By 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…
- 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.
- 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…
- 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!
- 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).
- 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!
Lynette Wert, Psi
REAL: “Real” used to be defined by a fancy French word: raison d’être (“reason for being”). Now we sign up for symposiums teaching “Getting to Real” and drop catchphrases such as, “Get real, man!” “Real” simply represents the operating principles that guide one’s life. Everyone develops a philosophy, even if it is never stated in words.
We go through the years improvising, starring in our individual, unscripted, 24/7 reality shows. No rewinds. No retakes. Plenty of bloopers. Normal life? Life as usual? Never happens! Staying true to personal internal principles is the only preparation for tomorrow’s always-surprising segment of our life script.
Some believe machines may improve our reason for being through artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. We hope accessing quantum computing, acquiring fancier phones, using faster joysticks and wearing alternative vision glasses will make us smarter and happier. A better reality or just busier? Real gets confused with more. Real becomes obscured in the search for more “likes,” more stuff, more Botox!
The passing years have tuned my internal VCR to fast forward. Focus has shifted from temporary (more) to permanent (real). What time I fold the laundry won’t matter. The basket will just sit there. Visiting my friend in the hospital today will matter. She will feel better and I will feel better. Being real, for me, is now finite: knowing how to give and receive love and remembering when to laugh.
STRONG: First comes feeling safe and secure in one’s own skin, physically and emotionally. With that in place, an individual can proceed to confidence in self, which extends to compassion for others.
Three generations of AXO’s and a Little! (left to right.) Lynette Lemon Wert, Andrea Wert Ebeling, Christine Ebeling, and Jacqueline Hirlinger. Jacque- line was Christine’s “little” at Gamma Tau. Jacqueline is currently Gamma Tau president. Lynette and Andrea lived in the same Psi chapter house 25 years apart.
I was lucky to have strong women as ancestors. My grandmother married at 15 and had seven children—not surprising for 100 years ago. But then she finished high school, went to college, obtained her master’s degree and set up one of the nation’s first special education programs. Both my mother and mother-in-law set examples that strength meant mental toughness rather than physical brawn. Strong did not mean being the loudest or smartest person in the room (although sometimes they were both!).
Throughout my life, from my highest joys to my deepest devastations, those who arrived first, either to pop the champagne cork in celebration or to shed heartfelt tears in grief, were family, Alpha Chi sisters and a poet. My advice for good times and bad: Call your family, call your sisters and call a particularly good poet!
Real, strong qualities were revealed to me in Alpha Chi Omega by my big, Jane Thompson Garrett, and my little, Kay Husky Nida, during my college days in the Psi chapter. In my academic career at the university, I was mentored by Shakespeare scholar Dr. Shelley Rutherford and author and artist-in-residence Marilyn Harris Springer. As we became friends, we discovered the three of us had much in common as working writers, working mothers and Alpha Chi Omegas.
I believe every workplace is enhanced by women’s creativity. In professions from arts to zookeeper, it is invaluable to have like-minded, strong women as friends, colleagues and mutual supporters.
Lynette Lemon Wert with granddaughter Christine Noel Ebeling at Gamma Tau initiation 2013.
Women & Wisdom is not only a great use of alliteration, but also an organic, fortunate pairing of words. All of us are ultimately self-educated, helped partly by institutions and mostly by experience. A trusted guiding hand at home, in college or in our careers is often the crucial nudge forward on the path to our dreams. Mentors post the signs that point the way to success. Alpha Chi Omega’s Women & Wisdom program promises benefits both ways. After all, which brings the greater reward: finding a helping hand or being one?
Supporting the Foundation is an outgrowth of my dad’s forthright financial advice: “Money is a good thing, so spend some, save some and use some to do good.” The Foundation is a way to pass it on by building a bridge linking past knowledge to future endeavors. Those who will join Alpha Chi Omega in coming years will undoubtedly expand the definitions of education, enhancement and empowerment, and the Foundation’s resources will be there to help them.
Besides the thrill of having three generations of Alpha Chi Omegas currently in my family, I trust in the overall Panhellenic concept of fraternity. Finding a community of women with compatible goals allows for expanding opportunities for all, both on campus and in the community. I have been privileged to serve as a chapter recruitment chairman, a member of the alumnae house corporation and president of Oklahoma City Panhellenic. Fraternity life has offered me an opportunity to participate all the way from happy collegian to hurried carpooler to corporate exec to crafty grandma!
In 1956, my goal as a freshman was remarkably shallow. I wanted to join a sorority—any sorority! I was impressed that the Psi chapter had a high grade point average. The house had the same turquoise carpet and Community silver-plate pattern my family used at home, so I felt at ease. How fortunate that I followed the lead of my three best friends and pledged Alpha Chi Omega. Through the years, the chapter GPA varied. The house corporation changed the carpet and silverware many times. But after 60 years, I’m grateful that my best friends are still my best friends and Alpha Chi Omegas—real, strong, loyal, wise women.
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.
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
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.
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!
Why 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 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!
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.
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:
Chapter members from the University of South Carolina enjoyed a movie to celebrate MacDowell Month:
Sisters at Butler University put together a Spotify playlist of chapter members’ favorite songs:
Sisters from Bowling Green State University attended a Music Industry Club meeting earlier this month:
Sisters from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill got together and created works of art:
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:
Ball State University featured their sister, Katie who works at the campus museum, the David Owsley Museum of Art:
Sisters from Utah State enjoyed a night out at the theater:
Western Michigan University celebrated MacDowell Month by watching their sister perform at the Winter Gala.
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.
Chapter: Upsilon, Millikin University
VP Philanthropy: Danielle Farley
- Name of event: Alpha Chi’s and Pies
- Amount raised: $1,319.78
- 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?)
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!
By: 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.
- 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!
By 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 on 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 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!
Mary 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:
- I would save a sister’s life from a domestic violence situation
- 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
- 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”
- 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)
- I would become a “foodie” by tasting the best pizza and ice cream in the country on a weekly basis
- I would find my future graduate school where I earned a full-ride scholarship for my master’s degree because of my consultant job
- I would meet so many engaging alumnae from across the country who later became long-term mentors in my life
- I would become one of those engaged alumnae who love mentoring young women and volunteering in the community
- 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.
- 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)
- I would see and appreciate the backroads of America more than I ever imagined
- 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
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my cell at (714) 614.2801. Good luck!