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Karen Pryor, Delta Iota/Puget Sound, is a member of the diversity and inclusion group and an Alcohol Skills Training Program facilitator. She previously served as a facilitator at Emerging Leaders Institute and CEO Leadership Academy, co-lead on a Theta Service Trip, and scorer on the Golden Kite Scoring Committee.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Chapter president (now chief executive officer), vice president development (now chief operating officer) and vice president of Puget Sound's Panhellenic executive board.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? After connecting with a few women who worked for Fraternity headquarters, I volunteered with the organization at a conference. From there, new opportunities kept popping up.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I had such a positive experience during my college years and I was always so thankful for the time and energy that our advisors devoted to elevating the organization. For me, it's always been about paying it forward for the next group of college women.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? About 4 years.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? I have had the opportunity to connect with a number of really inspiring women whom I consider professional and personal role models through my volunteer work. Working in student affairs and higher education can be challenging; we are often working long hours grappling with heavy topics such as binge drinking, hazing, and sexual assault. It's been hugely helpful to be able to lean on women like Melissa Shaub, Corin Gioia Edwards, Anne Arseneau, Melissa Rocco, and Lindsay Sell for support and guidance.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I really believe in the power of this experience and a space for college women to feel supported, challenged, and connected is needed now more than ever. For me, it always feels like time well spent.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? The 2014 Theta Service Trip was a really special experience for me. I met so many inspiring collegians, many of whom I am still close with today. We had the opportunity to volunteer with incredible organizations and see the impact of our time and energy on the lives of others. It was 100 degrees and 100% humidity, but we still had a blast the entire time.
Do you have a special Theta moment? It was meaningful to win Chapter of the Year during my time as chapter president. We had been working so hard to improve our chapter in a number of areas, and it was so affirming to be recognized for our progress and for the quality of the member experience we were offering to women in Theta.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am truly passionate about women's empowerment and intersectional feminism. In my day job, I get to work with collegians on a daily basis and help the leaders of their organizations work to create and facilitate spaces for women to be truly empowered and to learn across differences. We are currently in a renaissance of feminist content and so many women from across identities and perspectives are getting a chance to tell their stories. I love being able to engage with all the podcasts, movies, books, and articles that are coming out.
Carolyn Catron Woodard, Gamma Tau/Tulsa, is a Theta Foundation trustee and a member of the chapter and individual grants committee. She is a 50-year member, Life Loyal, and active in the Tulsa Alumnae Chapter.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? Each volunteer opportunity for Theta came as an invitation from another Theta. Personally expressing the rewards of service and the blessings received from benefiting the sisterhood brings the greatest dividends.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? As an educator, I clearly understood the role and the responsibility for nurturing the next generation. Tom Brokaw has said, "It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." My position as a Theta Foundation trustee has given me the privilege of working with Thetas of all ages. It is my hope that I have made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the young Thetas with whom I have worked.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Being a volunteer for Theta has been a lifelong endeavor. At each stage of my adulthood, it was my goal to live a balanced life; look for a role model; find someone who lives a healthy, happy and balanced life and emulate; and protect my personal and family time while still modeling a life of service.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor or mentee? Many of my Theta sisters have been quick to give aid and support to me over the last 52 years. Theta sisters have been at my side throughout my life in joy and in sorrow.
Yet, one Theta, my pledge trainer (now the chief education officer) made an enormous impression on this young, awkward and immature freshman. Barbara MacLean Turner, two years older than I, was a remarkable encourager. With courage, commitment, determination, toughness, heart, talent, and guts, this extraordinary Theta guided our class through the trials and joys of the freshman college experience. She has been a role model for all of us throughout the decades by demonstrating the graceful way to meet each life challenge.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? If I were not to be involved in Theta activities, I would miss the opportunity to meet and work with marvelous women from all over the globe! My life has been enriched by the good fortune to serve with exceptionally talented Theta women. I enjoy watching the younger members get excited and contribute to our mission.
Early in my term I had the opportunity to become acquainted with a group of Soaring Kites. Their compassion and support for each other as quite touching.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? Cooking with the Soaring Kites Thetas has been a memorable experience. Their curiosity and readiness to accept a new exploration in world of food thrilled me. "Cooking with Carolyn" started when these young alumnae inquired about a dessert that I had made. Those four young Thetas enthusiastically jumped at the idea of rolling up their sleeves and donning an apron to learn cooking techniques. I taught them how to prepare my favorite recipes and they taught me how to maneuver through Facebook. Laughter filled my kitchen.
Do you have a special Theta moment? One of the most treasured memories of my Theta life was having a part in the acknowledgment of the accomplishments and contributions of my Theta mentor. The distinguished Theta of the Year Award was bestowed by our local alumnae chapter on Barbara MacLean Turner for her remarkable impact on the lives of her Theta sisters and gracious way of embracing others.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? It makes no difference what your vocation, the individual is enriched by serving others. The personal benefit comes through the act of service - the helpful hand given freely. Giving back to our Fraternity demonstrates your gratitude for the love and compassion shown by the Sisterhood. Make a difference, meet new Thetas, gain new skills, and make a positive impact of the future of our sisterhood - VOLUNTEER.
Volunteering is an important part of her life. If an organization or individual needs help, Lisa will find a way to make it happen. She is a founding member and past-president of the Westchester, NY Alumnae Chapter. She has also held positions as Westchester's Founders Day co-chairperson, fundraising chairperson, alumnae chapter website coordinator, and membership communications coordinator. Lisa also served as permanent alumnae secretary for Delta Epsilon/Arizona State. She is Westchester's current chairperson for college relations and enjoys spending time with Thetas at Eta Xi/Quinnipiac.
Lisa is also active on the national level and has held the position of alumnae district officer and election board chairman at Grand Convention 2012. Currently, Lisa is a member of the sesquicentennial committee, Theta Foundation's Give to Lead, Give to Learn Campaign steering committee, and Theta Foundation trustee. Non-Theta volunteering includes serving as past-president of both Westchester Alumnae Panhellenic and the Council of Yorktown Central School District PTSAs. Lisa is also an active volunteer with My Sister's Place (a domestic violence and human trafficking shelter) and Yorktown Central School District PTA. When not volunteering, Lisa enjoys reading, traveling, golf, and tennis. Currently a stay-at-home mom, she is looking forward to finishing her studies and becoming a librarian.
Lisa says her favorite part of being a Theta is having the opportunity to work with amazing, strong, and smart women of all ages across the country, and the lifelong friendships that she has gained. She especially enjoys working with college women, and says that every time she visits one of our college chapters, she leaves inspired, energized, and with a wealth of knowledge. She also loves spending time with her Westchester Theta sisters and says, "It's hard to think that without KAO Westchester, I never would have met these ladies, all family, and many who I count among my best friends." Lisa says that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve as a Theta Foundation trustee. This role has allowed her to work with leading women to ensure that every Theta has the opportunity to reach her fullest potential and make a difference in the world.
"Theta for a lifetime" to Lisa means that not only will Theta be there for her, but she will be there for Theta whenever and wherever there is a need.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!