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Amanda Miner Davison, Gamma Gamma/Rollins, is chairman of the Dallas Scholarship Application Review Committee. She has previously served as an alumnae district officer (now alumnae district director); Dallas Alumnae Chapter president (twice!), vice president, event coordinator, and Dallas CASA representative; and education advisor, Beta Sigma/SMU.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Reference chairman (now recruitment data assistant), rush chairman (now chief recruiting officer), and president (now chief executive officer).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? When I was in college, the Fraternity tagline was "Theta for a Lifetime," and I really took that to heart. I always just thought that was part of membership. I got married and graduated from Rollins in the same weekend. I moved to Dallas—took a year off—and then reached out to the Dallas Alumnae Chapter. Many of the women I am dear friends with today I met though volunteer committee work for the chapter.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? When I first got to Dallas, Carmen Crews McMillan, Beta Sigma/SMU; Mary Dean Sudderth Perry, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma; and Wilma Hoke Miller, Alpha Theta/Texas. As I mentioned, I'm not from Dallas; I'm from Ohio, went to college in Florida, and settled in Dallas because my husband went to SMU law school. Those three women really took me under their wing when I first moved to the area.
When I became a little older and could take on more responsibility, I was mentored by Susie Frey Woodall and Leslie Long Melson, both alumnae of Beta Sigma/SMU, and Dinah Hampton McClymonds, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma. They were in leadership positions and made it look so easy. Nothing was a chore. They also were active leaders within my community and did so with ease and grace. They would say, "Let me tell you about what I am doing this year!" or "I think you would like serving on this committee." These are women whom I've admired and love dearly. Talk about achieving personal excellence and being the best version of yourself! They are it.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? Many people will ask me, "Where were you a Theta?" and I just say, "I still AM a Theta!" I'm still giving back and supporting Theta because membership isn't just those four years. Theta is for a lifetime! I have loved being a Theta and I think everyone knows it. For many years, I had a Theta decal on my car. When they were younger, my sons would say, "Mom, you're not in college!" Now that they're older, I think these boys have figured it out.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? The Dallas Alumnae Chapter has had a close relationship with Dallas CASA for many years. In the early 2000s, I chaired the Parade of Playhouses, a fund-raiser for Dallas CASA that the Dallas Alumnae Chapter helped organize and support. This fund-raiser is still going strong today. During my tenure with the event, our chapter established (under Susie Woodall's presidency) a summer internship with Dallas CASA for a local Theta collegian to work on Parade of Playhouses. That internship (posted on Betties Blog) is still in existence, but today, there are four positions!
Additionally, our Dallas chapter was among the first to establish a Young Alumnae group. Now called CityKATs, it is the immediate post-college go-to group, typically ages 21-35. They have so much fun together and are making lifelong friendships in Theta. I'm very proud of my chapter's legacy with those two programs.
I have to say, there have been volunteer roles I have not been great at, but I knew enough to get out of there. Know when you are out of your element. It's OK! When I look at my Theta resume, some of those "failures" gave me clarity to what I needed to do. I now know very definitively what I'm good at and how I can best contribute. I've loved working on committees or boards with other Thetas. Just being together as a group—it's remarkable how that works, having people work together who are honest and supportive. I look back and am so grateful for all of these women.
Do you have a special Theta moment? The first one that came to mind was when I was asked to assist with Beta Sigma/SMU initiation. I did that for two years and asked to do it a third year. I was going to say no, but my pledge trainer (now new member director) from Rollins, Tracy Pickett McCalmont Hinton, had moved to Dallas and her daughter Melissa was being initiated at Beta Sigma. Her mother, Nancy Parks Pickett, Alpha Gamma/Ohio State, and oldest daughter Bonne McCalmont Whittaker, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt, both were in attendance (her youngest daughter, Amy, would go on to initiate at Gamma Delta/Georgia). How special was that? I absolutely had to be there to support her and her precious family.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I would probably say the most important thing on my heart right now is my family. I'm still figuring out the empty-nesting part. Dating my husband again. I look at Leslie and Susie—women with successful lives, beautiful families and they inspire me. I think I'm finally getting there. My one son got married last year and he and his wife are here in Dallas. My other son just got engaged yesterday—he's in law school in Dallas—and getting to be with all of them at this time is what matters the most.
