Kappa Alpha Theta hosted its second annual CEO Leadership Academy in Los Angeles, Calif., just over a week ago. The entire ELC team was able to attend the Academy as facilitators this year, and many took away an equal amount of positive experiences and just as much knowledge as many of the college chapter chief executive officers. Inspired by the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, this year's Academy dared college women to take a good long look at leadership as well as the term "authenticity."
At one point over the weekend-long event, the facilitators dared all chapter CEOs to define "authenticity." ELCs were able to listen in and even help form different definitions for this word, as well as discuss various examples of times when individuals were authentic. CEOs shared stories of when authenticity paid off and helped a situation, as well as times when looking back on it, being more authentic would have greatly helped a situation.
Facilitators asked follow-up questions like how CEOs would embrace vulnerability and have the courage to be imperfect. All chapter CEOs dared greatly, and had extremely authentic conversations, which led to many connections being made within small groups. Relationships were built out of understanding and support, and ELCs hoped all chapter CEOs would take what was learned and take back those lessons to every Theta chapter in the U.S. and Canada.
The ELC team was very grateful for the opportunity to have these conversations about authentic leadership with CEOs, but now we would also like to have this discussion with all Theta members!
Ask yourself these questions, or pose them at your next cabinet meeting:
- How do you define being an authentic leader?
- Is there anything that holds you back from being an authentic leader?
- How will you be courageous this year?
- How can you embrace vulnerability, every day of the year?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
As members of a Greek organization, I can bet we have all been asked the question, "What is the true purpose of a sorority?" or "What do you do in your chapter?" Throughout my Theta membership experience, and especially now that I am serving as an educational leadership consultant for the Fraternity, I am often asked how sororities are still relevant today or what I do for my job. I take this as an opportunity to tell my Theta story. I share why Theta was such an integral part of my college experience and continues to impact me today as an alumna.
As you find yourself in various situations, whether it be a volunteer opportunity or a job interview, it is important to be prepared when asked about your Greek experience. Here are a few tips for how to best market your involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta and effectively communicate the unique skills you've gained from your membership.
1. Prepare specific stories: It's important to have specific examples of "a time when..." In an interview, for example, you will most likely be asked to share a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle, worked together as a team to accomplish a common goal or stepped up to lead in an effort. Through your Theta experiences, I would imagine it's possible to find a story to fit each of these prompts.
2. Talk in numbers: Employers are very impressed by the sheer numbers of many of our chapters, including the number of members, the leadership opportunities we offer and the philanthropic impact we make. Do not be afraid to include specific numbers on your resume and in interviews, such as: "Served on a committee of 12 women to plan, coordinate and execute a philanthropy event that raised $12,800 for our international philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates."
3. Use Theta's tagline of Leading Women: Lots of situations (group project work, volunteer coordination, etc.) require leadership ability. Whether or not you held a leadership position in your chapter, you should reference Kappa Alpha Theta's tagline of Leading Women as a talking point of your character. Through Theta's values that we hold so dearly and the standard to which each chapter member is held, Kappa Alpha Theta helps you develop leadership, integrity and ethics.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can utilize your Theta experiences as you share with others why Greek life - and Kappa Alpha Theta - are important to you. It is my hope that you can always feel confident and proud discussing your Greek affiliation in any type of setting.
As the winter and spring terms begin, many chapter members are beginning to apply for summer internships and post-graduation jobs. As a chapter member and/or officer, you have gained valuable skills that should be marketed in job applications. The following are examples of transferable skills that you can use in your resume:
Time management: Upon joining Theta, you are asked to attend several meetings and complete certain requirements, all while succeeding in the classroom. As an officer, several additional requirements are expected, and proper time management must be utilized in order to complete these tasks. Officers often run meetings and must organize the agenda so as to discuss all topics in a timely manner.
Accountability: Being in a sorority provides additional expectations than for a non-Greek college student. You are expected to attend meetings, complete tasks, and uphold ideals of the Fraternity. When applying for internships and jobs, employers want to see that applicants can show up on time and complete the work that is expected of them. The accountability gained from Theta membership provides this skill and should be highlighted.
Delegation: If you have served in an officer role, you realize there is more work to be done than what one person can complete. Whether you have served as an executive or cabinet officer, dozens of tasks are completed each week—and proper delegation must be utilized. Several officers have shared this as a skill they have developed throughout their term, and knowing how to delegate has made them more effective in their role.
Collaboration: Along with delegation, you must learn how to work with others as a team. With several opinions and ideas, you learn how to collaborate with those holding diverse world views. In any professional field, coworkers are likely to be from a variety of backgrounds, making teamwork and collaboration integral to success.
