Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

The official blog of Alpha Chi Omega

Browsing category: Collegians, The Consultant Chronicles

Inside the Business of Empowering Women By Callie Smith, Beta Nu chapter, University of Utah

I landed in Tucson, AZ, picked up my three suitcases, and began to slowly navigate my way to the curb.  I was met by a friendly chapter advisor and was on my way to officially begin my first visit as a chapter consultant. I was both nervous and excited to start this new chapter in my life.  I arrived at the house and was immediately welcomed by a hug from the chapter president.  I knew this was the first of many moments that would make me fall in love with this job over and over again the next month and year to come.

However, the real work did not begin until I walked in, introduced myself and was immediately met by a recruitment question.  There is no way to accurately describe the feeling you get when a group of 200 women turns around to look at you and expects you to know the answer to their question five minutes into the job.  Here was to hoping the six weeks of training paid off!  And you know what? They did.

I may not always have an immediate answer to the questions that are asked of me, but through training and having the opportunity to work alongside other chapter consultants as well as headquarters staff, I have gained the critical thinking skills and confidence needed to work through any problem that arises.  In just this short month I have sat down with executive board officers and members at large to find solutions and implement new ideas that work for their chapters.

Sometimes people tease that I never truly graduated from college, and while I spend most of my time on college campuses, I have yet to think of a better job.  Throughout my collegiate experience, I had the opportunity to work with many chapter consultants, each contributing in her own way to my growth as an individual and the success of our chapter.  When I applied for this job, I was looking to give back to an organization that had given me so much.  However, as much as I hope I am making an impact on the sisters I interact with, they are also making an impact on me.  It is the feeling you get when sisters you just met ask you to clear your schedule to take you to their favorite lunch spot on campus.  It is the feeling you get when even after staying up until 3 a.m. to prepare for recruitment, chapter members still show up the next morning with the same amount of enthusiasm they had the day before.  It is the feeling you get when you see a chapter’s year of hard work come to fruition as they welcome home a new member class to join not only their chapter, but our sisterhood nationwide.

I am in the business of empowering women, and I would not have it any other way. So, here is to a year of late nights, the never-ending struggle of looking for parking on a college campus, new cities, new friendships, a whole lot of laughs, personal growth and building the ever-growing network of real, strong women across the country.


A Sisterhood Within the Sisterhood

Taylor CostaBy Taylor Costa
Kappa Lambda chapter, University of San Diego

During recruitment, I always heard women say that they found their best friends and bridesmaids in their chapter, and even though that may be true, it was hard for me to believe at 18. I never thought I would be the one to call someone “sister” (aside from my younger biological sister), and to be honest I didn’t full buy into the idea of a “sisterhood.” Little did I know that my freshman year I would find a chapter of 160 women that made me feel at home. They made me feel comfortable and gave me a place to be my truest self.  That idea of sisterhood became real. Those women were right; I would have never met my best friends and bridesmaids had I not joined Alpha Chi Omega five years ago.

The women I ran to on bid day quickly became my people. We did everything together, from weekends filled with acai bowls at the beach to weeknights full of studying in the lounge until 2 a.m. We were there to celebrate each other when we got into grad school or got our first job offers. We were also there when we needed to cry and remember the life of our sister who lost her battle with cancer. The women of Kappa Lambda were my home and made me believe in the sisterhood I didn’t know I needed. These sisters encouraged me to apply to be a chapter consultant because of the qualities they saw in me that I had yet to find in myself.  I cannot begin to thank each and every woman I became friends with during my time in the Kappa Lambda chapter for helping me grow to be the woman I am today.

Lucky for me, the sisterhood I found in Alpha Chi Omega didn’t end with graduation. Last year I became a consultant and met 17 inspiring, motivating and confident women. The sisterhood in Alpha Chi Omega grew by 11 more intelligent, well-rounded and optimistic women this year as I began my second year on the consultant team. These 28 women have changed my life for the better and constantly push me to be the best version of myself. I have spent countless hours FaceTiming, texting and planning trips with these women that I call my sisters and best friends. Some of these I have known for a year and others for less than four months, but I know that the relationships I have with them will last a lifetime.

In a chapter of 160 members, I felt an incredible bond and connection to the women I surrounded myself with. The sisterhood I felt for those four years is something I will always be incredibly thankful for. Being a consultant has given me a sisterhood within the sisterhood. I have met 28 women that inspire me daily, motivate me to do better, give me confidence, make me laugh and help me feel at home (even when we are miles apart).

