By: Catherine Geanon
Alpha Chi, Bulter University
Region One, Traveling Consultant
Imagine this: it is October training back at headquarters for the chapter consultants who travel to established chapters across the country. We have been on the road for 12 weeks, visiting a new chapter every week. After 6-10 weeks of recruitment visits and 2-6 weeks of chapter management visits, we are suddenly reunited with the only people in the world who understand our lifestyle. It is an emotional reunion, one filled with laughter and tears. We reminisce for hours immediately following our reunion, as we share a multitude of stories – weird, funny, sad, infuriating and inspiring.
Unbeknownst to us at the time, part of the storytelling would include a workshop facilitated by our supervisor during which she asked, “When you describe your position to others, how do you describe it? What do you tell family and friends who ask you why you decided to become a chapter consultant?” Long story short, many of us responded in a similar fashion, “It’s more than a dream job. It’s an opportunity to work with real, strong women across the country and to give back to an organization that gave us so much in college. To empower women across the country and help them to become the best version of themselves is a profoundly personal journey, too. Each day we conquer our own fears and challenge ourselves to become the women who we always wanted to be.”
Fast forward to December training. All of the consultants are reunited for the first time – both traveling and resident consultants this time – since we either hit the road or moved to our respective resident locations last. As we sit together in a professional development workshop led by our supervisors, we are asked to find a job description for our dream jobs. As we do this, I realize that the hard and soft skills that we learn and refine as consultants are completely transferable to all of our future careers, whatever they might be. More significantly, though, each of us has gained considerable insight into defining and identifying the potential career paths and opportunities that are unique to our self-fulfillment.
During this workshop, I realized that I could live a life full of wonder, inspiration, passion, service, meaningful relationships, and yes, my fair share of adversity (which hopefully results in resilience and growth). I am a chapter consultant and an aspiring physician’s assistant, and each day I am amazed at how much this position has taught me about finding what I call “my employment feng shui.” I was carefully, and intentionally, placed by Alpha Chi Omega as a travelling consultant for region one. In the future when I look for the right physician’s assistant position, I will similarly seek out my personal employment feng shui – a combination of all of the right workplace factors (i.e. the physician, support staff, patient population and amount of potential positional satisfaction). I appreciate daily the effort and thought that was put into placing me in my current position. I hope to apply a similar level of skill and expertise when I am searching for my best fit as a physician’s assistant.
Looking back on my time thus far as a chapter consultant, I have created a list of the practical and sometimes profoundly personal steps that will help me to once again find the best position for me:
- Start with “why”: By learning to start conversations with the “why” as opposed to the “what” or “how,” it is possible to understand the true meaning behind actions and behaviors. Why do I want to be a physician’s assistant? Why do I want one position instead of another? In order for me to start with why, I must ask myself what motivates me? How have I found fulfillment and inspiration in other positions that I’ve had?
- Find a mentor: Although this may seem self-evident, it can be a challenge to find the balance of traits needed in a mentor – someone who is knowledgeable, honest and supportive. I must do the proper research: who do I know that is a physician’s assistant? Does s/he possess the qualities and expertise that I seek in a mentor? Can this person both challenge and support me?
- Know your love language: At first glance, it may seem odd to use this terminology to reference a career since the original intent behind knowing one’s love language was for amorous purposes. But, let me explain what I mean. During consultant training this past summer, we each determined our love language. I learned that my love language is words of affirmation. Can I find a career and a position in which I can receive words of affirmation as my form of praise? Absolutely! In my current position, my motivation is driven by members and chapters that reveal the impact I have made; if I can guide one officer’s leadership development and a woman tells me that I have done so, then I feel that my efforts were worthwhile and meaningful. In the future, I see these words of affirmation coming from patients who I treat, colleagues with whom I work, and the physician(s) who oversee my work. I am hopeful that I can find a practice opportunity where my co-workers and I can understand each person’s love language enough to create a supportive and productive work environment.
