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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, December 16, 2013 08:00 AM, by Ashley Atkins
Ashley Atkins
Beta Rho/Duke
Two years ago, I was asked to serve as the strategic planning committee chairman, responsible for implementation of the Fraternity's relatively new Plan of Aspirations. Grand Council had adopted the plan in February 2011 after several months in development, and I was thrilled to take on this job! I get really excited about strategic plans and I thought, what a better way to give back to the Fraternity than by using my skills in strategic planning. You may be thinking, "You actually like strategic plans?" But, I truly believe that they are so important to organizations like Kappa Alpha Theta. They provide us with a roadmap for the work that we do. And for an organization with nearly 200,000 members spread across the world, it helps everyone have a shared responsibility for moving the organization forward in the same direction.

Developing and implementing a strategic plan like our Plan of Aspirations focuses an organization, its chapters, and its members to think about "Where are we? Where do we want to go? And how do we get there?" In looking at the Plan of Aspirations, you will see that it is focused on the fundamental values of our organization: high scholastic aims, the widest influence for good, creating a relevant experience for all members, along with the addition of efficient operations so that we can do all the other things. In developing this plan, Grand Council assessed where we were in each of these areas and set targets for where we want to go. Some of these targets are very specific: that we will increase by 15 percent the number of members graduating with honors, or that we will double our alumnae member engagement. Others are less specific, and the Fraternity workforce—both staff and volunteer officers—have been working during the last three years to develop action plans to define "how we get there."

We are well along the path to meet our goals and targets that are set out in the plan. A significant part of the early efforts were focused on the Fraternity workforce and ensuring that we have the right structures and systems in place to focus our efforts on achieving the rest of the plan. With those systems now in place, efforts have shifted to developing programming to achieve some of the goals that Grand Council defined. In our efforts to extend the widest influence for good, there have been significant increases in member engagement with CASA, the development of the Kappa Alpha Theta Service Trip to engage college members in service learning tied to our core values, and a 21 percent increase in donations made to CASA. In terms of scholarship, 26 percent of our chapters were first in scholarship on their campuses, with 79 percent of chapters at or above the all-sorority average (ASA), just one percentage point away from our 80 percent target. And new programming has been developed to provide relevant materials for all members, both college and alumnae, including the addition of mental health screening resources as part of our Sisters Supporting Sisters program.

While we are proud of our many accomplishments over the last three years, you might be wondering, "How can I help advance the goals of the Fraternity on a more local level?" Individuals and chapters can think about the questions "Where are we now? Where do we want to go? And how do we get there?" This time of the year is a perfect time to do this, too, as the year winds down and you think about your own personal and chapter goals for 2014. I encourage you to think about how you spend your time. Are you focused on achieving your highest scholarship? Are you helping extend the widest influence for good? What are you doing to help make your Theta experience relevant? For leaders at both college and alumnae chapters, think about how you are spending your time as a chapter. Do your activities align with the goals of the Fraternity? If not, how can you change or tweak those activities to help the Fraternity meet its goals?

Here's one key point to remember, too: As you think about these questions and set your own individual and chapter goals, be sure to track your progress. And communicate your successes along the way! The Fraternity wants to hear your stories of how you are living and engaging with the strategic plan. Submit a story to the I Am a Theta campaign, or let us know by emailing PlanStories@kappaalphatheta.org. How are you using your membership experience to continue to live the values of Kappa Alpha Theta?

I look forward to hearing and telling your stories over the next few months. And watch this blog for more updates on the great work of Thetas everywhere.

Ashley Atkins, Beta Rho/Duke, is a Fraternity vice-president and strategic planning committee chairman. She is also a Life Loyal member.


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