As weird and hard as it may be to believe, trust those women who tell you that they have found a genuine sisterhood because it’s real. Going through recruitment, it seems too good to be true. I couldn’t imagine myself in the sisterhood the women I had just met were telling me about; now I couldn’t picture my life without it. Over 220,000 women have had the opportunity to feel the loving sisterhood that can be found in Alpha Chi Omega, and I am so lucky to be one of them. I will forever be grateful for the best friends, future bridesmaids and sisters I have found through Alpha Chi Omega.


The First 25

Taylor TolleyBy: Taylor Tolley
Alpha Omicron, The Ohio State University

After six weeks of summer training, what I am experiencing is completely new, but yet everything I expected. Starting with two planes, two rental cars, two new cities and three suitcases stuffed to the brim, my life as a traveling consultant has officially begun. Even though I cannot believe time has flown so fast, I’ve already marked 25 amazing days on the road.

I originally strived to be a chapter consultant because I wanted to take that next step with our national organization. I felt as if I had given everything I could to my chapter of initiation and wanted to make an impact on sorority women around the world that shared the same values, beliefs and rituals that belonged to Alpha Chi Omega.

What I didn’t know was that in my first 25 days, those same women I wanted to influence would change my life for the better. From incredible recruitment planning and meetings to heart-to-heart conversations, the leadership and power of each woman opened my eyes to experiences outside of my own and have shown me what it is like to be a true sister of Alpha Chi Omega.

As you would probably assume, the 25 days were not all quite so profound. It is a funny thing when you have only been to two places, but realize that you’ll be eating Chipotle, Blaze and Jimmy John’s in a rotation for months to come. Another realization came from my first of what I am sure will be many embarrassing stories. Can you picture a twenty-two-year-old woman, fresh out of college, attempting to push three floral-print suitcases at the same time over airport curbs and cracked sidewalks? How about those same suitcases being unpacked and re-packed at 7 a.m. with grumpy travelers watching because one of them was three pounds over the limit and there was no way I was going to pay that $100 fee? Needless to say, this position has been the perfect way to throw me into the real-world – head first.

Being a chapter consultant has allowed my first “big girl job” to be one I am passionate about and one I look forward to doing each day. Diving head first into the real-world was way better than I could have ever expected. With each experience being a little bit different than the last, it is safe to say I cannot wait for my next 25.


Final Thoughts

By: Kristin Austin
Theta Psi, Columbia

I started working for Alpha Chi right about one year ago. At that time, I thought I would be traveling in region 1 working with our established chapters in the northeast for the duration of my contract.

Fast forward to today, and I’m writing this blog sitting outside one of the many fountains at Stanford University in California, where I’ve been stationed for the last three months. When I started as a consultant with Alpha Chi I knew there would be a lot of situations where I would need to be adaptable: missed connecting flights, recruitment mishaps, you name it. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was the opportunity to completely change assignments over halfway through the year and become a resident consultant at Stanford. What I also wasn’t expecting was my own ability to handle that change gracefully and be successful in getting the Zeta Iota chapter off to a strong start.

In retrospect, I don’t really know why I was all that surprised. No matter what consultant role you have with Alpha Chi, you will learn. A lot. Sometimes those lessons come gradually over time, and sometimes they come at you pretty hard. You learn how to enjoy your own company, how to be a social chameleon who can mix and mingle with all kinds of people–and influence them too. You learn that collecting t-shirts from all the schools you visit will bring you dangerously close to your 50-pound suitcase weight limit (but you keep buying the shirts anyway, because they’re one of few physical things you’ll ever have to commemorate the experience of working with hundreds, if not thousands, of Alpha Chi’s). You learn that it’s okay to be yourself, even around a group of women you just met, because they are your sisters. And above all, you learn that this experience will make you more confident, more poised and incredibly prepared to take on whatever personal and professional experiences life throws at you once your time as a consultant ends. With my own time as a consultant ending this month, it is these lessons and more that I know will always stick with me, no matter what the future holds.


You’re Graduating…Now What?

