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Melina Beeston, Beta Chi/Alberta, is advisory board chairman (ABC) for Beta Chi/Alberta. She has previously served as facility corporation board (FCB) vice-president, recruitment advisor, and finance advisor for the chapter.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Social chairman (now event director), facility manager (now facility management director), and vice-president membership (now chief recruiting officer), chief information officer (now chief education officer).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I always had an excellent relationship with my advisors and other volunteers while I was an undergraduate member. At Beta Chi, becoming a Theta volunteer is very common with women who have previously held officer positions once they have transitioned to alumnae status. I was asked to join both FCB and advisory board in the years following university.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? I joined the FCB in the winter of 2011, and the advisory board the following winter in 2012.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? I've had the very special honor of working with Ruth Wong-Miller since I was an undergraduate member. She was my recruitment advisor when I was vice-president membership, and later the ABC when I was recruitment advisor and finance advisor. Ruth is now the college district director (CDD) in College District XIII and has been a wonderful resource to me as ABC, as well as our own CDD, Kateri Broussard.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer, and why do you stay involved with Theta? The shortest answer is because I "promised" to. Being a volunteer has everything to do with the principles our Fraternity is based upon. We call upon all our members to carry forward our organization's spirit in their daily lives, and to me, that includes doing whatever I can to exercise the widest influence for good, especially when it comes to a group that has helped to shape the person I am today. There is no receiving without also giving back. It certainly doesn't come without both joy and pain at times, but there is a very special quiet pride in seeing the pictures of our women on Bid Day or dressed up for their winter formal, remembering that time for myself and my sisters. Nobody will get to feel the way that we felt (or that they feel now, in that moment) without the support of Theta volunteers.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? As the recruitment advisor, I had always enjoyed sitting on executive recruitment board (ERB) and getting to know the women who were also on that committee. This next fall will be the first time in six years that I won't be present for recruitment, and I will certainly miss the laughter, snacks, and infectious energy through the house after a recruitment party.
Do you have a special Theta moment? One of the greatest things Theta has given me is an opportunity to connect with my mother in a way we'd never quite been able to before. She was initiated in the winter of 1989—a mere nine months before I was born—and because both of my parents were busy undergraduates, I spent my share of time as an infant at our chapter facility. I'm told stories by other local alumnae who remember holding me at meetings or during chapter dinners. I'm not quite sure how it came about (because I didn't ask her), but she was asked to come speak at Parent's Tea one year, as she could touch on both the parent side and the alumnae side for most apprehensive parents of new members joining our chapter. Like most over-achievers, there were always other tasks to be quietly taking care of in the background while guests listened to the speakers, but the first time she came to speak, I could hear her from the next room over as she told the story of how I had taken my first steps as a child in the very spot she was standing in at that moment. She said that she believed this was also the house I had taken my true first steps in as an adult (I'd tend to agree).
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a passionate advocate for supporting local businesses whenever possible. I live in a city filled with so many courageous, talented people who want to share their creativity and passion with their community and I absolutely love that. I currently work in a role in which I can help local business owners in a particular industry develop and grow. I also co-run a volunteer-led not-for-profit called What the Truck?! that organizes pop-up events for local food truck owners here in Edmonton.
