Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Message From the Chairman: The legacy of sorority

The month of May provides an opportunity to pay tribute to mothers and the legacies they leave, as well as the legacy of others. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines legacy as, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor.”

Women’s sororities capture the definition of the word legacy, encompassing both the spirit of the dictionary definition and the timeless tradition of paying forward the heritage of sorority membership from one generation to the next.

For sororities, a legacy may include mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter, aunt to niece, sister to sister and so forth. I am just that, a legacy! My mother, sister and I share the same membership legacy through our national sorority. This familial practice of sharing history, founding principles and values has greatly affected and contributed to the continued growth of inter/national sororities.

Is a sorority legacy restricted to membership in her ancestral sorority? The answer is no. Is membership in an inter/national women's sorority composed only of legacies? Again, the answer is no. Many families share the gift of sorority membership through Panhellenic ties. See the story of one such family’s experience, featured on Page 28 of “Themis” of Zeta Tau Alpha.

Why share the story of legacy and legacies? While in Washington, D.C., recently with more than 200 sorority and fraternity alumni and collegians, each of us was asked to articulate the value and benefits of our membership while lobbying on behalf of the fraternal community. Defending the right to exist as single-gender (women and men's) organizations, the right to associate, to provide safe spaces and housing for our youngest members — all this is possible only because of the legacy of lifelong membership, passed down in some cases from generation to generation. A lifetime membership is grounded in the rich and intentional founding principles and values of each sorority and fraternity.  

Leaving a legacy, being a legacy and sharing a legacy is a rich testament to the sorority experience. Join me in honoring the decades of legacy of others to sorority, and those today who advocate tirelessly on behalf of the sorority experience.

And happy Mother’s Day to all sorority women who are mothers and to the moms who support their daughters in their sorority membership.

Interfraternally,
 
Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

College Panhellenic Spotlight: College of William & Mary

Tips for completing NPC awards application
By Julia Boge, William & Mary College Panhellenic president

Starting the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) awards process can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be! Use these easy tips to make it easier.

Photo Courtesy of Greek Yearbook
  1. Start early. Don’t leave the questions until the last minute or until your classes are over. It is much more efficient to do this while your executive board is still together to confer and bounce ideas off each other.
  2. Break up the awards packet into sections based on executive board positions. For example, your vice president of programming can prepare information for the programming section, the president can fill out the communication with NPC area advisor section, and the recruitment officer can write up the details for the recruitment section. Having other officers provide what they know best takes the responsibility to do everything off the president, and it makes sense to have each position write about their contributions.
  3. Write everything down. While that Sunday afternoon program about landing an internship might not seem like a big deal at the time, it is! Your council is doing great things and deserves to be recognized. So, even if it seems like a small program or even if attendance is low, write it down anyway.
  4. Pay attention to the due dates and set your own. Don’t fill out every question in the awards packet only to realize that you’ve missed the deadline! Pay attention to that June 1 date and make sure you have everything finished beforehand. It is also helpful to set an earlier date for your executive board to fill out each section. If the president or another member of the board is reviewing it, she’ll need at least a week for that process.
  5. Have fun! You’re doing great things as a College Panhellenic council. This is your time to sit down and pat yourselves on the back. It should be an exciting time to reflect on the year your council has had and hopefully be rewarded for it.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Message From the Chairman: Volunteering - The Heart of Sorority Membership

At age 90, my role model and mentor continues to provide volunteer service to her community, church and sorority. A dedicated and selfless volunteer for well over 70 years with humble beginnings in eastern Montana, she can still be found distributing lunches to small children, butter and cheese to seniors, and coffee on Sunday morning to parishioners. She is … my mom.

Scientific studies have shown that individuals who volunteer enjoy both physiological and physical health benefits including greater satisfaction, improved sense of belonging, lower blood pressure and decreased mortality. More than 62 million Americans — one quarter of the adult population — contribute approximately 8 billion hours yearly to causes close to their hearts. In honor and celebration of the many people who generously give of their time and resources, April is designated National Volunteer Month and April 23-29 National Volunteer Week, specifically.


National Volunteer Week has a history in Canada dating back to World War II, when women were celebrated for their part in supporting the war effort on the home front. In 1974, then U.S. President Richard Nixon signed a Presidential Proclamation establishing National Volunteer Week. Annually, the sitting president issues a special proclamation in honor of volunteers.

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), and its 26 women’s organizations salute the contributions of countless women volunteers — those individuals who mobilize men and women to take action and those who give countless hours to make a difference in their communities and the world. Consider:
Volunteer service is at the heart of the sorority membership experience. In 2015-16 collectively, the 26 inter/national NPC sororities reported nearly 3 million hours of member volunteer service in support of nonprofit organizations. To operate their organizations, a volunteer base of approximately 46,000 women work daily in partnership with professional staffs to support the sororities and their members. The opportunities are countless for women, and the contributions made are immeasurable in terms of economic impact and resources.