By: Ashley Williams
Delta Zeta, Central Michigan University
Traveling Consultant 2016-17

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! It is that magical, yet simultaneously overwhelming, time of year as the big day you have been waiting four years for is quickly approaching. You are probably feeling a rush of emotions – excitement for the next step in your life, surprise as you pick up your cap and gown, sadness as you experience the “lasts” of your college career or anxiety as you study for your last final…ever. Trust me, I have been there. Some of you may be thinking back to your bid day, getting your little or the sisterhood retreat you met your best friends at, and thinking “I am not ready to leave this.” You may be thinking about the countless memories you have made in your chapter, or leaving the women who have been by your side for every high and low of the past four years. You may be thinking, “I am graduating…now what?”

Well, let me tell you, being an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega is just as sweet, and I can guarantee that your journey is not quite over yet. As a consultant, I have had the chance to meet a lot of alumnae over the past two years, women who have made the decision to give back to their chapter or the organization in both big and small ways. I have been inspired by the passion these women have for Alpha Chi Omega, and their dedication to furthering the mission of our sisterhood. I hope that you will consider joining me in staying connected with Alpha Chi Omega in a way that works for you, too!

Need ideas? Here are five to get you started.

  1. Update

This one is easy! Simply log on to the Alpha Chi Omega website and update your contact information. You may consider changing your email from your school email to a personal email and updating your address. This helps headquarters staff and volunteers notify you about any Alpha Chi Omega related opportunity that pops up in your area!

  1. Connect

Spend time connecting with sisters as an alumna by investing in existing friendships, or beginning new ones! Whether you choose to mentor collegiate members through the Women and Wisdom program, attend convention in Austin, Texas next summer, or organize yearly reunions with the women in your new member class, the opportunity to connect with sisters is not lost after graduation.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteer at the local or national level as an advisor, specialist, or facilitator. There are always opportunities to stay connected through volunteering your time. These range in terms of time commitment required, but there can be something for everyone! Learn more here.

  1. Join

Whether you are moving somewhere new or are just looking to meet new sisters, you may consider joining an alumnae chapter in your area. Alumnae chapters offer opportunities for networking, leadership development, service and philanthropy, as well as supporting surrounding Alpha Chi Omega chapters. Does this sound like you? You can locate an alumnae chapter in your area here.

  1. Give

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “gosh, I don’t have the time to give,” there are still ways to positively impact Alpha Chi Omega! Donating to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation is a sure way to impact our 21,000+ collegiate women. Campaigns like the Day of Giving or Founder’s Day Challenge, allow you to pick exactly where you want your donation to go. Donating on the local level, such as to your chapter of initiation, is also an option. Learn more about how you can give here.

So yes, you are graduating, but you are not alone. You are joining the thousands of women who proudly call themselves alumnae of Alpha Chi Omega, and who have been changed for the better because of this sisterhood. I hope that as you look back at your first few years of membership in Alpha Chi Omega that you are reminded of the fun, growth, and bond you experienced, and are encouraged to stay connected to ensure that our future sisters have even better experiences than we did. How will you decide to stay connected with Alpha Chi Omega as an alumna? Share with us in the comments below!


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!


What Consultants Have That Employers Want

marla_ebert_img_8184By: Marla Ebert
Epsilon Zeta, Auburn University
Region 2 Traveling Consultant 2016-17

My time as an Alpha Chi Omega consultant began a little over three months ago and still, each day, I learn something new about the position and myself. With every new location there are new experiences, new faces and new opportunities.

As a chapter consultant, you will strengthen and gain skills that you can relate back to any industry. I constantly realize how similar my experiences and job responsibilities as an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant are to those of my close friends who are now teachers, graduate students or working in finance.  So, I decided to Google “Top 10 things employers look for in a résumé” and found an article titled “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want in 20-Something Employees.” It can’t get more perfect than that, right? All the skills listed in the article can be gained through the chapter consultant position! I decided to highlight the five I’ve noticed the most during my time in the position.

  1. Ability to work in a team

As a consultant, you have the opportunity to work with multiple teams in a day! This includes executive boards, committees, recruitment teams and many more. You learn the important skill of listening to these team members and respecting the ideas of everyone. Not only does working in a team include collegiate members, it also includes working with your fellow consultants! We work to help one another solve problems throughout the year and ask questions on a daily basis for which we alone do not have all the answers.

2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems

Each day spent in this position presents a new experience, full of new problem-solving opportunities! You will learn the importance of being tactful with your responses when handling tough situations. When you come into contact with decisions that can impact an entire chapter, you will better understand the many parts that play into that decision and respect the discussions that get you there.

