A month ago, I had the privilege to sit on my sorority’s nomination committee, which allowed me to have a direct hand in choosing the leadership for our next calendar year. As a three-semester member of the executive board, this was a bittersweet moment. While I am excited to see where our new leadership brings us, I am sad to have to grow up and step down, and I am definitely not alone in feeling this.
Most of my fellow executive board members are seniors who joined Theta during our sophomore spring, amidst absolute turmoil. We went through recruitment on Zoom, and several of us stepped into leadership the very next fall, having never seen Theta run in person. We served on an incomplete exec and faced huge challenges—girls dropping, the establishment of local sororities that compete with us on campus, struggles filling our house due to complications from the pandemic, and more. Thus, many of us threw our hearts and souls into Theta, working tirelessly to build it up, and ultimately, making it even harder for us to let it go.
Yet, as I sat at our end of year exec dinner, surrounded by a group of strong women who I am lucky enough to call my friends, I realized that this should also be a time of celebration. As a group, we have accomplished so much over the past year and a half, and personally, I know that I have learned so much.
I think one of my most important takeaways from my Theta leadership experience is a greater understanding of how an organization in the real world works—every role is interrelated. My position as the Vice President of External Affairs encompasses philanthropy, service, social media, alumnae relations, and merchandise. The structure of Theta is such that I have two chairs on “cabinet” under me, a philanthropy chair and social media chair, to whom I can delegate. Many of my tasks rely on other members of exec too though.
For example, for recruitment, I needed to coordinate social media posts with my wonderful social media chair, Ava, as well as our recruitment directors, Irene and Naomi. Then, I had to order shirts for recruitment, working with all of them, plus our VP of Finance, Audrey. In this task, and in many others, I learned the value of real-life teamwork and collaboration, lessons which will serve me well throughout life in any professional setting.
Individually, I strengthened my skills as a leader on several fronts. In launching a new philanthropy event, the famous Concert for CASA, which I mention in entirely too many of my blogs, I learned how to take initiative and start from scratch, relying on my own instincts without following precedent. The event helped me bolster my organizational skills; I had to make sure to manage the social media networks, recruit performance groups and communicate with them and the auditorium staff about equipment and sound needs, advertise the event, write speeches, etc.
On the alumnae relations front, I advanced my understanding of effective communication tactics and improved my graphic design skills, creating and distributing our first alumnae newsletter to enhance our alumnae relations. I further promoted these relationships by using the event planning skills I enhanced through Concert for CASA by spearheading our inaugural Alumnae Career Night, hosting Theta alumnae from all around Boston for a speed dating event with our sisters.
Lastly, as the marketing head, I learned to delegate, while also learning from the people below me. My social media chair, Ava, is an incredible Wix wiz. She revamped our website and Instagram, and with her help, I was able to utilize our social media accounts in new ways. Past the usual senior spotlights, birthday posts, and event highlights, she taught me how to spice up content with techniques like using an iPad to write over the picture. Next stop—mastering TikTok!
Overall, I am proud of the things I have achieved as the VPEA of Theta. My Emma’s advice is to take every opportunity to become a leader. I never imagined that I would join a sorority, let alone serve on the executive board of one, but I am so glad that I did. Theta gave me purpose—it allowed me to grow as a leader, with the support of other strong, incredible women, who I fiercely admire. It’s going to be hard to step down, but I leave with a greater understanding of how an organization should run, increased confidence in my own abilities, and amazing friends who will stay by my side for the rest of my life.