- Focus upon realistic optimism: When searching for the right position, it is important for me to remember to remain realistic and optimistic; rather than focusing upon the positions I don’t want, I need to find the ones I do want. It is so much easier to describe what I don’t want in a position than it is to determine what exactly I do want. Realistic optimism can be achieved in various ways. I have found the journey of a chapter consultant to be both incredibly challenging and rewarding; and thus, I must be able to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to overcome the latter. I must also be adaptable and appreciate adversity because I cannot be prepared for every situation, person or behavior I will encounter. Paralleling the unknown that is encountered, I must also remember to set realistic goals. For me, a career that is easy is not necessarily fulfilling. I must ask myself, “Are my goals and my ideal position realistic for me to accomplish/attain? Is it realistic for me to work certain hours? Does a position offer the benefits I am seeking?”
- Find an opportunity…not a job: I absolutely love that being a chapter consultant is more than a job. It’s an opportunity. Yes, I do get paid to travel to chapters across the nation, meet women I am able to inspire and who inspire me and I have the potential to create change in a chapter and influence lives. But these incredible benefits result from an opportunity, not a job. I choose not to view this position or any position in the future as merely a “job” because there is often a negative connotation associated with that term. I am seeking a lifetime opportunity in which I can positively impact others, create change and encounter experiences that consistently help me to become the best version of myself.
- Seek a position that you can “grow with” rather than “grow into”: For me, a dream position is one which I find challenging, stimulating and ultimately, doable. A position for which I have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to understand or accomplish effectively, or one that I consistently feel is not feasible is not the one for me. Since I am interested in family practice, my ideal position is also one in which I can achieve employment longevity.
- Start on Cloud 8: Ultimately, my ideal physician’s assistant position is similar to my current position as a chapter consultant. I must find an opportunity that is fulfilling and stimulating as-is; this is cloud eight. I must also find an opportunity that has “Aha!” or ”Wow!” moments, moments that catapult regular feelings of satisfaction to those of euphoria; this is cloud nine. Finding a position or opportunity that is always perfect – one in which I am always on cloud nine – is impossible. What I can find instead is a position that helps me to reach cloud nine as frequently as possible.
I know how to reach my cloud eight. Do you?
By: Jordyn Chew
Epsilon Kappa, California State University – Fullerton
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year for many reasons. It is the time of year when lights are strung on houses, the search is on for the perfect Christmas tree, the community is decorated in red and green, peppermint-flavored drinks arrive at Starbucks, time off from school or work is spent with friends and family, and, of course, the exchange of gifts too.
Surrounded by red and green, I am reminded of Alpha Chi Omega everywhere I look (not that this is anything out of the ordinary). During this season of giving, I can’t help but reflect on the ways in which Alpha Chi has given so much to me. Within this last year, I cherished my last semester as a collegiate member, became an alumna and Life Loyal member, and began my first year as a chapter consultant. Through these various experiences, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the ways in which Alpha Chi Omega gives abundantly to our new and lifetime members.
As a consultant, my work with colonizing one of Alpha Chi’s newest chapters allowed me to witness the ways in which our newest members’ lives are instantaneously changed by the addition of Alpha Chi Omega. From the moment they arrived on bid day, the look of excitement spread across their faces is one I will never forget. Most of these women never thought they would join a sorority, but they knew Alpha Chi Omega and what we stand for was something they wanted to be a part of and couldn’t contain their excitement.
Within days, as our new sisters had their first chapter meeting and sisterhood event, Alpha Chi Omega gave them the opportunity to make new friends they may not have met otherwise, hone their leadership skills as they ran for positions, develop personally as they went through our Dedication program, and be a part of something bigger than themselves like they never had before. Their love for Alpha Chi Omega was growing with every passing day.
As weeks turn into months and these new members become lifetime members, a whole new set of opportunities will present themselves. They will continue to expand their social and professional networks within their chapter, on their campus, in the community and with alumnae and sisters across the nation. They will understand the importance and beauty of our Ritual and how it can guide them in their everyday lives. They will learn about healthy relationships and domestic violence awareness while making a difference on their campus and in the community through Healthy Relationships Week and DVA Month; educational programming; and philanthropy events hosted by our chapters. They will have multiple opportunities for personal and leadership development with our MyJourney program, Leadership Academy, educational programs, such as InTune and Represent, and so many more.