3.  Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work

Entering this position, I would say I was very organized and knew how to prioritize my work. As a recent college graduate, I was familiar with balancing school and extra-curricular involvement! Despite this, throughout these past three months, my organization ability has reached an entirely new level. I quickly realized what prioritization tactics worked best for this job, and what wasn’t helping me complete my to-do lists! Luckily, my supervisor and fellow consultants helped by providing me with resources that led me to find what was best for me and my working style. As a consultant, it was great to have a multitude of positive examples surrounding me!

4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

At times this job can be hard to put into words, and even tougher to explain to someone who is unfamiliar with Greek life. Headquarters staff did a wonderful job of explaining ways to describe the chapter consultant position in a universal way. This benefits us because we are able to communicate the importance and purpose of our work to university professionals, family members and anyone we meet in the airport! This is a huge tool to have when the time comes to relate your time as chapter consultant to a prospective employer during an interview.

5. Ability to analyze quantitative data

This is not an obvious skill or one you might connect to the position when you think of the chapter consultant job responsibilities. In this role, however, quantitative data can be a part of daily life. You will work closely with the VP finance position at some chapters when discussing chapter dues, financial suspensions or questions about the chapter budget. You also involve quantitative date when comparing a chapter’s total number of members to the chapter total set by the university. This is very important in the chapter consultant role because these numbers decide if a chapter should participate in continuous open bidding (COB). Even as a former finance student, these tasks have personally sharpened this skill!

These five skills are only a glimpse at the many things you will learn as a chapter consultant. The capabilities you will gain in this position will continue to serve you in all facets of life. Most importantly, you will make forever memories and create relationships that are un-wavering. Each day, I wake up and think, “Could I possibly love my job even more than I already do?” And each day I discover I can. It is hard to even call this a job, because there are many days it doesn’t feel that way! There is only one way to describe the experiences of a chapter consultant: a once in a lifetime opportunity!


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!








Picture Yourself an Alpha Chi Omega Consultant

Mary BakerMary Kacmarcik Baker, Ed.D.
Delta Mu Chapter, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Alpha Chi Omega National Vice President 2014-16
Small Business Owner, College Quest Advising, Irvine, California

Before the days of cell phones and computers, I had the privilege of serving our Fraternity as a national collegiate field advisor, and I was so thrilled to travel the United States with three others that it still brings such great joy when I think about my first job out of college! I recall the large leather box-type of briefcase (which must have weighed 25 pounds) stuffed with folders with dozens of forms (carbon-copy style), along with my suitcase packed with preppy New England clothes, and that’s all I needed to get on the road for Alpha Chi Omega.

Okay, this was last century (literally), but I’m sure the awesome leadership development and training we received at our headquarters is somewhat similar to what goes on today, because one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the role and impact consultants have on every single one of the chapters they visit. It doesn’t matter if you travel to the Northeast or the Northwest, the South or the West, what matters most is the women you meet, the women you have the opportunity to help become better versions of themselves, the women you want to empower to help their chapter become the best they can be—that’s what actually makes you realize you can make a difference with those women, those chapters. And it certainly doesn’t matter if the chapter has 40 members or 400 members, if they’re housed or un-housed, at a large state university or a small liberal arts college, because the bottom line is, they are your sisters, and though you may never have met them before, they are sisters you can inspire, motivate and challenge to be the best they can be.

If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to read the previous consultant blogs posted online, because I couldn’t agree more about all that was said. I don’t want to repeat their words of wisdom, devotion and achievement from those days they traveled, nor do I want to repeat the intrinsic benefits of taking a year or two to build your marketable job skills for your future. But I do want to give my accolades to these awesome recent graduates because they speak so eloquently about all the benefits of what they learned and how they have moved on in their career with the skills gained as consultants. I’m so impressed with these sisters – Heather, Kelsey, Maree and Carolyn – and I know you will be too.

There are, however, a few items of business I don’t recall hearing about, so I thought I’d share what “they didn’t tell me” about this job before I accepted the position. Please understand this is from my perspective only, so read at your risk of becoming more interested in this unique opportunity:

They didn’t tell me:

