Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

The official blog of Alpha Chi Omega
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Day of Giving: A Conversation with Mary Pat Lambke

Mary Pat Lambke, Beta Epsilon

Mary Pat Lambke, Beta Epsilon

Why did you join Alpha Chi Omega?

As a freshman, the Beta Epsilon chapter made me feel welcomed and provided a “home away from home” at Michigan State University.

What makes someone a real, strong woman?

Now, as I enter my second half of life, a real, strong woman is a woman who knows herself, her values and her beliefs, and is willing to live them fully. She does not need to convince everyone that she, or her values and beliefs, are correct, yet she is open to hearing others’ points of view.

How has Alpha Chi Omega empowered you as an alumna?

Throughout my career, I was able to reflect and draw upon the leadership experiences afforded to me by Alpha Chi Omega, specifically the Beta Epsilon chapter. These experiences sent me forward with the confidence to become a successful saleswoman. Additionally, as I have become more personally involved with the organization, I have the ability to empower our younger members and influence their life choices. While their collegiate experiences are vastly different from mine, I truly believe that Alpha Chi Omega is making a positive difference in today’s young women so that they, too, will be successful in their careers and personal lives.

In your opinion, how does the Real. Strong. Women. Fund empower the women in our Fraternity? 

Fraternity programs funded by the Real. Strong. Women. Fund address issues that young women are facing on today’s college campuses. These programs are empowering our women to better themselves and prepare for the future.

What’s your favorite memory/story about support from the Real. Strong. Women. Fund? 

Actually, this goes back several years. I had been asked to participate in an early sharing of the strategic plan, which the tagline Real. Strong. Women. was a part of. From that conversation, I knew that Alpha Chi Omega was heading in a direction I could fully support. So while I was not an involved alumna, I was definitely willing to support Alpha Chi Omega financially. Through those years, I would simply send a check when I was able. I would get very thoughtful notes, phone calls and requests for visits from Angela Harris, now our National President. I never responded to her, as my career was my first priority. Years later, after I became involved in the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, I finally met Angela, and we have become friends through our work together on the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan. She is a new sister to me, and I treasure our reconnection!

Why do you support Alpha Chi Omega by giving to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation? 

I support Alpha Chi Omega by giving to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation because I believe in empowering women. In order to empower women, I need to “walk the talk” through my actions and contributions, be that treasure, talent and/or time…or all of them! Alpha Chi Omega is poised to help young women during a challenging time for women. As an alumna who gained great experiences and a strong foundation from Alpha Chi Omega, I believe it is my responsibility to support Alpha Chi Omega by giving back and enabling others to have similar great experiences.


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Day of Giving: A Perspective from Faythe Vorderstrasse

84 year old, Faythe, at her home on the beautiful Colorado River in Parker, AZ

84 year old, Faythe, at her home on the beautiful Colorado River in Parker, AZ

My best friend’s mother was an Alpha Chi Omega, a fact I did not know when I joined. She laid the groundwork as her daughter Betty and I went through rush together. We both ended up pledging the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Chi Omega at the University of Idaho. Pledging Alpha Chi Omega was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

After one year at the University of Idaho, I ended up affiliating with the Chi chapter at Oregon State University. Around that time, Alpha Chi Omega created the traveling secretary position. Burnette Jones, then our national collegiate vice president, named Charlene Moore, Chi chapter, as the first traveling secretary. After Char retired, Burnette Jones (by this time our National President) visited the Chi chapter again and named me the second traveling secretary. It has always made me very proud to be involved in our consultant program since I was hired in 1957, and to watch it grow and prosper over the many years since its inception.

DC-3 Propeller Plan

DC-3 Propeller Plan

I worked hard for Alpha Chi during those two years, crisscrossing our United States from coast to coast and border to border, visiting approximately 86 chapters. It is important to remember that at that time, jet airplanes were not yet in service. I traveled on the old DC-3 propeller planes. There were no rental cars, so my ground transportation was either by bus or train, or sometimes by a wonderful trip in an alumna’s car. There were no electric typewriters or cell phones or iPhones, so our reports consisted of one original and five or six carbon copies.

Alpha Chi Omega has empowered me in so many ways. The Fraternity has believed in me from the beginning by offering me the opportunity to serve in many different positions. My ultimate honor was being elected to the National Council in 1976 as the national treasurer. At that time in our nation’s history, interest rates were running at 17-19 percent, and inflation was 14 percent. Our Fraternity’s finances were structured in such a way that our collegians were providing most of our operating capital, and the alumnae participation was very small.

