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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, February 5, 2018 10:00 AM, by Jenni Broughton Schmaltz

Are you looking for an opportunity that will help you "further develop and hone your leadership skills, bring people with opposing viewpoints together, and learn to strategize" (Kathy Bennett Tonkel, Eta/Michigan), gain "the confidence to go outside your comfort zone" (Lisa Sombart Street, Alpha Mu/Missouri), and build "a wider circle of dear, dear Theta sisters from all over North America of all ages" (Jill Pedicord Peterson, Beta Gamma/Colorado State)?

We recently asked some former board members to reflect on their Theta board service and these are just a few things they identified having gained. There are three board level opportunities across the Theta enterprise. Because each Theta entity has a unique purpose and mission, each board requires different work.

  • Grand Council serves as the governing body of the Fraternity, exercising general supervision over the business and affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta and determining long-term vision and strategy for the Theta enterprise.

  • FHC Directors serve the Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC), which oversees all housing for Kappa Alpha Theta.

  • Foundation Trustees manage the affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation in order to fulfill the mission to secure and manage resources for the educational, leadership, and philanthropic programs of the Fraternity and for the scholastic, professional, and service pursuits of its members to help them reach their fullest potential and make a difference in the world.

While individual strengths and background may make a candidate better suited for one board over another, it seems everyone is initially drawn to board service for a different reason, whether it was simply "a desire to make a difference and contribute" (Zita Enloe, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech), "curiosity about how Theta worked on a national level" (Elizabeth Prosser, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma), a "love of Theta" (Lisa Street), an eagerness to "experience Theta governance and oversight on a national level" (Kathy Tonkel), or seizing the "right opportunity at the right time after not being able to have a full four-year experience while in college" (Lyn Stewart Simensen, Gamma Gamma/Rollins).

No matter what drew them to a Theta board, "rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable" were just some of the words used to describe their experiences. Some board members serve only one or two terms, while others have served several terms across multiple boards.

If you are interested in serving Theta in a board capacity, these former board members have the following advice to offer:

  • "Keep an open mind and think outside the box when looking toward the future. For it will only be by being forward thinking that our organization will remain relevant for future generations of women." Lyn Simensen

  • "Make sure you serve for the right reasons. Don't serve with your own personal agenda, and ensure your intentions are altruistic." Zita Enloe

  • "Be prepared to extend yourself in many ways. Give it your all!" Lisa Street

  • "We never stop learning! What a privilege it was to share my professional expertise while learning more from others! Theta encompasses extraordinary leaders! Continual growth both personally and professionally." Jill Peterson

  • "Do it! What you will learn and benefit from as an individual and in your life experience—the challenges, the exposure to various situations and various individuals--far outweighs any negatives. And you will have been involved in determining the direction of a wonderful organization! I would have not traded it for anything!" Kathy Tonkel

  • Are you interested in board service or do you know a Theta who would be a great candidate? Please nominate yourself or a Theta sister for any of the three board service opportunities during the 2018-2020 biennium. Nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2018. Interest Indicators will be available February 7, 2018.

    Jenni Schmaltz, Gamma/Butler, is the chief operating officer for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

    Posted On: Monday, September 26, 2016 07:45 AM, by Laurie McGregor Connor

    It's fall, and while many of us think of pumpkins and Halloween, I think of elections! National Voter Registration Day is tomorrow, September 27, and is sponsored by the National Association of Secretaries of State. As Theta's director of government relations, I strongly encourage each of my U.S. Theta sisters to participate in the process. If you are not a registered voter, it's simple. For many states, the deadline for registering to vote is October 11, which is 30 days out from the election.

    Check with your secretary of state or visit Once you enter your address on this site, you can see the candidates for your precinct, find your polling place, and even register to vote using the online voter registration tool!

    The opportunity for women to vote was granted in 1920 (thanks to the 19th Amendment) but 18-year-olds had to wait until July 1971 for the 26th Amendment to be ratified. When Theta celebrated our centennial in 1970, many collegians couldn't vote. With our sesquicentennial coming in 2020, collegians are a big part of campaign efforts.

    So exercise your right and participate. If you can't get to the polls, most states offer alternatives such as absentee ballots (you must apply for one) and early in-person voting at your county's board of elections.

    If you want to get more involved, county boards of elections are often looking for poll workers. While it makes for a long day, it is exciting to see the procedures in action. I have served in primary and general elections and found it very rewarding.

    So go register and VOTE!

    Laurie McGregor Connor, Gamma deuteron/Ohio Wesleyan, is the director of government relations for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.