  1. I would save a sister’s life from a domestic violence situation
  2. I would be colonizing a chapter at Cornell University, and many years later discover that the chief marketing officer of Yahoo was in that founding class
  3. A retired national officer would tell me I was the first “national” person she met when I visited her chapter when she was a “pledge”
  4. I would be in the front line at recruitment events acting as a collegiate member to save a chapter that was about to close its doors because of numbers (BTW: That chapter is still going strong 30+ years later)
  5. I would become a “foodie” by tasting the best pizza and ice cream in the country on a weekly basis
  6. I would find my future graduate school where I earned a full-ride scholarship for my master’s degree because of my consultant job
  7. I would meet so many engaging alumnae from across the country who later became long-term mentors in my life
  8. I would become one of those engaged alumnae who love mentoring young women and volunteering in the community
  9. I wouldn’t earn airline miles for travel. Oh, wait a minute, airline mileage programs weren’t invented yet. I think you can keep your miles now.
  10. I would eventually reside 3,000 miles away from my home chapter because I found a new career focus after traveling and met my husband (a former fraternity traveling consultant)
  11. I would see and appreciate the backroads of America more than I ever imagined
  12. This was going to be the beginning of my Alpha Chi Omega service, which progressed through the years from being a chapter advisor, ritual advisor, national pledge guidance chairman, scholarship committee selection member, Foundation trustee, chair of the Foundation board and, most recently, a national vice president on the National Council
  13. My experience would lead to a career in higher education serving as a director of Greek life and student organizations, an assistant dean of students, a director of orientation and leadership, and an executive director of alumni relations and annual fund
  14. My skills and experiences as a result of having this job would lead to me starting a college advising business with my Delta Mu sister

No, they didn’t tell me all that and much more, and that’s okay. I’m glad they didn’t because I think I would have been a bit overwhelmed at age 21. But when I am asked today, “Would you do it again?” I say, without hesitation, “Yes…absolutely!”

The best advice I can offer, as someone who is old enough to be your mom, is that the consultant opportunity is a role you will treasure for the rest of your life. It will enhance your future career, it will provide you and guide you in your discovery of who and what you really want to be. Remember, you potentially could be working for the next 40 years, so taking one or two years to be an Alpha Chi Omega consultant is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It is one gift that keeps on giving! You have the rest of your life to pursue your dream career, and taking a year or two now to discover, appreciate and enjoy our beautiful country and meet hundreds of sisters, new members, fraternal friends and university administrators is only a good thing that will help you develop into a professional for any career. I honestly can say I haven’t met a consultant yet that said they regretted doing this job. In fact, it’s just the opposite; we all say we wish we could go back and do it all over again!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Please check it out. Call me. Have your mom call me. I am accessible 24/7 at, or call my cell at (714) 614.2801. Good luck!



The Art of Flexibility

emma-brown_webBy: Emma Brown
Alpha , DePauw University

Former chapter consultant 2007-2009
Director of Community Relations at 55,000 Degrees

We’ve all heard the buzz words around 21st Century skills and the demands of employers. In today’s working world, employers are looking for more than just content knowledge or thinking skills. They’re looking for individuals who have the ability to navigate complex, global worlds. One of the skills employers look for today is adaptability, or flexibility.

Let me tell you this, there is no better way to learn adaptability than being a chapter consultant. As a consultant, flexibility starts with managing delayed or canceled flights and an evolving schedule of travel. In my two years as a chapter consultant, I was on a plane every three or four days of the semester which leads to a lot of delayed flights. Sometimes, your only option is to be patient but other times you have to work with your airline to get to your recruitment visit on time (recruitment doesn’t stop for delayed flights!). In these moments, you’re learning to deal with adversity and navigate complex systems – a valuable skill in your future career.

When not in the air, you’re spending your time talking with chapter members and officers, getting to know them and the culture of their chapter. This often means learning new customs of each chapter and finding the commonality that makes us all Alpha Chi Omegas. While talking about planning sisterhood events doesn’t always translate in an interview, as a consultant, you’ll be able to talk about understanding and balancing diverse views to reach workable solutions (aka any CRSB meeting). You’ll have real world experiences of effectively working in an ambiguous setting while adapting to new job responsibilities, priorities and schedules.

When I finished being a chapter consultant, I knew I wasn’t going into higher education and I was a little nervous about how to translate that experience to other industries. I’ve now worked with nonprofit organizations for ten years and I still talk about my time as a consultant. I love sharing the story of visiting the University of Vermont on a Monday and the University of Arizona on a Thursday – talk about flexibility and adaptability!

Being a consultant shaped my professional career in ways I never imagined, all while providing me amazing experiences to travel the country and meet my sisters in their homes.

If you’re thinking about being a consultant but not sure, you can contact me – I’d be happy to talk about my experience and what it meant to me!

Don’t miss the opportunity to start your application to become a chapter consultant today!