Thank you to all who volunteer from 90 to 19 and younger. Consider the possibilities within your community to seek out ways to engage, step up, share your skills and experience the satisfaction of volunteering to make a difference.

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Wear a Badge: Susan Shannon Engeleiter, Delta Gamma

The theme for Women’s History Month in 2017 is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Business and Labor.” Throughout March, we’ll be sharing the stories of sorority women who made history in these areas. The efforts of these sorority women advance the cause of all women, and we are grateful for their efforts.

From Data Recognition Corporation (credit)
Meet Susan Shannon Engeleiter: CEO of Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), first woman to hold the position of administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a proud sorority woman.

Engeleiter was initiated into the Omega chapter of Delta Gamma at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1970 where she studied English and communications. She later earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

After completing her law degree, Engeleiter entered politics and became the youngest woman, at age 22, to ever have been elected to serve in a state legislature in the United States. She was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1980, where she served as the assistant minority leader from 1982-84, and as minority leader from 1984-89. Engeleiter ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 1988, but was defeated by a narrow margin.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush nominated her as the administrator of the Small Business Administration. She was the first woman in history to hold this title, and served in the position until 1991. During her term as administrator, Engeleiter was also appointed chairwoman of the National Women’s Business Council. From 1991-96 she served on the President’s Export Council.

She worked for Honeywell International Inc. as the vice president of government affairs leading the Honeywell Home and Business Control business and working on legislative and regulatory initiatives to support the organization’s goals. Engeleiter joined DRC as the president and chief operating officer in 1998, and was promoted to her current role as CEO and president of the company in 2006. As the leader of DRC she manages 12 locations, 650 full-time employees and 5,000 seasonal employees who provide education, survey and document services to clients throughout the U.S.

References:
  • Data Recognition Corporation (n.d.) Susan Shannon Engeleiter. Retrieved from http://www.datarecognitioncorp.com/Pages/Leadership%20Bios/Susan-Engeleiter.aspx
  • Data Recognition Corporation (2006, December 11). DRC names Susan Engeleiter chief executive officer and president. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/drc-names-susan-engeleiter-chief-executive-officer-and-president-56108012.html
  • Executive profile: Susan Shannon Engeleiter. (n.d.) Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=12736233&privcapId=4299160&previousCapId=4299160&previousTitle=Data%20Recognition%20
    Corporation
  • Susan Engeleiter. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Engeleiter

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Wear a Badge: Sara Blakely, Delta Delta Delta

The theme for Women’s History Month in 2017 is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Business and Labor.” Throughout March, we’ll be sharing the stories of sorority women who made history in these areas. The efforts of these sorority women advance the cause of all women, and we are grateful for their efforts.
From Sara's Notebook (credit)

Meet the youngest self-made female billionaire in America: Sorority woman Sara Blakely.

Blakely is the founder and sole owner of Spanx, a shapewear company that has taken the world by storm in the past two decades. She is also a member of Delta Delta Delta from Florida State University.

Blakely’s journey is unlike many other entrepreneurs. She credits failure for propelling her to the top of her industry. Every week at dinner growing up, Blakely’s father would ask her and her brother, “What did you fail at this week?” They would rejoice and celebrate her failures. She said in an interview with CNBC that, “The gift he was giving me is that failure is when you are not trying. Failure is not the outcome. It's really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life."

Growing up, Blakely had always dreamed of being a lawyer, but failed the entrance exams: not once, but twice. She then worked in sales selling fax machines. Spanx was born when she saw a need for comfortable shapewear that fit the modern woman’s needs.

Blakely had never taken a business class, had no training, no retail experience and was entering a steadily declining market. Regardless, she was driven by a purpose and a cause she believed in; one she knew would help make a difference in the lives of women. And, she was guided by the principle that even if she failed, she had tried and she could learn and grow from it.

Today, Blakely speaks often about her experience and why we should not fear failure; rather we should celebrate it. And, the value of philanthropy instilled through her sorority experience is still near and dear to her heart. She created the Sara Blakely Foundation to donate millions to charities around the world, focusing on those that empower underserved women and girls. Additionally, in 2013, she signed the Giving Pledge to donate at least half her wealth to charity.