As months turn into years and these collegiate members become alumnae members, these women will continue to be presented with opportunities because of their membership in Alpha Chi Omega. They will go on to become members of alumnae chapters and continue fostering and forming relationships with their sisters. They will give to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and support our organization in providing educational and philanthropic endeavors to our sisters across the nation. They will take on an advisor or other volunteer role and have the chance to mentor our collegiate members, play their part in supporting and advancing our organization and attend Volunteer Summit and other advisor trainings.
During this season of giving, I encourage you to reflect on the ways in which you can give back to the organization that has given us so much. As we approach another recruitment season, and the colonization of two new chapters, you might look for ways to help give the gift of Alpha Chi Omega to potential new members. As convention is fast approaching, you might give yourself the gift of joining sisters in Orlando to connect with sisters across the nation. As we are busy buying gifts for our family and friends, think about recognizing a sister with a donation to the Foundation in her name. As new executive boards are elected and our chapters head into 2016, consider how you can get more involved with your chapter as a collegian or as an alumnae volunteer.
As I recall sharing during a recruitment speech, “Alpha Chi Omega is truly something special.” We offer our members not only a lifetime of sisterhood but also a lifetime of opportunity and growth, and I could not be more proud to be a part of such an organization.
With our colors of red and green, my chapter sisters used to say, “It’s always Christmas in Alpha Chi.” With our giving spirit, that couldn’t be more true.
By: Taylor Thesing
Epsilon Tau, Virginia Tech
Resident – University of Kentucky
We make decisions every day. Some decisions are easy and don’t require much thought, while others are more difficult. Some decisions are small and alter our paths ever so slightly, while others are big and change the whole course of our lives. When I was 18 years old, I made two big decisions that changed the course of my life.
First, I decided what college to attend. Most people know that I chose to attend Virginia Tech, but not everyone knows that I also applied and was accepted to the University of Kentucky. Attending Virginia Tech allowed me to stay in-state where I could be nearer to my family, yet left me to sometimes wonder what my college experience would have been like had UK been my choice.
Not long after I arrived at Virginia Tech, I made another life-altering decision: I chose to join Alpha Chi Omega, an organization that I fell in love with during formal recruitment. Over the course of four years, I made so many fun memories with my chapter. Visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee for my sisterhood retreat; dancing with sisters for our signature philanthropy event; attending date parties; and mentoring, then initiating a new member class in the spring of 2014 were among some of the best. Because of Alpha Chi, I was able to take on a leadership role, become more actively involved in the community, excel academically and meet my forever friends – the kind who will one day be my future bridesmaids!
As I reflect on these life-altering decisions, it becomes clear how different my life would have been had I attended UK. Without a chapter on campus at that time, there would have been no Alpha Chi sisters by my side during my college journey. Imagine my surprise as a newly hired chapter consultant when I found out my assignment would be UK! This opportunity has allowed my Alpha Chi experience to come full circle.
Over the past semester, it has been my privilege to be part of the team behind the recolonization of the Delta Omega chapter at the University of Kentucky. Lexington has become part of my life after all, not as a collegian but as a young professional, working for an organization that helped mold me into the woman I am today. Sharing my love for Alpha Chi with the entire UK community and, more importantly, with the founding members and advisors of a newly installed chapter has been very rewarding. I see how much of a positive impact Alpha Chi is already having in the members’ lives, and I’m making a whole new set of memories that I will cherish forever. Together we are creating an amazing legacy in the Big Blue Nation.
By: Haleigh Robers
Delta Zeta, Central Michigan University
Resident Consultant – Loyola Marymount University
With one of the most beloved American holidays, Thanksgiving, right around the corner, there’s no doubt that our minds are filled with anxious thoughts. Whether it’s anticipating a much-needed break or already tasting the Thanksgiving Day menu, I can see the urgency in everyone’s faces for the holiday to arrive.
