is evidenced by the various disciplines where you will find consultant alumnae such as law, higher education, medical industry, sales and a plethora of other impressive examples. So what is it about this position that leads to so many opportunities? Allow me to articulate the professional value of this unique experience the best way I know how, through my story of how I went from uncertain senior majoring in history to chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega to working in financial advising at Morgan Stanley.

Three years ago I was a senior majoring in history at the University of New Hampshire, and for the first time throughout my collegiate career I was unsure of my next move. I had always assumed I would go onto law school, but after a summer internship at a firm it dawned on me that law school might not be the right fit. So there I found myself, a ‘type-A planner’ in uncharted waters of uncertainty. It was then that a trusted role model suggested I look into the chapter consultant opportunity. I hadn’t even realized such an opportunity existed, it felt like I had found the perfect pair of Tory Burch shoes on super sale. A job opportunity traveling the country working for an organization that had brought me so much joy as an undergraduate, what else could I ask for?

Well, I got far more than I could have asked for; here are just a few of my favorites…

Experience working with all different types of people: As a chapter consultant you meet different people every week and have the opportunity to work and build relationships with collegians, volunteers and higher education professionals, from all different demographics. You never know where life will take you, and having experience working with all types of people allows you to be incredibly adaptable in any work environment. This ability has served me well in my current role in financial advising where I work with different types of people every day.

Developing the most important relationship of them all: In the words of the great Carrie Bradshaw, “the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself…”  Of course for much of your journey as a chapter consultant, you are surrounded by incredible sisters who make you feel at home wherever you go. That said, there is only one person on whom you can rely to be there though it all: yourself. Traveling as a chapter consultant you often find yourself in unfamiliar places, trying new things and growing every day. In embarking on this journey, away from everything that I had ever known, I was able to better understand myself, what I enjoyed, what my strengths were, what I wanted to accomplish and what made me happy. It took traveling elsewhere for me to realize how much I loved and missed my New England home. I found law wasn’t for me but rather the stock market and finance that peaked my interest. Only after better understanding myself, was I able to decide where I wanted to go professionally and truly see all that I had to offer.

Independence: Before I started traveling as a chapter consultant I had never even rented a car. After my two years I could navigate through any airport, city, college campus, etc. I was able to rely on myself in ways I hadn’t before. Independence is attractive in any profession. The way I see it, if I can rely on myself to navigate my way around the country, there are few things that I can’t navigate my way around.

Even Tom Brady Can’t Win Alone…Teamwork: As I mentioned, independence is attractive in any profession and so is its cousin, teamwork. Fortunately, as a consultant you get experience in both. Whether it’s with other consultant sisters, volunteers, headquarters staff or collegians, consultants have numerous opportunities to develop their ability to work on a team.

Cultured: The idea of “becoming more cultured” is so often associated with the knowledge one gains when they travel abroad. Yet I would argue that there is so much to learn in our own vast backyard. As a consultant I saw some of the natural wonders of our country, including the evergreens of Oregon, the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi river and the Pacific Ocean. I expanded my palette beyond my wildest dreams, from In-N-Out Burger to New Orleans crawfish, from Kansas City BBQ to Nashville hot chicken. I explored countless cities, towns and college and university campuses and I was able to meet and work with people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Everyday presented an opportunity to see or try new things, and I experienced in my two years what some people would be lucky to do in a lifetime; not to mention I got to do it with sisters for an organization I love, enough said right? While enjoying myself on the tour de Alpha Chi Omega, I also gained a better understanding of what it means to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” Make no mistake I have not seen it all, but I did see quite a bit, which has allowed me to connect with people in a way I was unable to do before. Learning more about the culture of America has given me a leg up in building rapport in interviews, with clients, peers and people in general. To put it another way, I gained a vast amount of good ole life experience, and that never goes out of style

Renaissance woman: As a chapter consultant you are a Jane of all trades, a true Renaissance woman. You work in a number of disciplines, from finance to marketing, from sales to leadership; the list goes on and on. You participate in one on one and group meeting atmospheres; you facilitate workshops, develop your public speaking and exercise your ability to think critically 24/7. You become a professional chameleon. Not only that but you are also able to either taste-test what you really enjoy, if you don’t know already, or further confirm what it is that you are passionate about.

Strength of our sisters: The skills and experience I have described enabled me to stand out from the rest in a sea of applicants in this competitive job market, but what got me to cross the finish line was the fact that I had the strength of my sisters behind me. It was my sisters who put me in touch with people who helped me better understand industries in which I was interested through informational interviews. It was our sisters on headquarters staff who helped me to further develop my résumé, interview skills and better understand all I had to offer professionally. It was our consultant and collegiate sisters who were some of my greatest cheerleaders. It was our sisters who, through their own accomplishments and endeavors, inspired me to continue to seek the heights. As I have mentioned before, our sisters nationwide are marvelous, so if they believed I could do anything, the smart choice would be to follow suit. Thanks to the chapter consultant position and the support of our sisters, I am exactly where I want to be, happy, in a profession I am excited about, in a city I love.

So maybe you know what you want to do after college or maybe you don’t, maybe there are opportunities you want to explore but aren’t sure if you have what it takes; whatever your situation may be, I urge you to consider applying to be a chapter consultant. If you’re like me, Alpha Chi Omega changed your collegiate experience for the better, why not see where it can take YOU after graduation?

