Elle Benak

Gamma deuteron, Ohio Wesleyan

Emerging Leaders Institute: Encouraging Members to Lead Others

As a collegian, Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) is something I have heard a lot about but never really understood. While interning at headquarters last summer, I had the opportunity to travel with Noraleen Young, staff archivist, to DePauw University and attend Session 2 of ELI. I was only at the Institute for a few short hours but what I experienced has left me with a new respect and love for Theta

Walking into Meharry Hall, located in East College, the oldest building on campus, and speaking to the participants gathered there, I experienced this overwhelming sense of pride for what Theta creates. I could tell these women were learning so much that weekend about how to be the best leader possible and how to apply those skills to their involvement with Theta.

Listening to Noraleen’s ELI presentation about Theta’s history, I really came to understand what an important support group Theta was for those who founded it. And I realized that Theta has supported women throughout our history and was continuing to do so for the young women in the room.

Earlier that week Noraleen had informed me that it was the 50th anniversary of Theta’s first leadership conference. My experience at ELI was so powerful I was interested to find out what had driven Theta to start what would become the Emerging Leaders Institute.

The first leadership conference was created for college presidents, Grand Council, and district officers to come together and learn ways to better run their organization. In her opening remarks at the first conference, Fraternity President Virginia Speidel Edwards, Alpha Tau/Cincinnati, spoke of the responsibility of upholding Theta’s values and how to better lead others to aspire to them as well. It warmed my heart to realize that for almost 150 years Theta has been encouraging members to strive for their best.

Attending ELI made me truly comprehend that Theta was created to empower women.

(ELI registration is currently open; learn more about the Institute on the Theta website.)