As a chapter consultant, being on a college schedule comes with the territory, so I still mirror this anticipation felt by students all across the country. Although I can cook for myself, I’m ready for a home-cooked meal. Although I call my Mom almost every day, I’m ready to fly those 2,032 miles and be surrounded by family again. And yes, although I love my job, like anyone, I’m ready for a relaxing break!
As it is with many holidays, we tend to get preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes, we forget what the holidays are truly about amidst the agendas, the planning, the food and the parties.
Thanksgiving sometimes gets overlooked as that one holiday that falls between Halloween and Christmas, but the beauty of Thanksgiving is that, in its simplest form, it’s a day devoted to giving thanks, gratitude and appreciation.
I have always been grateful for Alpha Chi Omega. During my collegiate years, my chapter gave me a home away from home, some of my best friends, personal development, leadership opportunities and endless experiences and memories that I will forever refer to as the best four years of my life.
After becoming a consultant, however, I have exponentially added to my gratitude list. In this position, I’ve learned a few things. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work for an organization that I love and meet other women who love it too. I am lucky enough to work with some of the best women I have ever met, and even luckier that they are my sisters and my support system. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to give back to an organization that changed my life in amazing ways. Alpha Chi Omega has provided me a world of opportunity, and none of it would be possible without the women who came before me and the women today who work so hard to see Alpha Chi live up to everything it is meant to be.
So this Thanksgiving I ask you to do one thing; when you start to feel that anxious feeling to get home and away from it all, pause and reflect on everything you have to be thankful for. We waste so much time wanting to get to the next place instead of taking a moment to send some gratitude into the world.
“To appreciate every little service rendered; to see and appreciate all that is noble in another…” – words of wisdom from our very own symphony. If there are sisters you are thankful for, let them know. I know I’ll be doing just that this Thanksgiving holiday.
Thank you, Alpha Chi Omega, for all the wonderful things you’ve given so many women over the years to be thankful for.
By: Valerie and Giancarlo Magliocchetti
Parents of Maree Magliocchetti, Past Chapter Consultant
For those of you who know Maree, you know of her strong will and determination, especially once she sets her mind on something. As her parents we know it all too well, so when she announced to us that she couldn’t be more excited about a job offer as a chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega we knew two things. The first was that she was going to take the job, the second that she was going to devote her heart and soul into it and we couldn’t be happier or prouder of our daughter.
Throughout her years at the University of New Hampshire we watched as she grew into the impressive woman who stood before us on the eve of her graduation, and we knew that Alpha Chi Omega had something to do with it. We were excited for our daughter but we would be lying if we said we weren’t a little apprehensive about the chapter consultant opportunity. She had always been independent, but her leaving home and traveling for however long worried us. Maree is one of our five kids and as a family we are very close. We of course would miss her greatly but we were most concerned about how she would feel away from her friends and family. Would she get home sick? Was she safe? We knew Maree could do anything she set her mind to, but was this the right professional move for her?
It didn’t take long for our concerns to dissolve. Her enthusiasm and happiness rang clear in our frequent conversations. It often seemed unfathomable that she could be as energetic and excited as she was with the pace at which she traveled, but as time went on we realized it was because she was thriving in the environment in which she found herself. We would inquire about her safety and if she was home sick with all the travel. She responded with, “I miss my family and friends a tremendous amount, but I’m not homesick nor am I unsafe because I am always surrounded by sisters.” 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. We would ask if it ever got too much for her to handle and she would say “it’s not always easy but it is during the difficult tasks that I find myself growing the most.” And grow she did.
The truth is there were moments when Maree was homesick; there were times when life’s unexpected turns gave her reason to question whether she should continue traveling away from home. There were times when tasks appeared even too daunting for our daughter to overcome. But for all of those times there were moments that proved to us and to Maree, that working for her organization as a chapter consultant is where she needed to be. The kinds of moments when hard work paid off, when she left a trip knowing she helped a chapter break though a barrier and accomplish a goal that seemed impossible. There were moments of humble reflection when she visited somewhere she had only read about in books or seen in movies; or met someone from across the country who helped her see something in a way she hadn’t before. Moments when she would talk about her renewed faith in humanity as she marveled at the kindness and compassion she found in the women with whom she worked. It goes without saying but the the joy we felt as parents hearing her describe the moments above was incredible. So when the time came for her to discuss with us the opportunity to travel an additional year, we couldn’t help but empower her to accept.