Undergraduate officer positions held: I served as the recruitment deputy and the next year as recruitment chairman (now chief recruiting officer). I also served as homecoming float chairman for three years. These different positions all taught me how to lead in my adult life in so many different avenues.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? Alpha Mu Chapter has always had a very involved advisory board and FCB. I saw them frequently as a collegian, so I always knew volunteering was an option as an alumna.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I remained at the University of Missouri for a fifth year to finish my degree, and I could not imagine remaining in Columbia but no longer being an active collegian member. I loved my experience as an undergraduate with Theta and was thankful for all the ways Theta helped me develop into the woman I was becoming. I wanted to remain as active as possible and give back to the organization that gave me so much. I was also blessed to receive a Theta Foundation scholarship, just as I transitioned from collegian to alumna. My younger sister was battling leukemia at the time, and I was spending a majority of nights and weekends at Children's Mercy Hospital instead of working. Theta allowed me to be with my family during our greatest time of need, and I will always give back to a group who gave me such a priceless gift.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? I have served on FCB for eight years and as FFC for two years.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Alpha Mu's advisory board chairman absolutely served as my mentor especially as I transitioned into the FCB presidency. It is crucial for the advisory board and FCB to work hand-in-hand, and she helped me stay afloat that first year when I was trying to learn the role. She has supported me ever since.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I stay involved with Theta because I honestly believe this organization develops women into leaders and world changers, and I appreciate that the Fraternity surrounds these women with equally intelligent, successful, driven, and compassionate women.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? Recently, Alpha Mu Chapter undertook a $4.5 million renovation and addition to the chapter house. We are doing the work in phases. At the completion of phase I, which included the dining room, kitchen, craft room, board room, and new patio, I happened to be at the chapter for move-in day. We kept all the collegians out of the basement and walked them all down to record their reactions to the new spaces. There were oohs and ahhs, screams and cheers, and even tears! It was so rewarding to see what a powerful impact FCB can have on their Theta experience.
Do you have a special Theta moment? I have countless special Theta moments, but most of my favorites are the little moments. I specifically remember when Columbia received 18 inches of snow in one night. Campus shut down completely for only the third time in its history. I was living in the chapter house, and the 82 of us living there made the most out of our little vacation. My fondest Theta memories are the everyday moments spent with my sisters.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I teach fourth grade and absolutely love my job!
Amy Hayner Kates, Alpha Phi/Tulane, is Fraternity ritualist, NPC delegate, and sesquicentennial volunteer. She has served the Fraternity since her days as an educational leadership consultant, including positions on college chapter advisory boards, facility corporations, the college committee, and Grand Council, including two terms as Fraternity president.
Undergraduate officer positions held: I was the corresponding secretary and standards chairman.
Have you held other Theta offices/volunteer positions? I was a chapter consultant (ELC), recruitment advisor, ABC, facility corporation secretary, college district president, 3rd alternate NPC delegate, Fraternity vice-president membership, Fraternity vice-president college and Fraternity president. In my role as president, I also served on the Fraternity investment committee and Fraternity Housing Corporation, and served as a Theta Foundation trustee.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? It's been in my blood since I graduated from college. I always knew I was going to stay involved with Theta. It was never really a choice; Theta has always been a big part of my life since I pledged in 1984.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? It was my college advisor, Marina Gregorio. I remember very vividly a time in college when she and the other advisors were upset with our chapter over a risk management issue, and Marina was particularly powerful in her message to us. I felt a fundamental change in the way I looked at Theta at that moment. I felt the influence of her as a mentor, and knew that Theta was so much more than anything else I was part of, because of the alumnae mentors I was being provided. I wanted to be able to have that kind of effect on another Theta someday, and so I knew I would always be a Theta volunteer.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? 25 years!
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Yes, many through the years, starting with Marina, but probably the person who has most influenced me is Lissa Bradford, who has also served Theta in many positions, including Fraternity president.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? It is the reward of watching Theta grow and change with the times, and I am so inspired by our collegians. They are amazing! I am continually impressed with all they do.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? There are so many... but I remember when I was Fraternity president, and we were struggling with a new tagline. Suddenly "Leading Women" was on the table, and we knew that was it. It was a moment of clarity of vision shared by a group; I still get chills thinking back on that time. And, when I see it today, I am especially proud to have been part of that decision.
Do you have a special Theta moment? Leading initiation at Grand Convention 2014 was quite special.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a Notary Public, which in Louisiana is different than other states. Because we have civil law in Louisiana, Notaries are able to perform more legal acts. It gives people greater access to the law to have more officials available to perform simple legal acts, whereas other states require an attorney. I am passionate about giving that access to as many people as I can, and I work hard to be as available as possible. That said, my true passion is my family, and I'm thrilled that I've been able to have a career that has been flexible enough to give me the chance to be there for them as much as I have.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!