Friday, February 27, 2009

Northeast Greek Leadership Association

Friday February 20th, 2009

Values Institute Speaker

The first informative event for the conference was a speaker addressing the concept of leadership. She stressed the importance of the whole and leading by example. There was one thing she said that hit a chord with me, she said “A leader is not necessarily a person who holds some formal position of leadership or who is able to affect positive change for the betterment of others, the community, and society. All people, in other words, are potential leaders.” This statement pretty much summed up what the whole day was about; being a true leader by initiating change and setting a positive example.

Values Institute Small Group Work
The small group work that followed the speaker was kind of dry and we often broke into partners and small groups which was more of an ice breaking situation than talking about leadership. One concept they addressed was the idea of ‘servant leadership’ and there is a long, drawn out definition about what it is in the booklet I got the day before but to sum it up briefly: Servant leaders may or may not have official positions of power and choose to lead through their actions and influencing others to be leaders within the community by being a leader. The rest of the day consisted of identifying the traits of a true leaders and how to inspire others to be leaders with your own organization.

Saturday February 21st, 2009
Hazing on Trial – Opening Speaker

The speaker for this day was a highly influential individual who commanded respect with just his presence. He was a ‘no nonsense’ man who connected with all the people in the audience, especially the fraternity members. I pulled a few quotes from his presentation which I found most though provoking. The first quote flashed up on the running slideshow behind him, it said “Take the courage within you and confront the forces that will otherwise destroy your chapter.” As I was thinking about that quote I found myself being increasingly drawn into his speech. I started actually feeling the need to change things, to stand up and say something when I got back to campus, to take that first step. The next quote that stuck in my mind was “Example is not the best form of leadership, it is the only way.” Not only did it reinforce the purpose of yesterday’s speaker and small group discussion but it just made sense. The only way to lead effectively is to portray yourself in the way you want others to act. Leading by example plays a vital role in a true leader. The last quote that summed up the end of his discussion was “you don’t earn your badge once, you earn it every day.” Thinking like that would help a lot of members within organizations find the right path. Every single day you represent your organization from the first day you receive your bid till the day you die, unless you are disaffiliated of course. Membership in Greek organizations is for a lifetime and everyday someone will look at you and associate you with Greek organizations if not, more specifically, your individual chapter. Act as if your letters were tattooed to your forehead because they might as well be in some sense.

The first workshop I went to was entitled ‘Hypnotic Charismatic Communication for Recruitment and Leadership’. This presentation was my first one of the day after the speaker and it was a lot of fun. We moved around a lot and we were practicing the good components of communication such as eye contact, body language, and how to approach a conversation. It was a great time and I even got the chance to but on a sari and a lei and dance where the moves were reinforcing what we should keep in mind. I absolutely loved it!

The second workshop was entitled “Growing a Viable Panhellenic Community through NPC Extension”. This was a highly informative section all about the step to take to pursue adding other organizations on campus and also provided tips and tricks for success. Julie Johnson, the Chairman of the Extension Committee ran the discussion and to sum it up went through step by step describing as much as possible, with the time allotted, and answering any and all questions. I went up to her and asked her about extension with a limited amount of statistics, and she basically said that if the population was growing rapidly, then we should not let the statistics hold us back.

The third workshop was called “Setting Up Success: Best Practices for College Panhellenic Councils”. This session was mostly about informing us about the NPC website and letting us know what resources were available for us on it. We also briefly described how to set up a short term goals to help the success of the organization and to get as much out of your position as possible. MB came with me to this session and we came up with two goals: Effective officer transition materials, and compiling statistics for extension.
After the third workshop Maribeth and I attended the NPC Area Update which is pretty self explanatory. They discussed the changes and updates within our region and they also talked a lot about the new website. One thing they suggested for the betterment of recruitment was to have ‘exit interviews’ where we ask women who decide not to go through with a new member process and collects information as to why they decided not to. Very interesting and I’ll be looking into having that in place for the next recruitment chair for the college NPC.
The fourth workshop, entitled “Where Can We Find Prospective Members”, was focused around a book that was given to the Advisors upon arrival called ‘I Heart Recruitment’. They suggested many creative ways to recruit as well as the most effective ways to recruit. One thing that stuck in my mind was this point: “’We’re about quality not quantity’ – this is said by sororities who are not performing well during recruitment; larger number of women = larger number of joiners”. Effective recruitment involves all members being on the same page and advertising what they want to be known for whether it is GPA/ academic excellence or community service.

The last session I went to was called “Everyone in My Chapter Hates Everyone Else”. This was a pretty straight forward presentation where a former chapter president shared his personal story of trial and tribulation. He identified what can go wrong with a chapter and then discussed the ways one can address those issues. The information was pretty basic and I wish he went more in depth and addressed the chapters who do not have a lot of money in the budget for a full out weekend retreat in the back woods of Maine.

Overall, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to go and am very grateful that I was chosen by my peers to represent BSC along with 2 other phenomenal people. Not only did I receive a lot of useful information, I also met other leaders that I could connect with that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Thank you to all those that made this amazing experience possible for me!

~Melani Gerenia
Phi Sigma Sigma

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