The last of our concerns, whether this was the right professional move for her was answered at the end of her journey working for Alpha Chi Omega. 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. Maree decided that she wanted to pursue a career in finance and move back to New England. We are thrilled that her versatile professional experience led her to where she is now, working in Boston at Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor. We are happy she is happy and it’s of course an extra bonus that she’s back in the area, nice and close to her family. Yet, above all we are so pleased with the woman Maree has become. Her involvement in this organization throughout college and after graduation has allowed her to prosper into, as Maree says it, a “better version of herself” and for that, the Magliocchetti family sends their everlasting thanks to the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega.
Valerie and Giancarlo Magliocchetti
By: Maree Maglioccheti
Alpha Tau, University of New Hampshire
Private Banker Advisory Associate, Morgan Stanley
The benefits of becoming a chapter consultant are endless. This experience of a lifetime equipped me with a unique and particular set of skills and knowledge (not to sound like Liam Neeson from Taken) that opened up professional windows and doors, which allowed me to land a job I probably wouldn’t have without this position. Through this journey I became a better version of myself, physically, mentally and professionally. This better version of Maree, paired with the support of sisters nationwide, made for a powerful combination that allowed me to choose my next desired career move. Finance is where I found my home, yet the possibilities of where I could go after serving as a chapter consultant were limitless. This is evidenced by the various disciplines where you will find consultant alumnae such as law, higher education, medical industry, sales and a plethora of other impressive examples. So what is it about this position that leads to so many opportunities? Allow me to articulate the professional value of this unique experience the best way I know how, through my story of how I went from uncertain senior majoring in history to chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega to working in financial advising at Morgan Stanley.
Three years ago I was a senior majoring in history at the University of New Hampshire, and for the first time throughout my collegiate career I was unsure of my next move. I had always assumed I would go onto law school, but after a summer internship at a firm it dawned on me that law school might not be the right fit. So there I found myself, a ‘type-A planner’ in uncharted waters of uncertainty. It was then that a trusted role model suggested I look into the chapter consultant opportunity. I hadn’t even realized such an opportunity existed, it felt like I had found the perfect pair of Tory Burch shoes on super sale. A job opportunity traveling the country working for an organization that had brought me so much joy as an undergraduate, what else could I ask for?
Well, I got far more than I could have asked for; here are just a few of my favorites…
Experience working with all different types of people: As a chapter consultant you meet different people every week and have the opportunity to work and build relationships with collegians, volunteers and higher education professionals, from all different demographics. You never know where life will take you, and having experience working with all types of people allows you to be incredibly adaptable in any work environment. This ability has served me well in my current role in financial advising where I work with different types of people every day.
Developing the most important relationship of them all: In the words of the great Carrie Bradshaw, “the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself…” Of course for much of your journey as a chapter consultant, you are surrounded by incredible sisters who make you feel at home wherever you go. That said, there is only one person on whom you can rely to be there though it all: yourself. Traveling as a chapter consultant you often find yourself in unfamiliar places, trying new things and growing every day. In embarking on this journey, away from everything that I had ever known, I was able to better understand myself, what I enjoyed, what my strengths were, what I wanted to accomplish and what made me happy. It took traveling elsewhere for me to realize how much I loved and missed my New England home. I found law wasn’t for me but rather the stock market and finance that peaked my interest. Only after better understanding myself, was I able to decide where I wanted to go professionally and truly see all that I had to offer.
Independence: Before I started traveling as a chapter consultant I had never even rented a car. After my two years I could navigate through any airport, city, college campus, etc. I was able to rely on myself in ways I hadn’t before. Independence is attractive in any profession. The way I see it, if I can rely on myself to navigate my way around the country, there are few things that I can’t navigate my way around.
