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Averill Aubrey, Epsilon Phi/Chicago, is finance advisor, Alpha Lambda/Washington; Seattle Alumnae Chapter membership communications coordinator; and permanent alumnae secretary, Epsilon Phi/Chicago. She previously served on the Seattle Scholarship Application Review Committee and as Seattle Alumnae Chapter president, vice-president, and secretary as well as the career mentorship chairman (in partnership with Alpha Lambda/Washington). She also participated in the 2017 Alumnae Service Trip.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Alumnae relations chairman (now alumnae relations director) and vice president development (now chief operating officer).
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? 5 years
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? It started when I moved from Chicago to Milwaukee. I wanted a way to stay connected to my chapter in Chicago after moving, and found out about the PAS role in the Theta magazine - it was unfilled at Epsilon Phi, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity. Later, I moved to Seattle and wanted to make some new friends. I started attending Seattle Alumnae Chapter events and meetings and was asked to take on the VP role.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? Being a Theta volunteer connects me more deeply to my community - I meet talented and inspiring women who I may not have met otherwise. I get to contribute to making something "better" - be it making sure we have a great alumnae chapter through which women can connect or advising on financial decisions at Alpha Lambda/Washington. I love the feeling of knowing I am making an impact.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? Theta gives me a touchpoint to consistently come home to and ground myself in the importance of leading women. As I move into more supervisory roles in Theta, I am so inspired by the leadership of our college members and women taking on alumnae officer positions for the first time. I learn through their leadership, and I learn how to be a better leader myself.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? I felt such strong sisterhood on the Alumnae Service Trip in 2017. On the last day of service, we were quite tired, and the goal of the day was to make a community garden (no small task). Everyone dug deep and found the energy they needed to get across the finish line. It was so rewarding hearing the feedback from the garden coordinator - we had done more in one afternoon than other groups had done in weeks.
Do you have a special Theta moment? It was a special moment realizing that I never in a million years thought that joining Theta would be a decision that affects me more and more as an alumna than when I was a college member. I never dreamed that this would become such a significant part of my life to carry into my post-college years. Theta has given me a community each time I've moved, and I've made friends with the women I've met that will continue over our lifetimes. I am so glad I ended up here.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? Yes, I'm the chief of staff of an engineering organization at Microsoft. I love that every day is a new challenge, and that I can unblock issues across our customers, finance, HR, and legal for the engineering teams. I get to influence team strategy and the associated organizational design. I am responsible for the team's operating budget of about $300M/year, and enjoy prioritizing team needs with funding to achieve strategic goals. Prior to my role at Microsoft, I was a management consultant, where I learned the collaboration skills and business acumen to support my career in industry.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Facility manager (now facility management director) and vice president administration (now chief administrative officer).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer?
In terms of my advisor involvement, my friend was on the Psi/Wisconsin advisory board and was transitioning off. She asked if she could recommend me. For the Gen X Board, I received an email asking for interested participants and applied.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer?
I love giving back, and it's fun to volunteer with my sisters. The Alumnae Service Trip in New Orleans was life-changing. It was a great group of women, many of whom I still keep in contact. In fact, I was in Denver coaching at the Emerging Women Live leadership conference, and one of my fellow service trip participants lives there, so we met for dinner. It was so great to see a friendly face in an unfamiliar city. She even picked me up from the airport. That's not friendship, that is sisterhood; going the extra step to love and support one another.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Nine years.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor?
Yes, several. The Psi Chapter advisory board chairman (ABC) when I was an undergraduate officer, Regina Collins Simon, has been my mentor for almost 20 years. From helping me find my stride as a leader in my chapter to cheering me on when I started my business, to checking in on me when I left my corporate job, she is an amazing woman. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Theta has brought so many talented, ambitious, big-hearted women into my world, and I am forever grateful.
Why do you stay involved with Theta?
To honor my values. At my core, giving back and inspiring the next generation of women is so important to me. It's like breathing for me, really. As an adult, it has also been a great way to make friends. It's easier to develop a relationship when you have similar values. Theta is the gift that keeps on giving!
Do you have a special volunteering moment?
Definitely the Alumnae Service Trip. I even wrote a post about it on my personal blog.
Do you have a special Theta moment?
Just one? Initiation night with my big sister. I wasn't sure what to expect, and she made it such a special experience. I remember at one point she had her hand on my shoulder to support and encourage me ... and it's felt like that ever since. I am so lucky to have her in my life, then and now. She is a loyal friend, amazing wife and mother and now business owner. I am the oldest of three, so I always wanted a big sister and she's been that for me. While life has taken us down different paths, I know she is always there for me no matter what.
Do you have a profession or personal passion?
Yes, inspired by Theta of course. I am passionate about women's empowerment, the confidence and courage to be a powerful force in the world. Women often let doubt hold them back, yet I have seen what is possible when you believe in yourself and take action. This is especially true as I grew as a leader. My Theta experience inspired me to join the Junior League and eventually become president, which gave me the skills and confidence to start my business. I love supporting women at the intersection of leadership and business strategy.
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.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!