Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

The official blog of Alpha Chi Omega

Browsing category: Collegians, The Consultant Chronicles

#AXOthankful to be a Chapter Consultant

I recently visited a campus where a student asked me, “What makes it worth moving across the country, just for a job?” Although the question took me by surprise, I knew the answer immediately. Questions are common with any job, yet it is rare to have the same answer. “Why did you apply to be a consultant?” “Why do you love Alpha Chi Omega?” “What’s the best part of being a consultant?” My answer is always, the people!

There is a special quality about this organization, one that brings people together. Alpha Chi Omega gave me a home and family filled with happiness while in college. Coming from a school with 42,000 students, it’s not likely I would have met so many amazing women on my own. And the sense of community didn’t stop there. I’m lucky enough to work with a team of women who constantly support me while serving the greater mission of Alpha Chi Omega.

At Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to reunite with our friends and family across the country and be thankful. I find myself constantly appreciative of Alpha Chi Omega for providing me with such unique opportunities and for bringing wonderful people into my life. My thoughtful stepmother is an Alpha Chi and first introduced me to the sorority. Without this organization, I wouldn’t have met my chapter sisters in Tallahassee, who have greatly influenced my life and helped me get to where I am today. I wouldn’t have my coworkers, who teach me how to be creative in the workplace. Each of these women leads with confidence and grace, and constantly shows me what it means to be an Alpha Chi Omega. From my Beta Eta sisters to my consultant sisters, Alpha Chi Omega has given me my best friends and women to constantly look up to.


So when I am asked about packing up my life and moving 2,000 miles away from home, it’s a no-brainer. I would do anything for these women. After I departed from spending a week with family and friends, I couldn’t help but be excited about going back to work. I’m constantly meeting new sisters who share the same passions as me. No matter the state, the town or the school, I have found that each Alpha Chi Omega I meet has the same ambition, confidence and kindness. They welcome me with open arms and make my job special. I’m grateful to call these women my sisters, and they make me proud to be an Alpha Chi Omega.


The Hardest Job You Will Ever Love By: Ashlyn Coston, Beta Lambda chapter, University of Arizona

To say that I have learned a lot over the past six months as a chapter consultant would be an understatement. I have learned to be independent and self-reliant, understood the importance of adaptability and time management, gained self-confidence and realized that feeling discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows for growth. Along the way I have visited and learned about 15 beautiful cities and have had the chance to empower many women. The most important thing I have become during this journey is more thankful! I am thankful for Alpha Chi Omega, for my sisters and for the opportunity to discover something new about myself almost daily on this wonderful adventure of being a chapter consultant. As a re-founding member of the Beta Lambda (University of Arizona) chapter, I am overjoyed that I am able to give back to the organization that gave me so much as a member and continues to do so as a consultant.

Becoming an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant was not an easy decision for me.  I was plagued with self-doubt, worried about being accepted and wondered how I would not get lonesome on the road.  After only six months in, I can tell you it has been the best decision I have ever made. Here is what I have gained from being a chapter consultant:


I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust. I have never been content with the status quo and have always been interested in new adventures. As a chapter consultant, you are constantly faced with detours that take you outside the mundane. The consultant position allows you to experience things you would otherwise not experience. Whether you have the opportunity to explore a city in your home state or travel across the United States to a new city you have never visited, this job is never ordinary. The experiences and adventures this position provides are invaluable.

The ability to work for an organization focused on empowering women

Real. Strong. Women. It’s our tagline. Alpha Chi Omega is constantly striving to build up women. When women support each other, incredible things happen. As a chapter consultant, you are continually collaborating with other women and empowering them to reach their full potential. You have the ability to impact others. You see immense potential in members at each chapter you visit and are able to watch women grow throughout their collegiate experience. This position can foster your passion to touch the lives of many different chapter members across the United States.

Personal growth

You are capable of more than you think. Being on the road has taught me to embrace change.  As an Alpha Chi Omega consultant, I have continued to grow by being forced outside my comfort zone.  I have gained more confidence in the last six months than I did over my four years of college. I have become more resilient, determined and independent, and I continue to find a greater sense of who I am. I have found joy in being by myself.

