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Alison Shoemaker, Eta Theta/Central Florida, is finance advisor for Delta Theta/Florida and secretary and website coordinator for the Naples-Marco Island-Bonita Springs Alumnae Chapter.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Chapter president (now chief executive officer) and vice president finance (now chief financial officer).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I was approached by Christa Sobon, my college district president (now college district director) during the end of my term as chapter president, about the possibility of serving as an advisor, and jumped right into the role. Until she reached out, I did not think it was a possibility, as the closest college chapter was four hours away.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? During my time as an undergraduate, my chapter had an amazing advisory board. They were there for us but allowed us the opportunity to learn and make our own decisions. I wanted to give back to Theta as an advisor like the advisors who were role models for my chapter.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? I became a Theta volunteer in December 2008, just two weeks after I graduated from college. I was pulled into smaller roles with the alumnae chapter before starting to serve on the advisory board.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Yes, Kristine Wix, who was the advisory board chairman (ABC) during my time at UCF. Kristine has always been someone I look up to in Theta. I also look up to April DuPree, who was serving as finance district director at the time. I know finance was not her original forte, but she stepped into the role and taught me that sometimes you take on leadership roles for the benefit of the organization. There are many others who have impacted me along the way, too!
Why do you stay involved with Theta? Theta has given me so much throughout the years: life experiences, leadership opportunities, friendships, and so much more. Volunteering gives me an opportunity to give back to Theta. I enjoy working with the college chapter because they are the next generation of leaders, and I hope they have as great of experience as I did.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? Because I am a remote advisor, I really enjoy the opportunities to meet the collegians whom I advise and the other advisors that I work with face to face. I am thankful to have conferences and Grand Convention that bring us together.
Do you have a special Theta moment? Earning and receiving the Golden Kite Award at Grand Convention in 2008 was a special accomplishment. Helping to apply and have the opportunity to have a facility on campus at UCF was also hard work, but the end result was so positive.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? Professionally, I am an accountant in Naples. I also coach a high school dance team and flag team of more than 100 girls. My leadership experience with Theta has helped me in my coaching endeavors. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family!
Undergraduate officer positions held: Charter member of Beta Theta/Idaho, music chairman, facility manager (the year the facility was built/opened), and vice-president development.
Other Theta volunteer positions held: Beta Theta facility corporation board president and director of risk management; Boise Alumnae Chapter officer; and finance district director.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I moved to South Dakota and knew no one. The open position was listed, and I knew Lyn Simensen, Gamma Gamma/Rollins, from being facility manager at Beta Theta Chapter.
Do you, or did you, have a Theta mentor? Oh yes; I've had so many! Sue Lytle Gilmore, Phi/Pacific (former FDD and budget district director), and Marcia Wolff Thompson, Gamma Upsilon/Miami (finance advisor, college chapter budget committee volunteer and investment committee volunteer). They were my first experience with how Theta can form a lifelong relationship after college, but so many other women have served as mentors in my Theta life! I don't think I could name them all here.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I love the women we work with. The other volunteers are amazing, and helping college chapter officers navigate their positions is so rewarding.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? This is pretty embarrassing, but for my first DLC (district leadership conference) as an FDD, I was so nervous I packed everything I could think of. I brought all the chapter bank statements, any chapter disks I had, and even my printer (this was before Accounting Manager online). I loaded up my car to drive to Omaha and left my garment bag full of new clothes for DLC in my closet. I ended up wearing Sue's (Gilmore) clothes part of the weekend!
Do you have a special Theta moment? I have so many special memories, but I was so lucky that on the 10th anniversary of my initiation as a charter member at Beta Theta Chapter, I was invited to help reestablish at Alpha Xi/Oregon. It was so special to help reestablish another northwest chapter.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? Science! I am working on finishing my Ph.D. in Pharmacology. I am passionate about science administration/policy and hope to work in this field after I graduate, either by continuing my work in higher education or by moving to a more policy-oriented position.
As an alumna, Paula continues her involvement with Theta as the president of the Orange County Alumnae Chapter. She has also served as the chapter's treasurer. Along with her responsibilities as chapter president, she is also the administrative advisor for Epsilon Sigma/UC Irvine, has been involved as the alumnae committee bylaws specialist, is a Life Loyal member. But volunteering doesn't stop with Theta, as Paula is also active with the Girl Scouts, American Indian Student Association, and Orangewood Children's Foundation.
Paula also gives to Theta Foundation and has been recognized as a member of both the Soaring Kite Society and Founders Society, and is an Earnest Supporter donor of the Give to Lead, Give to Learn campaign.
Paula is a membership specialist for the Girl Scouts of Orange County; in this role, she recruits and supports new volunteers and girls joining the program. This position is a great fit for Paula's volunteering enthusiasm. As she put it, "At Girl Scouts, part of our mission is to make the world a better place. To me, I help to make the world a better place through volunteering."
One reason volunteering is important to Paula is because it allows her to give back to her community. And, she enjoys how much she gets in return as well as the many wonderful and inspiring people she has been able to meet. Theta continues to provide her with the opportunity to meet smart, interesting, inspiring, kind, spirited, and genuine women.
When asked what her favorite part of being a Theta is, Paula says, "Meeting sisters from around the country. No matter where you are, who you are or what you are doing, we are all united by Theta and its sisterhood. I've met Thetas at weddings, at airports, in other states, and at the Olive Garden. While I might not know them well, they are still my sisters, and we have Theta in common."
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!