This post is courtesy of West Virginia Alpha Nikole Hilbert, Leadership Development Consultant.
After graduation, Pi Phi has continued to be a catalyst for my personal growth. By serving the Fraternity as a traveling Leadership Development Consultant, I have the unique opportunity to touch base with collegiate members and gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges they face. I’ve gained new perspectives on how to be a problem solver and often find myself giving advice I wish I could’ve given myself. The following are the five biggest pieces of advice I wish someone had given me as a collegian:
- Strengthen Communication: When you’re an Executive Council member, it’s easy to take for granted you are always in the loop. Take time to familiarize the entire chapter with the chapter evaluation criteria and work together to define goals for your chapter and discuss plans for accomplishing them. Allow chapter members the opportunity to provide input for programming that affects the chapter as a whole such as sisterhood events, philanthropic endeavors and recruitment themes/outfits. Showing your chapter members you respect and value their opinions fosters a sense of belonging and satisfaction.
- Get Involved: The ability to receive an education is a privilege, so make your college years count. It’s okay to be unsure about your career aspirations after graduation — in fact most people are. While you’re figuring it out, it’s important to challenge yourself to experience new things. Apply for internships in areas that interest you, volunteer in a field you’re unfamiliar with and get involved in other organizations beyond Pi Phi. By participating in new things you in turn make Pi Phi better. Encouraging members to be well rounded provides them with an outlet and other sources of inspiration. Pi Phi is not meant to be your entire life, just a special part of it. By being engaged in your campus community you actively promote Greek life as more than just a social outlet and prove the type of women who join Pi Phi are capable leaders with varied interests and bright futures.
- Change is Evidence of Growth: As leaders you have the opportunity to inspire others and to be a spark of positive change. Sometimes change is met with resistance. Be patient. I’ve found if you’re going to tell someone not to do something, provide an explanation. Explaining the logic behind decisions will let members know you’re coming from a place of good intent and they’ll be more likely to jump on board. Seniors, it’s important to realize your opinion is incredibly impactful on chapter morale. This is the time of year when new leaders are being elected and they will need your support. When new officers suggest new programming ideas, be open and encouraging. Pi Phi has progressed a lot over our 147 years of existence, just like your chapter will progress, because change is vital to stay relevant, competitive and provide a meaningful experience. There are time-honored traditions that will always remain a part of Pi Phi — our ritual, our heritage and our commitment to each other. Those traditions will continue to unify Pi Phis no matter how much your chapter evolves. You have so much to look forward to as an alumna; don’t spend your last year as a collegian being hypercritical.
- Respect for individualism: Everyone in some capacity has the opportunity to be a leader within your chapter. Help members identify how their unique talents and interests can be utilized to make your chapter successful. It’s important to recognize there are many different leadership styles. Personally, I value those who listen and empower others to realize their full capability as leaders. Some women have that natural ability to light up a room and fill it with laughter, while others are task oriented and continuously strive for greatness. There’s a place for all these talents in Pi Phi. Learning to embrace the uniqueness of others to create a stronger organization is a gift and a valuable skill you will use long after graduation.
- The Importance of Mentors: More than ever before I find myself reaching out to Alumnae Advisory Committee members, regional team members and other international officers for guidance and support. These incredible women, who I used to be so intimidated by, have been a constant source of inspiration and serve as a reminder of how service to Pi Phi continues after graduation. My Pi Phi mentors don’t just provide me with advice for Pi Phi but for life as well. Friendship in Pi Phi exists throughout generations. There is so much to gain by learning from other’s experiences. I sincerely encourage you to reach out to your Pi Phi advisors and alumnae. They want to know you, assist you and celebrate your successes.
Being a Leadership Development Consultant has given me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a representative of Pi Phi, have a greater appreciation of our Fraternity and learn a lot along the way. By virtue of being a Pi Phi you have so much to be proud of. Take time to celebrate the impact Pi Phi has made on your life and cherish the friendships made in the wine and silver blue.
The Marketing and Communications Team at Pi Beta Phi Headquarters does many different jobs. We maintain this blog (and other social media platforms). We provide you with information via official emails, The Arrow, our website, etc. We handle crisis communication. We create beautiful graphic designs. We market our new chapters to help them be successful. And we keep our documents up to date based on Pi Phi’s policies. Here’s a little glimpse into our six-person team.
Title: Marketing and Communications Director Headquarters
Major responsibility: Supervisor of the fabulously, talented MarComm team
You would call me for … brand inquiries, crisis communication/media issues and new ways to market and promote Pi Phi.
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
One unknown fact about me is … I have an unnatural fear of closing an umbrella.
The best thing I ever ate is … fresh crab out of a paper bag on San Fran’s Wharf.
If I had to choose between cake, pie or cookies I would choose … I pick “D” all of the above.
Jenny Schmidt, Missouri Gamma
Title: Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
Major responsibility: Extension and New Chapter Support Marketing
You would call me for … logos and graphics requests.
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
One unknown fact about me is … I’ve taken flying trapeze lessons.
If I could travel to one country that I haven’t been to, it would be … Italy.
Life isn’t complete without … my husband, Joe, and our furry babies, Fiona and Frankie.
Constance Dillon, California Delta
Title: The Arrow Editor/Communications Coordinator
Major responsibility: The Arrow magazine and positive PR efforts (press releases, outreach, etc.)
You would call me for … Arrow submission deadlines and guidelines.
Favorite social media platform: Instagram!!!!
One unknown fact about me is … I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii! And the hospital, Tripler Army Medical Center, is pink!
My celebrity doppelganger is … Renée Zellweger (original face!!)
Life isn’t complete without … Burt’s Bees Chapstick.
Janelle Schroeder, California Mu
Title: Electronic Media Manager
Major responsibility: I oversee website content, social media and electronic communication for the Fraternity.
You would call me for … social media help, chapter website issues and Fraternity website problems.
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
One unknown fact about me is … I’ve caged dived with sharks and got to pet a cheetah in South Africa. I’d say I’m adventurous.
The best thing I ever ate is … buttermilk biscuits from Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, South Carolina.
My favorite quote is … “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson
Title: Communications Specialist
Major responsibility: Resource Library maintenance
You would call me for … an unlocked document that needs editing!
Favorite social media platform: Pinterest
One unknown fact about me is … One time I sang backup for the band Journey. Hands down that was easily the greatest day of my life.
My favorite quote is … “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it.” — Steve Jobs
If I could travel to one country that I haven’t been to, it would be … India.
Title: Multimedia Designer
Major Responsibility: Print and web design
You would call me for … infographic design or redesigning a new template for your chapter or alumnae club website.
Favorite Social Media Platform: Twitter
One unknown fact about me is … I’m a man. In all seriousness, though, I have bowled a perfect 300.
If I had to choose between cake, pie or cookies I would choose … team cookies, all the way.
My celebrity doppelganger is … probably Jack Black.
Well folks, there you have it: your Pi Phi Marketing and Communications team. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us if you have Pi Phi marketing questions. For all of our contact information, click here. #piphilove