In my mind, we had to do something! I knew our alumnae would help if we informed them of our situation and told them that we needed them. We worked on laying the groundwork for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation for two years in order to be ready to obtain permission from the 1978 National Convention voting delegates to proceed with the formation of the Foundation. It’s interesting to me to know that in the first week of our first annual mail campaign, the donations totaled about $287. That small beginning has led us to where we are today!

My background as a consultant has been valuable to me over the years. At times it was a tough job. I worked hard, but I enjoyed it very much. Sometimes I saw immediate results from my visit while other times it took longer. Overall, our travelers’ visits have produced wonderful results; results that have made a positive difference in the growth of our Fraternity.

From left to right: Charlene Moore Simpson, Mary Kacmarcik Baker, and Faythe Vorderstrasse at Chi chapter centennial celebration.

From left to right: Charlene Moore Simpson, Mary Kacmarcik Baker, and Faythe Vorderstrasse at Chi chapter centennial celebration.

It has been interesting to me to watch Alpha Chi Omega grow over the years. We have implemented many new programs that have not survived the test of time, but our consultant program has grown and prospered and proven its value over and over again.

Having this opportunity to support both the consultant program and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation is very special to me. I knew from the beginning that we had to do something to provide our Alpha Chi Omega chapters with the programs needed to enable our members to grow and to prosper.

I guess from reading this, you know that I am very proud of my participation in the consultant program AND in laying the groundwork involved in the formation of the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, allowing me the opportunity to work closely with real, strong women endowed with tremendous skills and dedication in leading our Fraternity. Put this together with the fact that many of these women have become wonderful, close, lifetime friends, and it makes all of this even more special. We’ve had lots of laughs and lots of fun times over the years, and these friendships have made it all even more worthwhile!

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Day of Giving: A Conversation with Donna Chereck

Donna ChereckWhy did you join Alpha Chi Omega?

I was the first person in both of my parents’ families to attend college. It was never a “Will you go to college?” discussion, but always a “Someday, when you go to college…” discussion. My parents were enthusiastic and encouraging, and they wanted me to have the full experience. Pledging a sorority at UT Austin was a part of that experience. Why Alpha Chi Omega? Cheryl Holt! Cheryl was my high school friend and someone I trusted and loved being around. I knew that if Cheryl had found her home in Alpha Chi Omega,  I could do the same. I essentially pledged for friendship, but little did I know that Alpha Chi would provide me with the opportunity to learn to work collaboratively, provide a safe place to take risks as I planned my future, and teach me to make a difference in my community as a leader and philanthropist.

What makes someone a real, strong woman?

Alpha Chi Omega’s brand holds a special place in my heart. Our brand and tagline were launched at our 2008 National Convention, where I presided as National President. After months of research and focus groups, along with robust conversation amongst the National Council, executive director and marketing staff, we realized Real. Strong. Women. was the perfect definition of Alpha Chi Omegas everywhere. Real means genuine. It means being who you are and taking aim for who you WANT to be no matter where or when you were born! Real is being the best you can be, a “true original.” Strong is living with a purpose in your heart. It is being strong in body, mind and character. A strong woman dreams big, isn’t afraid, looks for opportunities and accepts challenges. It is seeking to reach the heights today, tomorrow and always. It is who we are!

How has Alpha Chi Omega empowered you as an alumna?

Past National Presidents

Past National Presidents in Indianapolis, IN. Front row, left to right: Karen Aunan Miley (1976-1980), Ellen Little Vanden Brink (1988-1992), Judy Evans Anderson (1992-96). Back row, left to right: Marsha King Grady (2008-2012), Donna Smith Chereck (2004-08), Diane Wilson Blackwelder (2012-16), Julie Cain Burkhard (2000-04), Angela Costley Harris (2016-)

Alpha Chi Omega gives me amazing opportunities in so many ways! As an educator, I’ve had the opportunity to model and mentor young women in my recruitment advisor and chapter advisor roles. As an NPC delegation member who works with our collegiate chapters and many college campus Panhellenics and as National President, I had the opportunity to be the ultimate brand ambassador for Alpha Chi Omega. This amazing organization has given me the self-confidence to be brave and to look at challenges as opportunities. I am empowered to be solution oriented. I’m also empowered to ask for help when I know I can’t go on a tough road alone. I have sisters who will always have my back and be at my side. I am empowered to partner with our NPC sisters and NIC brothers to advocate for and work to preserve this amazing experience called sorority for generations of young women who will come after me!