Every day is a new adventure


There is an endless stream of learning opportunities within the consultant position. Each day is a new day. You are constantly meeting new people and visiting new places. As a consultant, your work days are never boring and never the same! One day you could be in Los Angeles working by the beach, and the next in the fall snow in Boulder. It is one wild ride!


Support system

My sisters are my greatest support system when I am traveling. There have been numerous individuals who have positively impacted my life throughout my collegiate experience and my time as a consultant. My consultant sisters are everything that I never knew I needed.  They keep me sane and are my rocks. We rely heavily on one another to provide support, unconditional love and understanding. After all, behind every successful woman are other successful women who have her back! I am fortunate my support system keeps growing.

Being a chapter consultant is the hardest job you will ever love!  The passion and devotion I have for Alpha Chi Omega pushes me every day to be a better person and to be the best consultant I can be. The memories and friendships I have gained are irreplaceable and will last a lifetime. I encourage you to reflect on the leader that you are and to see the potential in yourself to impact the lives of others.  My advice to you…don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and begin your greatest adventure!

Like the sound of this experience?  Apply now for this job of a lifetime!



The Halfway Mark By: Kamalea Khan, Epsilon Lambda chapter, University of Texas at Arlington

I am halfway through my journey as a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, and boy has it been a wild ride. Transitioning from a commuting college student to a nationwide traveler and sorority savant was quite the adjustment. Merriam-Webster defines consultant as, “One who gives professional advice and service.” But there is so much more that goes into this position not covered in that description. Like being responsible for 17 chapters in eight states, managing an expense budget, independently conducting crisis management and conflict resolution – the list goes on and on.

Reflecting on my experience thus far, I think back to the reason I applied for this job. As a collegiate member, I loved contributing to the success of my chapter and well-being of my sisters. I had an urge to continue this trend post-grad, so becoming a chapter consultant made perfect sense.

I find my work most meaningful when I am able to impact and serve others, which is my goal for every chapter I visit. I’ve connected with notable alumnae, experienced immense professional development and gained quite the network on LinkedIn. But what has really stuck with me are the people and memories. Like catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in the heart of Boston with Theta Omicron chapter. Drinking Cuban coffees in Miami with Kappa Upsilon chapter. Making a campfire in the mountains of Utah with Beta Xi chapter. And my favorite: touring Meharry Hall of East College at DePauw University, where our seven Founders created Alpha Chi Omega, with my consultant sisters, who’ve also become some of my best friends by my side.

I’ve also learned the importance of relationship building. Every interaction I have with a chapter is an opportunity for me to make a positive impact. You can conduct meetings and write reports all day, but people really only remember the way you made them feel, the way you empowered, influenced and supported them. The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.

These experiences would not be possible in any other career. I’ve come to realize that the amazing women I get the honor of working with every day are actually the ones positively impacting my life. I’m halfway through my journey as a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, and the friendships, knowledge, memories and skills I’ve gained are more than I could have imagined.


I encourage everyone to apply for this position because six months in, I am certain it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Everyone applies for a similar reason: to give back to the organization that has given us so much. However, Alpha Chi Omega has yet to stop giving. I hope everyone takes advantage of this opportunity because it’s once in a lifetime.

Start your application today!


Starfish Moments By: Kristen Reynolds, Iota Tau Chapter, California State University - San Marcos

Since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of making a difference in the world. As I grew up I found myself questioning, “How much of a difference can I make?” What I found, through my favorite story, “The Starfish Story,” was that making a difference is much easier than we choose to believe.

The Starfish Story
“One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a girl picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?” The girl replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” The man said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the girl bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, she said, “I made a difference for that one.”

From this story, I found that it is always possible to make a difference in the world, regardless of the size of that difference. And just like the little girl in the story, choosing to impact “one” soon became an integral part of my life. Many times, we make an impact on other people’s lives without ever knowing. As we share our passions, lead powerfully and send encouragement, we have the ability to leave a positive impression on individuals’ lives. I define these moments as “Starfish Moments.”

