Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

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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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