In your opinion, how does Social Excellence Training empower the women in our Fraternity?

Social Excellence Training is all about how to be on your best game! It is about learning how to market and sell the Alpha Chi Omega experience. How to engage in meaningful conversations where the potential new member is encouraged to share her interests and dreams. Social Excellence Training takes the focus off of “I” and turns the focus to “YOU.” It is about learning and appreciating what Alpha Chi Omega looks for in a member: academic interest, personal development, character and financial responsibility. All the membership standards that have ensured Alpha Chi Omega is a premier organization for women!

2008 Convention

2008 Convention

Why do you support our sisterhood by giving to Alpha Chi Omega?

Quite simply, to ensure that this experience that has been transformational in my life continues on and on for current collegians, alumnae and all those young women who are yet to wear our lyre badge. I strongly believe that if all our members are educated to understand the “why” of raising Foundation dollars, they will understand and support the Foundation. The Foundation was created to support educational programming for our members. The reason it continues is the same: to provide educational programs and support initiatives for domestic violence awareness. Supporting Alpha Chi Omega with my time and my financial donations makes me feel good! Supporting my sisters gives me a deep personal satisfaction of having contributed to the greater good of Alpha Chi Omega.

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MacDowell Month 2017

Happy MacDowell Month! Here are a few ways chapters celebrated the arts, their sisters who are involved in the arts and Alpha Chi Omega’s heritage as a fraternity for music majors at DePauw University.

Stetson University shared this photo of sisters who are musicians and in the Pep Band:

Stetson2

Chapter members from the University of South Carolina enjoyed a movie to celebrate MacDowell Month:

USC

Sisters at Butler University put together a Spotify playlist of chapter members’ favorite songs:

BU

Sisters from Bowling Green State University attended a Music Industry Club meeting earlier this month:

BetaPhi_BGSU

Sisters from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill got together and created works of art:

UNC

Our chapter at Middle Tennessee State University is celebrating this month by featuring sisters who are involved in various forms of arts on their Instagram account:

MiddleTennesseeState

Ball State University featured their sister, Katie who works at the campus museum, the David Owsley Museum of Art:

BSU

Sisters from Utah State enjoyed a night out at the theater:

USU

Western Michigan University celebrated MacDowell Month by watching their sister perform at the Winter Gala.

WesternMichigan

What did you do to celebrate the arts this month? Post your photo on Instagram or share an update on Twitter with the hashtag #macdowellmonth.

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LPI Chapter Spotlight: Upsilon

Upsilon LPI spotlight.1Month: December
Chapter: Upsilon, Millikin University
VP Philanthropy: Danielle Farley

Fun Facts

  1. Name of event: Alpha Chi’s and Pies
  2. Amount raised: $1,319.78
  3. Shelter that will benefit from the donation: Dove Shelter in Decatur, IL

 

Tell us more!

1. Please provide a description of your philanthropy event (did you partner with other organizations on your campus or in your community? How long did it take you to plan the event? What were some of the highlights?) Upsilon LPI spotlight.2

Our previous VP of Philanthropy, Meghan Bryan, began planning for this event back in August of 2016 because she knew that it would require a lot of planning. This included coming up with decorations, planning out the layout of the event in our house and designing shirts, all to be ready for the event in October. All of the members of our chapter were required to bake two-dozen of any delicious treat, which was then set out at our event.

There were a few things that set us apart and contributed to our raising as much money as we did. Our campus is very small (only 2400 people), so we needed everyone on board in order to make the event a success! We made sure that we included new vegan and gluten free options, so that a larger group of people could enjoy Alpha Chi’s and Pies. We also made sure to label everything very carefully so that anyone with allergies could enjoy the sweet cookies, cakes and pies too. We got more of the campus community involved by having a “Greek Hour,” where members of other Greek organizations could come to our event between 8-9pm and enjoy pizza (pie) and would be present for the raffle drawing. We sold raffle tickets for three different prizes (movie-themed, makeup-themed and coffee-themed) for $0.50 a piece and ended up raising over $50 just from the raffle. At the event, not only did we set out tables with food, but we also decorated our house’s living room with colorful tables and a photo booth, so that our guests at the event felt comfortable and had places to take pictures and create memories.