Erin Smith, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi, is the advisory board chairman (ABC) for Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi. She has also served the chapter as recruitment advisor (2007-2009). Erin was selected to participate in the Fraternity's inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in February 2016.
Undergraduate officer positions held: I served as vice president membership (now chief recruiting officer), deputy to the vice president of education (now chief education officer), and on numerous committees.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I received an email about some positions that were available at Epsilon Zeta Chapter, and I was encouraged by my peers to apply.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I wanted to give back to the Fraternity for all it has given me in life. After I served as recruitment advisor, I took a Theta break to open a restaurant. Too many years passed without Theta in my life, so I couldn't let the opportunity to volunteer again pass me up. If you ever get the chance to volunteer in some capacity for the Fraternity, I strongly recommend it. It's life-changing!
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Altogether 3 years (currently, 15 months continuously).
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Everyone I have had any encounter with has made an impact in my life, from advisors to ELCs and headquarters staff to volunteers. There is one person whom I consider a role model, mentor, and friend who has made me a better ABC and better person, and that is Stacey Jarrett Martin, Alpha Mu/Missouri (college district director, District V). She teaches me, inspires all those around her, and leads by example. She is well respected and is a great example of a leading woman.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I could not live without Theta in my life! On the college side of things, I do it for the women in the chapter. I love watching them grow, guiding them through difficult decisions and times in their life, and seeing them become successful through their college careers. Personally, though, it's definitely the people and the influence they have in my life.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? There are so many, but two stand out. I had no idea what to expect when I became ABC for Epsilon Zeta Chapter. I loved watching the executive board grow as women throughout their officer terms, and I realized that they also helped me grow in the process. I am so proud of the women they have become since I first met them! My other moment would be receiving the University of Mississippi's Panhellenic Advisor of the Year award in 2015.
Do you have a special Theta moment? I was very fortunate to attend the inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in New Orleans this year (thank you Kappa Alpha Theta and Theta Foundation). Talk about an amazing experience; it was life-changing! It was beyond my expectations, and the impact we made on the lives we touched will forever be remembered. The other women who joined me on this trip made the experience what it was. We all came as strangers and left as best friends.
What do you do outside of Theta? Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a nurse assistant. I get to help people daily! I am also a CASA volunteer; that is such a rewarding experience, but often difficult. I also serve as an ambassador for the Oxford Mississippi Chamber of Commerce. I have a passion for helping others; anytime the opportunity presents itself, I go for it!
Undergraduate officer positions held: President, vice president pledge education (now chief education officer), spirit chairman.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I have always been a Theta volunteer. I was asked to be on the Gamma Omega advisory board as soon as I graduated, and have been active as an alumna ever since.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? Being an advisor keeps you young (and can help promote gray hair at the same time!). You are always learning about the current generation and what's important to them. The impact that alumnae make on these women and the friendships that I still have with so many of them is priceless. Having said that, in my role as Alpha Theta/Texas PAS and the alumnae circles specialist, the new relationships that I have made with alumnae all over the world are so valuable to me.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Every Theta is a mentor. You learn from each one who crosses your path and encourages you to do a little bit more and step outside your comfort zone.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? My special volunteering moment has been starting our local alumnae Panhellenic and finding delegates from some of the smaller sororities to join us.
Do you have a special Theta moment? My special Theta moment was being interviewed as a nominee for Grand Council in 2014.
What is your profession or personal passion? I am an environmental engineer and work with clients to comply with hazardous waste regulations, permit waste facilities, and clean-up solid and hazardous waste sites. I am also a CASA volunteer with four CASA kids currently who keep me on my toes!
Why do you stay involved with Theta? To give back to the organization that taught this once college freshman with no self-confidence and terrible high school grades how to lead, make friends, study, project herself, and step out to start new things. Theta took the time to make me the best I could be, so it's my turn to do that for others.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!