April 2018 Volunteer Spotlight

Category: Fraternity

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel

Gamma, Butler

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.