Even Tom Brady Can’t Win Alone…Teamwork: As I mentioned, independence is attractive in any profession and so is its cousin, teamwork. Fortunately, as a consultant you get experience in both. Whether it’s with other consultant sisters, volunteers, headquarters staff or collegians, consultants have numerous opportunities to develop their ability to work on a team.
Cultured: The idea of “becoming more cultured” is so often associated with the knowledge one gains when they travel abroad. Yet I would argue that there is so much to learn in our own vast backyard. As a consultant I saw some of the natural wonders of our country, including the evergreens of Oregon, the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi river and the Pacific Ocean. I expanded my palette beyond my wildest dreams, from In-N-Out Burger to New Orleans crawfish, from Kansas City BBQ to Nashville hot chicken. I explored countless cities, towns and college and university campuses and I was able to meet and work with people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Everyday presented an opportunity to see or try new things, and I experienced in my two years what some people would be lucky to do in a lifetime; not to mention I got to do it with sisters for an organization I love, enough said right? While enjoying myself on the tour de Alpha Chi Omega, I also gained a better understanding of what it means to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” Make no mistake I have not seen it all, but I did see quite a bit, which has allowed me to connect with people in a way I was unable to do before. Learning more about the culture of America has given me a leg up in building rapport in interviews, with clients, peers and people in general. To put it another way, I gained a vast amount of good ole life experience, and that never goes out of style
Renaissance woman: As a chapter consultant you are a Jane of all trades, a true Renaissance woman. You work in a number of disciplines, from finance to marketing, from sales to leadership; the list goes on and on. You participate in one on one and group meeting atmospheres; you facilitate workshops, develop your public speaking and exercise your ability to think critically 24/7. You become a professional chameleon. Not only that but you are also able to either taste-test what you really enjoy, if you don’t know already, or further confirm what it is that you are passionate about.
Strength of our sisters: The skills and experience I have described enabled me to stand out from the rest in a sea of applicants in this competitive job market, but what got me to cross the finish line was the fact that I had the strength of my sisters behind me. It was my sisters who put me in touch with people who helped me better understand industries in which I was interested through informational interviews. It was our sisters on headquarters staff who helped me to further develop my résumé, interview skills and better understand all I had to offer professionally. It was our consultant and collegiate sisters who were some of my greatest cheerleaders. It was our sisters who, through their own accomplishments and endeavors, inspired me to continue to seek the heights. As I have mentioned before, our sisters nationwide are marvelous, so if they believed I could do anything, the smart choice would be to follow suit. Thanks to the chapter consultant position and the support of our sisters, I am exactly where I want to be, happy, in a profession I am excited about, in a city I love.
So maybe you know what you want to do after college or maybe you don’t, maybe there are opportunities you want to explore but aren’t sure if you have what it takes; whatever your situation may be, I urge you to consider applying to be a chapter consultant. If you’re like me, Alpha Chi Omega changed your collegiate experience for the better, why not see where it can take YOU after graduation?
By: Lisa Roane
Delta, Allegheny College
Being halfway through my second year as a chapter consultant, I reflect on my time and struggle to put into words all of the experiences that I’ve had in my position. It’s been a whirlwind of traveling, recruitment, presentations, meetings with officers and lots of fun along the way. I’ve been able to experience being both a resident consultant and a traveling consultant. I’ve told more than a few people that although I’ve spent both years talking about Alpha Chi Omega a lot, it really feels like I’ve had two unique experiences that have helped me grow in different ways. As a resident, I helped a group of women who didn’t even know each other become a fully-functioning, self-governing sisterhood. As a traveler, I’m able to visit different chapters all over the country (mostly the east coast) and help them see what they are great at and where they can improve.
Both of these rewarding experiences are difficult to explain but the best way that I can tell you about my experience is by telling you what I’ll put on my résumé after having this job and what I wish I could put on my résumé about my time spent as a chapter consultant!