2.     In your opinion, what made the event so successful?

What really set our event apart this year from years prior is the overall excitement we created on campus! We sold pre-sale tickets prior to the event, which really grabbed the attention of students, and we even reached out to some families in our local community. Tickets at the door were slightly more expensive than the pre-sale tickets, and we sold more tickets overall because many students wanted the cheaper price! The Upsilon chapter of Alpha Chi Omega has really strived this year to truly embody “Real. Strong. Women.”  in our everyday life, and doing so has made students on campus so excited for our events! Upsilon did an amazing job this year marketing for Alpha Chi’s and Pies, which included reaching out to freshman and transfer students who might not be aware of the annual Greek events, and talking up the event on social media. Something done differently this year: our planning committee made sure to promote our support of domestic violence awareness. It isn’t just about the sweet treats, it’s also about educating the campus community about WHY we raise money for the local battered women’s shelter. Our university only consists of around 2,400 undergraduate students, so to raise as much money as we did, knowing that Upsilon was able to educate so many of our peers was one of the most rewarding experiences being apart of Alpha Chi Omega.

3.     Why did your chapter choose to make the gift through the LPI process?

Our chapter chose to donate through the LPI process because it is the most secure way of processing the funds raised and to ensure that the donation is being put to good use.

4.     Why does your chapter value giving to both your local shelter and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation?

It’s a great way to make sure our donation was handled securely, and it’s an opportunity to also give back to the organization that does so much for us!

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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!

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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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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 mary@collegequestadvsing.com, or call my cell at (714) 614.2801. Good luck!

 

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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!

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Top Ten Takeaways

Carolyn WinebarBy Carolyn Winebar
Traveling Consultant, Region 1
Gamma Mu, Ball State University

August 4, 2016 is a day I will never forget for it was the day that began my journey of self-improvement, insight and opportunity. It was the day headquarters released the consultants from our five-week training into Alpha Chi Omega-land. On August 4th I took my first ever solo flight, my first connecting flight and had my first interaction with collegians as a chapter consultant. As a collegian myself, I idolized the consultants who visited my chapter. They were sophisticated, professional and well-spoken women. They always had the right answer to every question, never doubted themselves and knew who they were. This intimidated and inspired me. These women packed up their lives each week to set out on a new journey with a new chapter. How could I ever do that job? Well, these are the top ten things I’ve learned as a consultant so far, and you could learn as a consultant too.

10.  Consultants are advocates. We do this job because once we, too, had a consultant who  did it for us.

9.  Adaptability, willingness to ask for help and commitment to Alpha Chi Omega’s mission of enriching the lives of members through lifetime opportunities of friendship, leadership, learning and service (Alpha Chi Omega Mission Statement) are fundamental to the chapter consultant position.

8.  Flying over 15,000 miles in two and a half months has taught me the value of airplane etiquette.

a. First, respect other airplane passengers. Do not push in front of them and roll over their feet with your bag when de-boarding a plan. Everyone is going out the same door and will encounter each other again.

b. Second, have patience when waiting for luggage at the baggage claim. Yes, everyone is tired and wants their bags as well, but there is no use making a fuss. The bags will arrive when they arrive, and until then we will all avoid eye contact.

c. Finally, one day, you will fall asleep and wake up to another passenger watching you. This is normal, do not freak out. Close your eyes and rest once more, you deserve it.

7.  Being a chapter consultant will empower, challenge and enrich your life. Every day you will wake up grateful that this is what you do for a living.

6.  Occasionally, or maybe a lot, collegians will believe you are much older than twenty-two or twenty-three. Take this as a compliment for this means they see you as capable, knowledgeable and confident. And you are.

5.  Having the opportunity to be a collegiate member of Alpha Chi Omega is a privilege and a benefit. Being a chapter consultant will further deepen your understanding of the intricacies of this organization, and you will appreciate every moment you may have taken for granted during your college years.

4.  Positivity has the power to change every facet of your life and will foster strong feelings of sisterhood.

3.  You will begin to feel personally connected to the Founders and wonder if you could have the courage to begin something so phenomenal.

(The answer is yes, you could and you will, if you believe you can.)

2.  When you begin this journey, you will wonder if you will ever be able to positively impact anyone. But what you won’t realize, until you begin traveling, is that it is each woman you meet will be the one creating the impact, and this is what truly matters.

1.  Alpha Chi Omega women are unlike any others. They are strong, independent, intellectual women who have the passion and means to change the world. And I feel honored to call every woman in this organization, sister.

Check out our consultant Instagram page @axocc to follow along on our journeys this year, and visit the Becoming a Consultant page for more information about the position.

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