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ELC Blog

Posted On: Thursday, July 2, 2015 08:00 AM, by Aquene Kenerson
Julie (second from right) and her family.
Julie Shivers Jameson, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech, served as an educational leadership consultant for the Fraternity from 1984 to 1985. Today, Julie works as a high school family and consumer science teacher, and was recently awarded the honor of Secondary School Teacher of the Year in her school district.

For Julie, Theta and family are closely entwined. Julie's daughter, Joni Jameson Wise (also a Gamma Phi/Texas Tech alumna) served as an ELC from 2011-2013! Her son also married a Gamma Phi member, and when describing her to the family he said, "Mom, I want you to meet this girl I've been dating. You will like her because she is a Theta." He meant these words as the highest compliment he could give knowing how meaningful Kappa Alpha Theta is for Julie.

During her time as a consultant, Julie traveled full-time and says she would not trade the experience—both the good and the bad—for anything. When asked what talents or skilled she gained, she enumerates them: how to pack, how to be flexible in work and travel atmospheres, and how to walk into a room not knowing a soul but having the confidence to thrive in a difficult situation. Julie also feels that she gained poise in all situations, a skill that you do not get easily or as quickly in other work experiences. When summing up her experience, Julie says, "It was amazing, tough, enlightening, and one of the most phenomenal years of personal growth."

Aquene Kenerson, Eta Psi/Tufts, will serve Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity during the next school year as a second-year educational leadership consultant.

Posted On: Thursday, June 25, 2015 08:15 AM, by Aquene Kenerson
Jenny, center, and Zeta Mu/MIT members during recruitment, September 2001.
Jenny Nichols, Psi/Wisconsin, was hired as an educational leadership consultant from 2001-2002. Jenny traveled full-time and visited a total of 18 states over the course of nine months! In addition, Jenny assisted with the reestablishment of Beta Theta/Idaho in the fall of 2001. Currently, Jenny works for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Community Health and Education, assisting with the implementation of health education in Milwaukee public schools. She serves the Fraternity as a college district director, and is a member of the Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter.

Having lived in Wisconsin for most of her life, Jenny found the ELC position to be the perfect opportunity to see the country. In her work as an ELC, she developed independence, professionalism, and travel savviness. Additionally, one of the greatest abilities Jenny feels she cultivated is remaining composed in the face of adversity or difficult situations.

During her travels, Jenny recalls many notable and memorable experiences visiting different schools and cities that have stayed with her. Jenny was on the road during the terror attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. She recounts this as a terrifying and surreal experience, and remembers the relief after learning the entire ELC team was safe.

Looking back on her year as an ELC, Jenny feels that one of her biggest takeaways will always be her deep connection to Theta. "The friendships I've made as a Theta volunteer are so meaningful to me and keep me going when things get tough - in my volunteer, personal, and professional life."

Aquene Kenerson, Eta Psi/Tufts, will serve Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity during the next school year as a second-year educational leadership consultant.

Posted On: Thursday, June 18, 2015 08:05 AM, by Aquene Kenerson
L to R: Maddie Intfen, Ashley Freeman, Jennifer Polhemus, and Los Angeles alumna Sally Anderson
Jennifer Polhemus was initiated at Omicron Chapter at the University of Southern California and became an educational leadership consultant for the Fraternity in the late 1970s. After serving as an ELC, Jennifer pursued a career as a forensic economist where she is a consultant helping attorneys measure potential damages for lawsuits and insurance claims. Although 35 years have passed since her time as an ELC, Jennifer is still involved with Theta and keeps in contact with the ELC team she traveled with.

In her work, Jennifer found that her ELC experience helped her gain footing professionally. "As a professional in consulting, I need to balance many projects simultaneously, with different deadlines and details, adapting to my clients' particular styles and needs, and not become debilitated by stress." In thinking about the expertise she developed as an ELC, Jennifer cites follow-through, self-sufficiency, and maturity as having made a lasting impact on both her personal and professional life.

Traveling as an ELC in 1979 looked very different from traveling as an ELC in 2015. Before the age of smartphones and the Internet, arranging travel, writing reports, and keeping in touch with family was more difficult. Jennifer is grateful for the alumnae she met during her travels who extended Theta hospitality by welcoming her into their homes for dinner. Now with her active involvement in the Los Angeles Alumnae Chapter, Jennifer makes a point to reach out to ELCs traveling to southern California. This past spring, two ELCs had the opportunity to meet up with her and do some sight-seeing from Beverly Hills to Hollywood Boulevard.

In looking back on her time as an ELC, Jennifer summarizes, "The opportunity to lead and to see results, the chance to make so many friends, and to see the country, was wonderful for me."

Aquene Kenerson, Eta Psi/Tufts, will serve Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity during the next school year as a second-year educational leadership consultant.

Posted On: Thursday, June 11, 2015 07:45 AM, by Aquene Kenerson
Julie Ruffolo Gilpin
Julie Gilpin, Alpha/DePauw, served as an educational leadership consultant in 1993. Since her time as an ELC, Julie has excelled in the human resources field and has been an active community volunteer. She has served as a Fraternity volunteer in many different capacities, highlighted by her eight years on Grand Council.

Julie was inspired to apply for the ELC position by her Theta advisor and role model at DePauw. As an ELC, Julie visited more than 20 college campuses and, to this day, she still keeps in contact with women she met on the road! During her year of traveling for the Fraternity, Julie feels that she learned an enormous amount about Theta and herself, and particularly how to travel.

In her professional life, Julie credits many of the skills she learned as an ELC for her successes in the business and HR consulting field. Julie states, "Being an ELC enhanced my presentation skills, my ability to meet new people in any also helped me learn to resolve conflicts in groups of people and teams. I use all of these skills every day." In addition, Julie often finds herself speaking in front of large crowds, and feels that being an ELC helped pave the way for her public speaking ability.