Things I’ll put on my résumé:
- Consulted for a non-profit organization with over 200,000 members
- Facilitated workshops and presentations to groups ranging from 20-200+
- Completed multiple weekly reports on organizational management and goals, in addition to expense reporting and recommending strategies for organizational improvements
- Recruited 200+ prospective members and student leaders to form a new organization on campus
- Learned to travel and work independently
- Used critical thinking skills to brainstorm solutions to situations surrounding recruitment, risk management, finances and conflict resolution
- Built and maintained professional relationships with headquarters staff, university personnel and volunteers
Things I wish I could put on my résumé:
- Having a plethora of consultant sisters as my support system and knowing they will always laugh at my jokes (or occasionally at me?)
- Watching 155 women being initiated into the bond of Alpha Chi Omega at the University of Connecticut
- Building the confidence in leaders and chapter members alike to help them see what they are capable of accomplishing
- Receiving a text from one of my officers telling me she has gotten into medical school
- Bonding with everyone I meet over our love of food
- Being told by a collegian that her sisters were talking about how I was a Ritual guru (LIFE GOALS!!!)
- Hearing how glad women were that I came to visit their chapter and made an impact on them
- Being able to take my knowledge and love of Alpha Chi Omega and share it with others
I can truly say that the skills I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve formed with my sisters – coworkers, collegians and alumnae alike – are all things I will hold on to for the rest of my life. I know there are many aspects of my résumé that will make it stand out because of my time as a consultant, but I wish it could express everything else that has made my job so meaningful and memorable. This job, this lifestyle, has allowed me to grow in ways, both professionally and personally, that I would have never imagined possible, and I can always thank Alpha Chi Omega for allowing me to seek the heights!
By Devon Yamauchi
Nu chapter, University of Colorado
Chapter Consultant 2012-2013
Growing up with two lawyers as parents and watching a lot of Law and Order SVU, I thought I was destined to become a lawyer. Halfway through my third year of law school at the University of Virginia, I am frighteningly close to that goal. (Of course, there’s still the whole passing-the-bar thing, but one obstacle at a time.) Given this clear goal, you might have thought I would have gone straight through college and into law school. But I didn’t—and it’s because I joined Alpha Chi Omega.
I won’t go on about what this organization means to me. I’ve said it before on this very blog, and many of my sisters have said it better. Suffice it to say that it changed my life and helped me become the woman I wanted to be. But my experience would not have been complete without serving for a year as a chapter consultant.
I spent the better part of the fall semester of my senior year agonizing over what to do when I graduated. I had taken the LSAT, my grades were where I needed them to be, I could get my letters of recommendation easily. In short, I was in a good position to apply to law schools. But something just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to law school; I did. But I also knew that all the same schools would be there next year, and once I started down that road, the opportunity to become a consultant would be gone.
So I did what I normally do and called my parents. I expected resistance. I expected them to be worried about what impact this might have on my future, whether I was having second thoughts about law school or that they might think this was me being afraid of the future and trying to hold onto something familiar. When I called, I was prepared to deal with any of those responses. What I was not prepared for was their easy acceptance and encouragement. “It sounds like a great opportunity,” my mom said. “Law school will be there next year,” said my dad. When I asked why they were so supportive, they told me it was because they had seen how much I had grown since joining Alpha Chi as a sophomore, and they understood my desire to give back to the organization that had given me so much.
After that, I did what I realized I had wanted to do all along: I applied. I got to go to headquarters for the very first time for my call-back interview. I received and accepted the offer to be a traveling consultant for Region 3. I flew off to Indy for training and met the most amazing colleagues and sisters you could ask for. And then I started my travels.
At the beginning of my very first visit, I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone. I realized I was the person more than two hundred young women were looking to for answers. I was the first line of defense for any emergencies. And who was I? A very newly graduated college student who’d had five weeks of training. I wasn’t much older than many of these women and not much more experienced. But, there was a job to be done and it was my job to do it. So I put on my makeup and heels to convince myself that I was a confident consultant, just like the other sisters who had visited my chapter and somehow managed to save the day with unflappable grace. I don’t know how graceful I was—my lovely sisters from that first chapter I visited may have their own ideas. But we pulled through it together and I remember fighting back tears when I said my goodbyes.