As I looked into my next move after graduation, I knew I wanted a job that had a greater purpose and that would give me the opportunity to be that little girl to many. It was not long before I decided that becoming a chapter consultant would allow me to impact women across the country. At each chapter I have visited, I hoped to make a lasting impression on just one chapter member, whether that was empowering her to become a better leader or challenging the status quo within her campus community. Soon I began to recognize that by inspiring one, it would impact many, as chapter leaders move to positive change within their chapters and campus communities.

Throughout my Alpha Chi Omega collegiate and consultant experience, there have been countless individuals, from my Iota Tau (California State University – San Marcos) chapter sisters, to my consultant sisters, to many advisors and mentors along the way who have made a difference for me. As I reflect on my first two months of being a chapter consultant, I never would have expected the lasting impact each chapter has left on me. Each chapter has taught me something new and has renewed the love that I have for Alpha Chi Omega and its mission. They have made me a better sister, a better Alpha Chi Omega and a better woman. I found that being an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant is not just a job where you clock in and out, but it is a purpose to enrich women’s lives, and they in return do the same for you. Many times, we forget to thank the people who have impacted our lives for the better. I thank all those people who “made that one difference” for me.

Today, I challenge you to reach out to the person or persons who have made a difference for you. They may have no idea of the impact they made on you along the way, and you may realize you have done the same for them.



Which Founder Are You Most Like? By: Michelle Critchfield, Omicron Chapter, Baker University

This October is filled with exciting Alpha Chi Omega milestones. Not only do Alpha Chi Omegas across the country get to celebrate 132 years since the Fraternity’s founding, but also 25 years of spreading awareness on a variety of domestic violence issues. Being a lover of history, Founders’ Day is quite an exciting event for me. This month, I was introduced to the Flat Founders and learned many fun facts about their lives. This got me thinking – which Founder am I most like?

Anna Allen Smith (1870-1932)
Am I most like Anna, the youngest advanced student in DePauw’s School of Music? She lived in Greencastle her entire life and hosted the first convention in her home. Although Anna had no children of her own, she made it a point to personally know just about all of the 700 women initiated into Alpha chapter until her death. She enjoyed helping others, which is evident in her dedication to the American Red Cross, where she worked during World War I.

Olive Burnett Clark (1867-1957)
Or maybe I’m more like Ollie. Olive, known by her friends as “Ollie,” “found no greater happiness in life than Alpha Chi Omega.” She truly believed in the mission of Fraternity as an influence for good. Ollie began her journey in the DePauw School of Music at age 18, where she played the piano, organ, violin, cello and double bass. She even wrote several songs, which are still preserved in the Alpha Chi Omega Song Book. Olive was active with the Fraternity and in the Beta Beta alumnae chapter throughout her life, due to her avid love for Alpha Chi Omega.

Bertha Deniston Cunningham (1869-1950)
Surely Bertha serves as a great role model for Real. Strong. Women. Bertha’s parents ensured she grew up in a musical household, where she began playing the piano at age 7. Friends knew Bertha as “Denny.” She was a quick-witted, slow-speaking woman filled with laughter and good times. Denny was the first of the seven Founders to purchase a lyre badge after Alpha Chi Omega’s founding. This badge is the only one from the founding seven that the Fraternity has located. Each of the chapter president badges is a replica of the first one, purchased by Bertha in the 19th century.

Amy Dubois Reith (1869-1915)
Was I as active in my youth as Amy? Amy was a spry 15 years of age when she entered DePauw, where she studied voice and piano. She was a tiny woman with a straightforward approach to life, a sunny disposition and an enjoyment for pranking her Fraternity sisters. Some knew Amy as “the little girl with the big voice.” Amy left the university after one year to teach music at Doane College in Nebraska. After leaving DePauw, none of the other Founders ever saw her again.

