Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

So unless this is your first time here, and you are an absolute stranger, you know that Kappa Delta is one of my greatest passions, and it has been the opportunity of a lifetime to take on the role of Leadership Development Consultant this year. Nine months ago, I started this job with my sorority, and, though very excited, I had no idea what the next year would hold. Now, after traveling over 18,600 miles to meet nearly a thousand collegians at eight different universities, I could not be more thrilled that I accepted the adventure of a lifetime. While I fiercely enjoy my frequent flier benefits, ability to relish anonymity in airports, and exceptional packing skills, my job as a LDC for Kappa Delta Sorority has taught me much more than “How to be an Effective Traveler.” This job has taught me flexibility and adaptability, understanding and teamwork, and how to survive out of a suitcase while living outside my comfort zone. Among all these things, this job has also reinforced that Kappa Delta is exactly the organization in which I belong, and that choosing to work for my National Organization was the best decision I could have made.

In this position, I take on many roles whether it is motivator, delegator, supervisor, recruiter, educator, mentor, or friend and a twelve-hour workday is a short one. I have spent a great deal of my time over the past eight months with my amazing consultant partner Hillary rebuilding the foundation of Kappa Delta’s Sigma Sigma chapter at Iowa State by leading recruitment and member education efforts, as well as officer transition and training. While certainly rewarding, this project was not without its challenges. Adapting to a new collegiate atmosphere, with its own traditions and idiosyncrasies, was a challenge in and of itself. And I quickly realized the importance of adopting self-discipline and strategic planning, as well as utilizing my strong work ethic when setting my own deadlines. After much hard work, we initiated 74 new members, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Installing our first council of excited new leaders committed to the growth and success of the Sigma Sigma chapter was an incredibly proud and gratifying moment after months of dedication. 

As a sorority consultant, traveling is also a huge part of my job. When “on the road,” I live out of a suitcase as I visit chapters literally from coast to coast. On a typical visit, I have three to five days to work with a chapter of our national organization, meet with collegiate officers and university administrators, identify the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses, and leave them with an action plan to create positive change in their chapter. These quick assessments have taught me to seek opportunities for growth in every arena, never settling for “good enough,” but consistently striving to exceed expectations in each of our chapters, as well as in my own life. And at each institution, regardless of the chapter’s issues, or my lack of sleep or food, it is with the simplest glimmer in a new leader’s eyes or the softest “thank you” from a member that I am rejuvenated in my love for Kappa Delta, sure once again that I am in the exact job field that was intended for me.

While “Joe Accountant” in the window seat next to me may not understand the importance of my job as I attempt to explain it prior to takeoff, I am incredibly proud of the work I do. Each morning, I wake up knowing that I have the potential to change at least one student’s life today, just as a former Kappa Delta consultant changed mine within her three-day visit to the University of Tennessee in 2010. Wherever I go, I keep the vision of Kappa Delta in the forefront of my mind: to inspire women to greatness, and I am lucky enough to say that everyday Kappa Delta women everywhere continue to inspire me to reach for the same goal.

With all of this in mind, I am pleased to announce that I have chosen to take advantage of some very exciting career opportunities at Kappa Delta National Headquarters. It is with a bittersweet heart that I share with yall that I will be cutting my consultant year short because I have accepted a full-time position with Kappa Delta. I am so excited to be continuing my dedication to our sorority as a full-time staff member at Headquarters, and I am very much looking forward to moving to Memphis at the end of the month to start this new chapter of my life! I'm also thrilled to be closer to home =) Hi, Mom!

SO! Beginning January 22, I will be living and working in Memphis full-time as the interim Special Projects Coordinator for the Department of Chapter Services, and I also look forward to transitioning into the position of Chapter Services Coordinator in May! It is such an exciting time full of more new places and new experiences, and - as always - sharing them with my Kappa Delta sisters! I can't wait! Until next time...


Black Lung and all!

This past week, I was with the women of our Sigma Upsilon chapter at Indiana University for Recruitment, and it was just a hoot and a half! Before I get into the fun details of it all, I just have to share with you about the SNOW! I had never seen this much snow, in one place, in person, in my entire life. I'm sure the girls thought I was mentally unstable because I could not stop taking pictures of it! If you know me, it goes without saying that I was a total whimp in regards to the cold, but I really did enjoy the snow - It was very pretty! I was also thrilled to be greeted in the airport by a flocked Christmas tree post Christmas =) Just thought I'd add that bit of happiness to this post.

So like I said, the purpose of my visit was to assist with Recruitment, and ooooooh baby do they love their frills at Indiana University! It was like every yard of tulle and every speck of glitter in the entire state was being hoarded in the homes on North Jordan. And I LOVED IT! The pictures below are from Sigma Upsilon's skit round. This year's theme was "Real Housewives of Disney," and today's post title is a line from their skit. Cinderella explains to her fellow characters that she got the black lung from cleaning her step mother's chimney (which I thought was hilarious because I am clearly a horrible person), and that she's searching for a sorority of women who will accept her for who she is "black lung and all!" (again, hilarious).

The photo above and to the far left is the back of Sigma Upsilon's president Aubrey's car after a late night grocery run. We had fifty 2-liters of ginger ale so that we could make "KayDee Lady Limeades" for like 450 potential new members. We were laughing so hard while driving from grocery store to grocery store to stock up on ginger ale, and ended up celebrating our shopping trip's success with some late night Steak-n-Shake...again, these girls were a hoot! And like all KDs, loved to eat - which I appreciate.

Bid Day came before we knew it, and Sigma Upsilon's theme was "Of All the Fish in the Sea, Kappa Delta is the one for Me!" My jaw kept dropping over how precious all of their decorations were! From fishy name tags, to fish nets on the chandeliers, boat ropes down the stairs, and gummy crabs on top of cupcakes, no detail was left behind! And Bid Night at Indiana is like nothing I've ever seen before! The new members get their bids in their residence halls, and then at a designated time, load buses to head out to their new sorority homes. As the busses come down North Jordan, all of the sororities crowd the streets to meet the busses and celebrate their new members while cheering at the top of their lungs! It was so much fun to watch, and these girls have my full respect for waiting in the cold for all of their new members!! Brrrrrr!!!

I was so sad to leave Indiana because I had so much fun with all these ladies, but I hope to see them again soon! And I am thrilled to now be back in Boston with my Eta Phi girls for their Recruitment! Until next time...