It was on the plane, the first time I’d had only myself for company in the last two weeks, that I had time to reflect on the visit. This was the first time in my life that I had truly been in charge and ultimately responsible. It had been daunting, but I had done it. I could do it again. It was through this experience that I learned to have confidence in myself, in my abilities, in my judgment and in my own self-worth. With each new visit, I learned new lessons, faced new challenges and continued to grow that confidence.
While I learned a great deal about people, met incredible women, traveled the country and had an amazing time, it is what I learned about myself that made the experience invaluable. Whether consultants go on to work in higher education, become lawyers, become executives or any other career you can imagine, it’s the confidence we learned to have in ourselves, and in our judgment, that gives us the strength to succeed.
Transitioning from college to the “real world” is hard. You wonder if you’re really ready. You wonder what the world will throw at you and if you can handle it. For me, taking a year to learn about myself was what I needed to walk through those law school doors confident that, no matter what, I would be able to make my way in the world.
And of course, I had the time of my life.
By: Jennifer Daurora
Delta, Allegheny College
National Vice President; Foundation Trustee
On a cold January day in 1996, I celebrated with 22 of the most amazing young women I could have ever hoped to know as a freshman at Allegheny College. We didn’t realize it at the time, but each of us was destined to do amazing things to make this world a better place.
It’s funny now when I think back to our lives during college. Whether it was studying to pass organic chemistry or trying to finish that 25-page paper, did we have any inkling of the women we were about to become? The clues were all around us. It’s that spark you see in someone that you can’t quite put into words, but you know her and you know that she is someone special. This is how I felt then about the women I joined Alpha Chi Omega with back in 1996. To this day I am still amazed by the women we have become.
From Beth, who is working in the cardiac unit of Children’s Hospital, and Erin, working in neurosurgery, to Amie, who is fighting for justice at the U.S. Attorney’s office, and Kim, who took a teaching job right out of school in one of the poorest schools in a Baltimore just to make a difference in a child’s life. Allison set her vision and now runs a successful chiropractic practice in New York. Lisa is so committed to her community that she runs a soccer association giving more than 500 kids a safe place to develop learning skills on and off the field. Kathy, the doctor of physical therapy, is also a crusader for children, and Paula is now the executive director of the Metropolitan Ballet in Maryland. These sisters followed their dreams and are models for the real, strong woman within each Alpha Chi Omega.
This spring we will celebrate 20 years of membership in Alpha Chi Omega. I knew them when they were dreaming, and I will support their future dreams wherever they may lead. But I know they will lead to us someday seeking the heights.
By: Ashley Strawser
Beta Eta, Florida State University
Resident Consultant – University of Kentucky
As Alpha Chi Omegas, we know that one in four women are affected by domestic violence. That statistic increases to one out of three women affected in college. We all know the statistics, but do we ever really take the time to think about what those numbers mean? I never really grasped the statistics until we began recolonizing the Delta Omega chapter at the University of Kentucky. During our recolonization process, we talk about what Alpha Chi Omega stands for, what we value and what we support. In my interactions with potential new members, one topic in particular would frequently surface: Alpha Chi Omega’s support of domestic violence awareness. Whether these women were personally affected, had a family member or friend affected by domestic violence or had heard about domestic violence in the media, many of the women interested in Alpha Chi Omega had some sort of connection to our philanthropy.
During our sisterhood retreat a few weeks ago, we had the members do a “fireside chat,” where they shared a story about something that happened in their life to make them who they are today. As we went around the room, some of the women openly shared stories of how domestic violence has affected them and how they have overcome it. It was in this very moment that it hit me that the one in four statistic is a reality. These women are not a statistic, however. They are real and they are strong. Sharing such personal stories is not easy, especially with 250 new sisters, but these women are brave and their sisters are accepting.
This fireside conversation helped me get to know the founding class of the Delta Omega chapter of Alpha Chi Omega on a deeper level than I ever imagined. Many of the stories told that night took courage to share, and I truly admire every woman who opened up to her new sisters. I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to help these amazing women find their home at the University of Kentucky, and they all hold a special place in my heart.