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The Road Almost Not Traveled

Devon YamauchiBy Devon Yamauchi
Nu chapter, University of Colorado
Chapter Consultant 2012-2013

Growing up with two lawyers as parents and watching a lot of Law and Order SVU, I thought I was destined to become a lawyer. Halfway through my third year of law school at the University of Virginia, I am frighteningly close to that goal. (Of course, there’s still the whole passing-the-bar thing, but one obstacle at a time.) Given this clear goal, you might have thought I would have gone straight through college and into law school. But I didn’t—and it’s because I joined Alpha Chi Omega.

I won’t go on about what this organization means to me. I’ve said it before on this very blog, and many of my sisters have said it better. Suffice it to say that it changed my life and helped me become the woman I wanted to be. But my experience would not have been complete without serving for a year as a chapter consultant.

I spent the better part of the fall semester of my senior year agonizing over what to do when I graduated. I had taken the LSAT, my grades were where I needed them to be, I could get my letters of recommendation easily. In short, I was in a good position to apply to law schools. But something just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to law school; I did. But I also knew that all the same schools would be there next year, and once I started down that road, the opportunity to become a consultant would be gone.

So I did what I normally do and called my parents. I expected resistance. I expected them to be worried about what impact this might have on my future, whether I was having second thoughts about law school or that they might think this was me being afraid of the future and trying to hold onto something familiar. When I called, I was prepared to deal with any of those responses. What I was not prepared for was their easy acceptance and encouragement. “It sounds like a great opportunity,” my mom said. “Law school will be there next year,” said my dad. When I asked why they were so supportive, they told me it was because they had seen how much I had grown since joining Alpha Chi as a sophomore, and they understood my desire to give back to the organization that had given me so much.

After that, I did what I realized I had wanted to do all along: I applied. I got to go to headquarters for the very first time for my call-back interview. I received and accepted the offer to be a traveling consultant for Region 3. I flew off to Indy for training and met the most amazing colleagues and sisters you could ask for. And then I started my travels.

At the beginning of my very first visit, I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone. I realized I was the person more than two hundred young women were looking to for answers. I was the first line of defense for any emergencies. And who was I? A very newly graduated college student who’d had five weeks of training. I wasn’t much older than many of these women and not much more experienced. But, there was a job to be done and it was my job to do it. So I put on my makeup and heels to convince myself that I was a confident consultant, just like the other sisters who had visited my chapter and somehow managed to save the day with unflappable grace. I don’t know how graceful I was—my lovely sisters from that first chapter I visited may have their own ideas. But we pulled through it together and I remember fighting back tears when I said my goodbyes.

It was on the plane, the first time I’d had only myself for company in the last two weeks, that I had time to reflect on the visit. This was the first time in my life that I had truly been in charge and ultimately responsible. It had been daunting, but I had done it. I could do it again. It was through this experience that I learned to have confidence in myself, in my abilities, in my judgment and in my own self-worth. With each new visit, I learned new lessons, faced new challenges and continued to grow that confidence.

While I learned a great deal about people, met incredible women, traveled the country and had an amazing time, it is what I learned about myself that made the experience invaluable. Whether consultants go on to work in higher education, become lawyers, become executives or any other career you can imagine, it’s the confidence we learned to have in ourselves, and in our judgment, that gives us the strength to succeed.

Transitioning from college to the “real world” is hard. You wonder if you’re really ready. You wonder what the world will throw at you and if you can handle it. For me, taking a year to learn about myself was what I needed to walk through those law school doors confident that, no matter what, I would be able to make my way in the world.

And of course, I had the time of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Not Just a Statistic

web_Ashley_StrawserBy: Ashley Strawser
Beta Eta, Florida State University
Resident Consultant – University of Kentucky

As Alpha Chi Omegas, we know that one in four women are affected by domestic violence. That statistic increases to one out of three women affected in college.  We all know the statistics, but do we ever really take the time to think about what those numbers mean? I never really grasped the statistics until we began recolonizing the Delta Omega chapter at the University of Kentucky. During our recolonization process, we talk about what Alpha Chi Omega stands for, what we value and what we support. In my interactions with potential new members, one topic in particular would frequently surface: Alpha Chi Omega’s support of domestic violence awareness. Whether these women were personally affected, had a family member or friend affected by domestic violence or had heard about domestic violence in the media, many of the women interested in Alpha Chi Omega had some sort of connection to our philanthropy.

During our sisterhood retreat a few weeks ago, we had the members do a “fireside chat,” where they shared a story about something that happened in their life to make them who they are today. As we went around the room, some of the women openly shared stories of how domestic violence has affected them and how they have overcome it. It was in this very moment that it hit me that the one in four statistic is a reality.  These women are not a statistic, however. They are real and they are strong. Sharing such personal stories is not easy, especially with 250 new sisters, but these women are brave and their sisters are accepting.

This fireside conversation helped me get to know the founding class of the Delta Omega chapter of Alpha Chi Omega on a deeper level than I ever imagined. Many of the stories told that night took courage to share, and I truly admire every woman who opened up to her new sisters. I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to help these amazing women find their home at the University of Kentucky, and they all hold a special place in my heart.