Nellie Gamble Childe (1867-1950)
Am I as graceful and reliable as Nellie was in her collegiate experience? Nellie grew up with brothers in Illinois, which naturally led her into boyish ways. She studied piano in her youth and planned to attend a different university before a friend influenced her to attend DePauw. She too left DePauw after one year. Although Nellie believed that being a Founder of Alpha Chi Omega was “the event of a lifetime,” she was reluctant to accept special recognition for her extraordinary role within the Fraternity. Olive saw Nellie as one of the loveliest women she had ever seen – tall, slim, graceful and valued for reliable propositions and good judgement.

Bessie Grooms Keenan (1866-1920)
Could I have brought the same social experiences to the founding seven as Bessie? Bessie grew up in Greencastle, Indiana. Her parents were avid supporters of the founding class of the Alpha chapter. Bess enjoyed serving others and hosting parties and social events for the Fraternity. It seems likely that Bessie was Alpha Chi Omega’s first social chair, as the Fraternity’s first large party was held at her family home. She also played the piano throughout her life, until she was no longer able. Bessie’s daughter, Hannah, served as an Alpha chapter president while she attended DePauw.

Estelle Leonard (1860-1955)
Maybe, just maybe, I am a profound leader, like Estelle. Estelle, or “Stella,” was the eldest of the founding seven and helped build a strong foundation for the Fraternity. She was interested in learning music as a means for living and enjoyed playing pranks on those close to her. After leaving DePauw, Stella taught music for a number of years in Indiana. Estelle served as Alpha chapter’s first president and had the responsibility of collecting ribbon samples from Indianapolis to select Alpha Chi Omega’s colors – scarlet red and olive green.

I would like to think that I am similar to Estelle, with her passion for teaching and serving as a leader to those around her. Yet she still knew how to enjoy life and to laugh every once in a while.

Which Founder are you most like?

Don’t forget to participate in Alpha Chi Omega’s Founders’ Day Challenge. You can donate to support Real. Strong. Women. across the country, Domestic Violence Awareness initiatives or educational programming like Let’s Talk Love. This link will allow you to donate today and partner with Alpha Chi Omega to continue shedding the light of love and friendship to all.


How-to: Get Involved in DVAM By Ellie Edwards, Zeta Sigma Chapter, Missouri State University

If you’re like me, you’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of October. Pumpkin picking, the fall scents at Bath & Body Works, crisp fall weather and the changing colors of leaves exponentially lift my mood and make every place I visit remind me of home. However, October has come to mean so much more to me over the past few years and, through Alpha Chi Omega, has given me something else to celebrate and be thankful for – Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

There are many things I love about this job and the work I do each day, and some of my favorite moments revolve around our philanthropy events and chatting about chapters’ plans for DVA Month. Seeing how passionate our members are about spreading awareness for domestic violence makes me so proud and thankful we selected DVA as our philanthropy 25 years ago. From coast to coast, our women get excited for DVA Month and go all-in – tabling on campus, bringing in speakers, hosting philanthropy events and doing hands-on community service.

If you are wondering how to get involved this month, here are some ideas of great ways to give back:

  • Participate in the Founders’ Day Challenge: Join us in celebrating 25 years of supporting domestic violence awareness as Alpha Chi Omega’s national philanthropy. You can choose to direct your donation to the Real. Strong. Women. Fund, domestic violence awareness initiatives or Let’s Talk Love. The challenge began October 3 and will end on October 25. More information can be found here.
  • Raise awareness through social media: Alpha Chi Omega has created DVA Month profile pictures and cover photos! Adding these to your social media profiles can spread awareness to family and friends throughout the world.
  • Connect with your chapter of initiation: Reach out to your chapter and see how you can get involved with any philanthropy events or awareness campaigns they have on their calendar.
  • Wear a purple ribbon: Wearing a purple ribbon to class or work can help start the conversation between peers and across multiple generations.


No matter where you are in your Alpha Chi Omega experience, I encourage you to spend some time this October getting involved in DVA Month and being a part of the real, strong impact our sisters are making across the country.



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.