These skills, and many more, can and should be highlighted in member resumes. As you update your resume and reflect on your Theta experience, what other skills have you gained from Theta membership? Share them in the comments below!
The past few months have been an exciting time for our college chapters, as they have elected and installed new chapter officers. I enjoy spending time with incoming chapter officers, setting goals and developing action plans for the year. It is rewarding to see them begin to learn and grow personally as they face new situations and work through challenges in their roles.
A chapter leader's success depends not only on her knowledge of Kappa Alpha Theta and campus policy, but on her understanding of best leadership practices. Kappa Alpha Theta sincerely believes that every woman has the capacity to lead, and that leadership development and education is an ongoing process.
To help our chapter leaders begin their own leadership development and education, I would like to share a list of my favorite leadership books. Many of the ideas and concepts in these books guided my actions as a chapter officer and continue to guide me as an ELC.
Motivating the Middle by T.J. Sullivan: If you want to start with a short read, this is the book for you! Have you heard the expression, "Ten percent of the chapter does 90 percent of the work?" or do you feel that there is apathy in your chapter? Motivating the Middle will help you use your time and energy as efficiently as possible to mobilize chapter members.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: This book is filled with valuable life lessons. It has bits of inspiration throughout that will motivate you to tackle challenges you may be facing in your role. After reading this book, I felt like I was able to look at challenging situations in different ways and come up with creative solutions.
The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes & Barry Posner: This book is fantastic if you are looking for a more in-depth resource. The authors present five practices they found to be consistent in their analysis of highly effective leaders. One of my favorite things about this book is that it is filled with real-life examples that will help you understand how to incorporate each practice into your life.
I encourage every chapter officer to read at least one leadership book during her term. It will be both a valuable learning experience and a great getaway from the stress that often comes with holding an office. Best of luck this year!
With the start of a new year comes a time when people create and uphold new personal resolutions. As Theta is a large part in all of our lives, taking the time to make new Theta resolutions can be very meaningful as both an individual member and a Theta chapter.
When thinking about personal or chapter resolutions, the best guide is the four points of the Theta Kite: Commitment to Service, Leadership Potential, Intellectual Curiosity and Personal Excellence. Below are a few ideas for creating new Theta resolutions:
Commitment to Service: Demonstrating increased commitment to service can be as simple as organizing more service events and encouraging chapter members to go above and beyond the required number of hours. Reach out to local community service organizations and set up a weekly volunteer commitment for you and a few friends!
Leadership Potential: Theta leadership can come in many forms, from participating in a committee to getting involved in Greek life issues on campus. Leadership can be shown through participation in chapter activities, supporting other sisters, and sharing ideas with chapter officers.
Intellectual Curiosity: The beginning of a new semester means new classes and new academic challenges. Make a resolution to take advantage of campus resources available; everything from writing centers and library research desks to professor office hours and teachers assistants can help make the semester easier!
Personal Excellence: Upon becoming a member of Theta, this point of the kite reflects the importance of upholding Kappa Alpha Theta's ideals in all aspects of your life. Striving to create a resolution in line with this point can mean increasing participation in sisterhood or philanthropy events, showing respect during a chapter meeting and ritual, or reaching out to get to know another sister better.
These values guide our experiences in Theta personally, as individual chapters and as an international organization. As everyone begins to head back to campus in the coming weeks, there is no better time than now to make these new Theta resolutions!
Every semester allows you to start over and plan ways to achieve high scholastic and academic goals you have set for yourself. Valuing academics, you can benefit from taking time to add important dates to a planner to help with managing time and ensuring a well-organized school year. Setting up meetings with professors outside of scheduled class times, and taking advantage of resources on campus in libraries, career centers, and through academic advising can add to potential academic success as well. Reaching out to friends or other Theta members within the same major or who are also academically-driven can also help you learn how to study effectively and succeed in the classroom.
Opportunities for you to take on leadership roles will also present themselves at the start of the semester. Applying for and accepting a role to lead can provide an amazing experience that will carry into other aspects of your everyday life. Leading either behind the scenes or in the spotlight, with both small and large groups of individuals, are all unique opportunities that will help solidify positive and effective leadership styles for a lifetime. However, you are not limited to only serving as a leader within Theta but throughout campus, all year long.
As members of Kappa Alpha Theta, you have plenty of opportunities to strengthen and create bonds of sisterhood, not just during the beginning of each semester, but every day. Just like with academics and leadership potential, focusing on sisterhood from the first day of each semester will help those bonds grow all year long.
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