Resources:
  • Caprino, K. (2012, May 23). 10 lessons I learned from Sara Blakely that you won’t hear in business school. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/05/23/10-lessons-i-learned-from-sara-blakely-that-you-wont-hear-in-business-school/#7277a9831438
  • Frank, R. (2013, October 16). Billionaire Sara Blakely says secret to success is failure. CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2013/10/16/billionaire-sara-blakely-says-secret-to-success-is-failure.html
  • Kimball, D. (2015, July 26). Sara Blakely: The college years. [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.darrylkimball.net/darrylkimballblog/2015/7/26/sara-blakely-the-college-years
  • Turtis, M. (2012, March 15). Sara Blakely: 9 things you don’t know about Spanx founder, and youngest Forbes billionaire. Glamour. Retrieved from http://www.glamour.com/story/sarah-blakely-9-things-you-don

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Wear a Badge: Bessie Margolin, Alpha Epsilon Phi

From U.S. Department of Labor (credit)
The theme for Women’s History Month in 2017 is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Business and Labor.” Throughout March, we’ll be sharing the stories of sorority women who made history in these areas. The efforts of these sorority women advance the cause of all women, and we are grateful for their efforts.

Labor law trailblazer Bessie Margolin was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1909 to Russian, Jewish immigrants. Change came quickly to Margolin at a young age; at the age of two, her family moved to Tennessee and then her mother died. Shortly after, she and her brother were sent to live at the Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Newcomb College in 1929, a women’s college and affiliate of Tulane University, where she became a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. After earning a law degree from Tulane, she went on to get a doctorate in law from Yale University in 1933.

At this time, law firms didn’t hire female attorneys, so Margolin turned to the government. She began working for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government-owned corporation providing electric utilities to the Tennessee Valley region.

During her time at the TVA, she worked as a research attorney, an associate attorney and eventually was promoted to senior attorney after having organized evidence, researched legal issues and written briefs for two cases that were seen by United States Supreme Court.

Margolin left the TVA for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1939 and after learning the ins and outs of the Fair Labor Standards Act, she was promoted to assistant solicitor in charge of Supreme Court appellate litigation.

Following World War II, Margolin worked for the U.S. Department of War during the Nuremburg Trials, drafting original regulation for the military tribunals.

By the 1960s, Margolin had garnered enough acclaim to be recommended to President Lyndon B. Johnson for appointment to the U.S. Court of Claims. In 1966, Margolin assisted in the founding of the National Organization for Women, nicknamed NOW.

She retired in 1972 having argued 24 cases in front of the Supreme Court and winning 21 of them. Following her retirement, Margolin served as an arbitrator and occasionally taught at George Washington University. She died in Virginia on June 19, 1996.

Margolin was known for her independence and intelligence in a field dominated by men. Marlene Trestman, author of “Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin” said, “[she] played the woman card because it was the only one she was dealt.” Instead of allowing her femininity to be a chip on the shoulder of her career, Margolin used her status as a strong woman to blaze a trail for other women to follow in her footsteps.

Resources: 
  • Earnst, D. (2013, May 22). Bessie Margolin (1909-1996). Legal History Blog [Web log]. Retrieved from http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/bessie-margolin-1909-1996.html.
  • Book, B. (2016, August 31). Breaking glass ceilings: Bessie Margolin and “the woman card.” Jewesses with Attitude [Web log]. Retrieved from https://jwa.org/blog/breaking-glass-ceilings-bessie-margolin-and-woman-card.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

College Panhellenic Spotlight: University of Illinois

By Marissa Sulek, University of Illinois College Panhellenic president
 
As we approach April and Advisor Appreciation Month, the University of Illinois College Panhellenic Council is taking time to recognize those who serve its community.

Andrew Hohn is the assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at Illinois and a past recipient of the NPC Outstanding Panhellenic Advisor Award. Andrew is an incremental part of UIUC’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. He always makes time for the executive board members and we always feel welcome to go to him with any questions. Since day one Andrew has never ceased to amaze us with the knowledge and enthusiasm he has for sororities and fraternities on our campus. On top of that, he is always wanting to learn more about certain topics and situations, so he can be as educated as possible.

Kenzie Finks is a graduate assistant for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and oversees the Panhellenic Council at Illinois. Kenzie takes the time to attend all Panhellenic events and meetings. Doing so proves she is committed to her position as our advisor. She was Panhellenic president for two consecutive years at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. With her expertise she has given all of the current Panhellenic officers’ phenomenal advice and is always looking for ways to help us individually.

Both advisors encourage us to do what is best for the community and the Illinois Panhellenic Council is grateful for their unending support and friendship.

At our upcoming bi-weekly chapter president meeting, March 29, we are discussing Advisor Appreciation Month and honoring chapter advisors, too. To thank the advisors of individual chapters, 25 within the Panhellenic Community at Illinois, our College Panhellenic sends every chapter advisor a small gift card and thank you card signed by all the chapter presidents and their executive officers. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget these advisors are volunteers who have an interest in bettering the Illinois community.

We encourage other chapters and College Panhellenics to take time in April to say thank you to your advisors. By doing so, we all invest in the future of the Panhellenic community.