March 2018 Volunteer Spotlight

Category: Fraternity

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel

Gamma, Butler

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.