The professionalism, positivity, and friendships that Julie developed on the road are components of her ELC experience she continues to value today. Julie also notes about her decision to be an ELC, "I got my offer to be an ELC on my birthday. I know it is one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive!"

Aquene Kenerson, Eta Psi/Tufts, will serve Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity during the next school year as a second-year educational leadership consultant.

Posted On: Thursday, June 4, 2015 08:00 AM, by Ann Crary
L-R: Annie Hornung, Aquene Kenerson, Ann Crary
Fact: Within the past five years, 41% of ELCs obtained a job within three months following service as an ELC, 22% have gone on to graduate school, and 37% have continued serving as an ELC.

This summer, the educational leadership consultants (ELCs) are launching a Professional Development Blog Series! This series will be authored by the ELCs interning at Fraternity headquarters: Ann Crary, Annie Hornung, and Aquene Kenerson.

The ELCs have conducted interviews with former ELCs, gathering information about how their experience has shaped them into who they are today. The series will illustrate how the ELC experience prepares women for their professional pursuits, and highlight what an ELC's career looks like after completing the program.

Blogs will be posted every Thursday throughout the summer. We hope you find this series informative and helpful!

Ann Crary, Beta Omicron/Iowa, Aquene Kenerson, Epsilon Psi/Richmond, and Annie Hornung, Eta Sigma/Chapman, serve Kappa Alpha Theta as educational leadership consultants.

Posted On: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:00 AM, by Sarah Kindscher
2014-2015 Educational Leadership Consultant Team
It's crazy to think how much can happen in a year. Last summer, a group of 15 women from 14 different chapters and 12 different states came together for one common purpose—to promote Kappa Alpha Theta's values and ideals and influence undergraduate members for the betterment of the Fraternity. Through serving as educational leadership consultants (ELCs), we have been able to facilitate growth and development in Theta women and have a hand in furthering the future of our college chapters for the continued growth of Kappa Alpha Theta.

It's also crazy to think how much has been accomplished in the last year for the Give to Lead, Give to Learn Campaign. Give to Lead, Give to Learn is Kappa Alpha Theta's $5 million endowment campaign to fund the need-based scholarship program and, particularly of interest to us, the ELC program. Since the Campaign's public launch at Grand Convention in 2014, $3.8 million has been secured for these two programs, and now the focus has turned entirely to raising the remaining $1.2 million needed for the ELC program's endowment. Just as the ELCs are investing in the future of Theta's 138 college chapters, Theta Foundation is investing in us, the ELCs, to ensure this program is available to support all college chapters today and in the years to come.

And, it's also crazy to think that since the ELC program began in 1959, 387 women have served as ELCs, and nearly 100 college chapters have been established as a result of their efforts. Each year, every one of Theta's college chapters receives at least one visit from a consultant, and the resources necessary to make this possible are not insignificant. The education and leadership development we receive through our ongoing consultant training—and in turn, provide to collegiate women—is made possible through Theta Foundation's support of the ELC program. Almost every woman who has served as an ELC can speak directly to the impact of this program on Theta's college members, but a lesser-shared perspective is the impact the program continues to have on us. It is difficult to articulate the program's impact on our professional and personal development, but we feel it's important to share how serving in this vital role for the Fraternity has developed us as leading women:

"The ELC program has taught me the importance of working for an organization that you believe in full-heartedly. The team's love for Theta pushes us to put our best foot forward and work until the job is done. Not many people can say they work for an organization that pulls at their heartstrings the way that Theta does for all of us and, for that, I am extremely thankful." -Alyssa Barnes, full-time traveling ELC

"The ELC program has introduced me to so many different women all over the country who have profoundly impacted my life. I will always remember the women I met on my ELC journey because those conversations and interactions shaped me as a woman. Those women believed in me and pushed me to be a better person, and a better Theta. I am forever thankful to the ELC program and Kappa Alpha Theta for shaping me into the woman I am today."—Julia Hart, based ELC at Eta Omega/St. Louis University

"My experience as an ELC has provided me with the tools to tackle any situation, whether it is professional or personal. It has built confidence in me to know that I can handle anything that is put in my path and the faith to know that I will come out stronger in the end."-Jenny Cook, full-time traveling ELC

"The ELC program has not only allowed for the creation and progression of our newest chapters, but also made our well-established chapters more dynamic. I personally saw so much change in my own undergraduate experience that is still taking place now because of the ELCs that provided guidance to my chapter."—Madison Cannon, full-time traveling ELC

"Being an ELC for Kappa Alpha Theta has provided me with numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. In addition, this program has challenged me in more ways than I could have ever imaged. As a result, I have a grown to be the best version of myself, gained an even deeper love for the values of this organization, and found 14 of the greatest co-workers and friends. I am so thankful to have had this once-in-a-lifetime experience and know my time with Theta is far from over."—Sami Bahu, based ELC at Zeta Chi/Johns Hopkins University

These testimonials are just a few examples of the influence the ELC program has had on us, and we are forever grateful for the ELC program and its aim to serve the undergraduate women of the Fraternity.

In recognition of the profound impact the ELC program has had on each of us, as a group, we have chosen to make personal financial investments in this program's future through Give to Lead, Give to Learn. We hope that through our contribution in support of Theta's future, we will inspire others who have been impacted by ELCs to invest in Give to Lead, Give to Learn to ensure the ELC program continues to make a lasting impact on Kappa Alpha Theta.

Sarah Kindscher, Educational Leadership Consultant, Gamma Psi/Texas Christian University

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